Johannesburg - “Murderer!” biker Douglas Pearce’s brother said after the man accused of fatally shooting the 39-year-old in an apparent Valentine’s Day road rage accident was granted bail. “F***ing c*nt.”
“Sir, please,” responded Roodepoort magistrate Denise Smith on Monday. “Everybody in this country has rights – you can’t threaten him,” she told Nigel Pearce.
Smith had just patiently and thoroughly explained why she believed Meekahaefele Masooa could be released on bail.
The court heard that the 43-year-old motorist, wearing a pinstriped suit and with a small, folded South African flag draped over his left shoulder, was a married father-of-four. And he was still paying off the bond of the family’s Centurion home.
His work as a labour law consultant supported his family. and his passport had expired.
And, after the altercation which left Pearce dead, Masooa did not flee the scene on Malibongwe Drive in Randburg.
The magistrate set bail at R5 000. She reminded Masooa of what could lie ahead of him should he be found guilty of premeditated murder: life in prison.
But in an affidavit read out in court, Masooa indicated that he would be pleading not guilty to such a charge. He said he had acted in self-defence.
According to Masooa’s statement, he does not know what he did that started the fight between him and Pearce during heavy morning traffic.
He alleged Pearce was swearing at him and raising his middle finger, so he rolled up his window. He also claimed that Pearce then blocked his way, stopping in front of him before climbing off his bike and approaching his car brandishing a firearm.
Masooa said he feared for his life and had no intention to kill when he fired the two shots that killed Pearce.
He picked up Pearce’s gun and handed both weapons over when police arrived at the scene.
Masooa was then taken to hospital. According to the medical record read out in court, he sustained an abrasion on the left side of his head, but there was no bleeding.
The State revealed he was once arrested for pointing a firearm but was never convicted.
The case was postponed to April to give the police time to complete their investigation.
Meekahaefele Masooa’s affidavit:
“The chase started just before the intersection of Northumberland and Beyers Naudé Drive. It was at this point where the deceased started to swear at me and point his middle finger at me.
“I decided to ignore him and closed my window because I realised he wanted to start trouble with me.
“I still do not even know why the incident started. I do not know what I did to him for him to have reacted in such a manner.
“I did not intend to shoot or kill the deceased. I tried to flee from him.
“The deceased was the one who attacked me after he blocked my vehicle with his motorbike at the intersection of Malibongwe and Witkoppen drives.
“He came from his motorbike to my vehicle, pointing his firearm at me. I realised the danger and I got out of my vehicle, pulled (out) my firearm and shot at him in the defence of my life.”
Masooa also claimed to have waved down a police vehicle.