Rumours, drugs and confusion

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Copy of ca p8 Gun in Mag Court done CAPE ARGUS Court security manager Joseph Bostander tells people they will have to be thoroughly searched before being allowed back into the Cape Town Magistrates Court. Photo: Jason Boud

Cape Town - The Cape Town Magistrate’s Court was evacuated and sniffer dogs brought in as concerns mounted about a “smuggled-in gun” that turned out to be a Mr Price carrier bag filled with dagga.

On Thursday, police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk confirmed that a man and a woman were arrested for dealing in drugs and possession in connection with the incident.

Rumours were rife among staff and the public who were evacuated.

Van Wyk confirmed that at around 9.30am a man attempted to enter the court at Parade Street but was stopped by security guards. He was searched at the entrance during which time he handed over a white plastic bag to a woman who was inside the court building, said Van Wyk.

“She took the bag and went up the stairs,” he said.

The man was kept behind by the security guards at the entrance while more guards went in search of the woman with the plastic bag.

She was found in Court 25 with a Mr Price plastic bag that had nine “bullets” of dagga and one dagga “bankie”.

Police at the scene and the chief magistrate decided to evacuate the court building because of the breach of security, said Van Wyk .

The 48-year-old man and the 28-year-old woman were detained on a charge of dealing in dagga with an alternative charge of possession of dagga and are to appear in court soon.

The SAPS K9 (Dog Unit) was called in and once the building was declared safe, the public was allowed back.

Van Wyk said six additional police officers helped in the search.

The Justice Department’s regional head, advocate Hishaam Mohammed, confirmed that all prisoners had been searched during the evacuation and said that security was “sufficient and efficient”.

Justice and Constitutional Development spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said they were “really concerned” about the safety of staff, security and the public.

“We have to beef up security at the courts after what happened in Pretoria - we are not oblivious to the challenges that seem to be becoming an everyday occurrence,” he said.

In Pretoria earlier this week two suspects shot their way out of court, wounding a policeman and a court orderly. They are still on the run.

A witness who cannot be named, to protect the identity of her son, was at the juvenile court on Thursday when the drama unfolded. She was walking from a courtroom to the toilets when security stopped her.

Security officials accompanied her to the toilets and searched her.

“They told me I fit the description of the lady they were looking for,” said the woman, who was wearing a beige jacket. The security guards then escorted her to another room where a witness who saw the intruder told them that they had the wrong the woman.

“They never even said sorry to me,” said the woman, who cursed wearing her beige coat to court on Thursday.

“It was a bit of a shock for me.”

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Cape Argus


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