A prominent barrister from South Africa has been shot and slain in court after a firearm presented as evidence in the trial inadvertently went off.
Senior state proponent Addelaid Ferreira-Watt perished after the freak accident at the Ixopo Regional Court on Tuesday when the shotgun fell and blasted her left hip. “It is alleged that the weapon was brought to court to be entered as evidence in a house robbery case when it accidentally discharged in court,” a spokesman for the police told local reporters.
Court staff frantically tried to halt the bleeding, however the 51-year-old mum-of-one died later in hospital. South African cops are investigating a potential case of culpable homicide and are probing to find out why the weapon was still loaded. “There is absolutely no need for a weapon being submitted in evidence in a court of law to still be capable of being fired,” a legal associate of Ms Ferreira-Watt told reporters.
“The weapon and the ammunition that it had contained at the time of the alleged crime should have been submitted in separate evidence bags, so someone is in big trouble. Addelaid was an excellent lawyer, a devoted mother and a lover of art and animals. For her to be taken away so cruelly and in such a freakish way is just agonizing.”
“You filled my life with love and humor,” she wrote. “We are so shocked you have been taken away in such a terrible way from your loved ones. A lot strength to you Lindsay – your mother loved you so much,” said sister-in-law Antoinette Ferreira. KwaZulu-Natal Director of Public Prosecutions, Elaine Zungu, added: “Her untimely passing is mourned by all. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family during this difficult time. The family has requested that their privacy be respected.”
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