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Cape Town - The safety catch on traffic officer Ian Sinclair’s 9mm calibre semi-automatic pistol was on, and he doesn’t know how the gun went off during a scuffle which caused the death of former Western Province cricketer Luke Fairweather.
There had been 15 rounds in the magazine and “one up” - one in the chamber.
Fairweather, 49, died after being shot in the stomach on Mariendahl Road, outside Newlands cricket stadium, in January 2011.
On Thursday, during an inquest hearing in the Wynberg Circuit Court, William Booth, for the Fairweather family, suggested that as the verbal confrontation heated up, Sinclair could have called for help from his colleagues or just left the situation.
On Wednesday, Sinclair, 62, testified that the incident was sparked by a traffic ticket he had written for Fairweather’s mother Margaret. Fairweather had asked Sinclair why he had given her “a f*** ticket”, and threw it on the ground.
Sinclair ordered Fairweather to pick it up, and the confrontation escalated. At one point Fairweather pushed Sinclair so hard against the rear of a car that the window broke. Sinclair then drew his firearm.
Booth suggested Sinclair had resented being sworn at and had lost his cool.
“There was ample time to walk away from this volatile situation. Fairweather’s intention was to get into the car and drive away.
“Why didn’t you call your colleagues before pulling the firearm? You needed to unclip it, take it out of the holster, and you were fully aware of what you were doing.”
Sinclair said he had felt it necessary to tell Fairweather he was littering.
“I did not lose my cool. It was violent and quick, I had no opportunity to call for assistance.”
Booth suggested Sinclair’s actions had been negligent. But Sinclair said he felt he had been in a life-and-death situation. “It was not my intention to shoot him. I did not point it against his stomach...”
The hearing resumes on October 7.