on air now
NOW PLAYING
Queenie Grootboom
up next
Up Next
Algoa FM Nights with Kea Zawadi
on air now
NOW PLAYING
Queenie Grootboom
up next
Up Next
Algoa FM Nights with Kea Zawadi
 

GQ firearms dealer await bail verdict


The bail application of a Gqeberha firearms dealer who faces a litany of charges relating to a missing cache of hundreds of firearms concluded in the city's magistrate court on Thursday.

The charges against Karen Webb, 40, include theft, conspiracy to smuggle firearms, fraud, the unlicensed trading of firearms, providing firearms and ammunition to persons who are not allowed to possess them, and defeating the ends of justice.

Webb is alleged to have stolen ten Glock pistols that went missing from the Aquila Arms stock while the cache was stored at her premises.

The owner of Aquila Arms, Chris Evans, rented storage space from Webb Arms at the time his Glock's disappeared.

Webb is also linked to 76 firearms that went missing from her premises and had made their way into the hands of dangerous criminals in Gqeberha and in other provinces.

During an argument in support of Webb's release on bail, defence attorney Dries Breytenbach said she has no previous convictions, is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and that the onus rested solely on the state to prove her guilt.

Breytenbach submitted that Evans should also be arrested and charged for the loss of his firearms and that he cannot be portrayed as an "innocent victim."

He said Evans had not given his client an inventory list of the firearms stored at her premises, hence he cannot say that the guns had been stolen there.

Breytenbach pointed out that Evans said the ten Glocks were still in his possession while he was awaiting an ownership transfer to Magnum Alarms, and that there were "discrepancies" regarding the serial numbers of the guns.

"My client denies that she had access to the storeroom that Evans rented from her.

"At the trial, it will be his word against hers, and he is a single witness."

Regarding Webb's failure to register her firearms, Breytenbach said the SAPS Firearms Registry was in shambles, but she does have a register of the guns in her possession.

According to Breytenbach his client is not a flight risk, will not tamper with or conceal evidence, will not interfere with state witnesses and her release on bail will not pose a danger to society.

State Advocate Liezel Landman argued that Webb posed a danger to society, especially since firearms that were in her possession made their way into the hands of criminals who committed violent crimes such as murder.

She also said the whereabouts of hundreds of guns were still unknown because Webb has yet to provide her register to police.

According to Landman, the guns that are unaccounted for could be "out there" in the "hands of criminals", especially since Webb's past behaviour has shown what she did with the guns in her possession.

Landman said Webb endangered members of society when she transported 500 firearms, likely by private vehicles, to Sedgefield, flouting all safety and legal protocols.

Other reasons why Webb wants bail is because she suffers from Chron's disease, is the primary caregiver of her daughter, has obligations to her clients, and helps to take care of her mother who had a stroke.

Landman said the father of Webb's child, Arthur, was in a position to take care of her and that Webb's father (who is retired) could take care of his sick wife.

She also stated that no medical evidence had been placed before the court about Webb's disease.

Webb's refusal to hand over her cell phone to police and the alleged provision of false documents in respect of the transfer of the guns from Evans, was in Landman's opinion a sign that she was willing to destroy evidence and mislead the court.

Judgement will be handed down on 28 February.