Fury as second Westbury suspect appears

Crime & Courts

Johannesburg - The family of the alleged Westbury gunman accused of leaving a young boy on life support are furious a second suspect is facing lesser charges than their relative.

On Thursday, 28-year-old Keenan Mokwena appeared in the Newlands Magistrate’s Court. He is the second suspect to be arrested after 4-year-old Luke Tibbetts was hit by a stray bullet in Westbury on Saturday.

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Minister of Police, Nathi Nhleko greets youngsters after visiting the family of 4 year old Luke Tibbetts who was shot last week in Westbury.
070814. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu042
Lindsay Campbell, sister of Lindray Khakhu who was arrested for allegedly shooting and wounding 4 year old Luke Tibbetts in the Westbury shooting. Lindsay Campbell says it is unfair that Keenan Mokoena who appeared at the Newlands Magistrates court yesterday, is only charged with pointing a firearm as compared to the charge of attemped murder her brother is facing at the Newlands Magistrates Court, Johanenesburg. 
Picture: Motlabana Monnakgotla

Mokwena’s lawyer, Omphile Kedijang, told the court his client had a previous conviction of fraud in 2008 and was given a fine and suspended sentence, but had no pending matters.

Prosecutor Cobus Ehlers said Mokwena was facing a charge of pointing a firearm. The disclosure infuriated the family of the first suspect, Lindray Khakhu.

Khakhu appeared in the same court on Tuesday and is facing a charge of attempted murder.

“Why isn’t Keenan charged with the same (crime) as Lindray?” asked Khakhu’s sister, Lindsay Campbell, outside court on Thursday.

“There’s only one person’s name being dragged through the mud and that’s Lindray.”

Campbell said the family were under immense stress, especially Khakhu’s girlfriend, who she said is eight months pregnant.

“With all of this going on, I don’t think she can cope (with the stress),” said Campbell.

In stark contrast to Khakhu’s appearance on Tuesday, there were no protesters outside court on Thursday when Mokwena stood in the dock wearing grey cargo pants and a black hoodie with a large Uzzi brand name on the front.

“It’s not fair, it’s wrong for the community not to be here,” said Campbell.

In court, Kedijang said he was ready for a formal bail application, but Ehlers requested a postponement to allow the “tense, emotional state” of the community to die down and for further investigation.

Magistrate Ivy Serei, who earlier denied media cameras access inside court, postponed the case to Tuesday.

Kedijang questioned what evidence could still be outstanding and told the court that police officers had inspected Mokwena’s home on Wednesday looking for a firearm, but nothing was discovered.

Kedijang claimed Khakhu had opened the case against Mokwena, which he argued raised doubt over the credibility of the charge.

Campbell also claimed her family were receiving threats from residents, but had yet to open a case with police, while Khakhu’s family declined to comment outside court.

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The Star

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