Detectives step in as threats flare

A fight in the corridors of the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court was narrowly averted yesterday when detectives stepped in and ordered a number of young men, who were trading violent threats, out of the building.

The commotion took place outside a courtroom where several gang-related cases were being heard.

The court case of suspected gang member Aubrey Darries, 26, was in recess when members of the public raced into the courtroom to get away from the fracas in the corridor. Witness Devon Palmer, 37, was waiting for a friend’s case to be called when the heated argument drew his attention.

“I was too far away to hear what they were arguing about but these guys were in each other’s faces and I could hear them threatening each other.”

A woman, who did not want to be named, said she had been sitting between the fighting parties and had found the incident frightening.

“I do not know how it started but I heard one man tell another ‘you better watch your back’. That one then replied with something like, ‘I’m not scared, I know where you live’. They looked dangerous. I got such a fright.”

The commotion was quickly broken up when detectives, who were testifying in various cases, stepped in.

A short while later Darries made a brief appearance before magistrate Lionel Alexander to apply for bail.

Darries was arrested in October last year when a man, in his 20s, was shot and killed in Extension 36, Bethelsdorp.

He apparently approached a group of four men and became involved in an argument with one of them before allegedly pulling out a firearm and firing multiple shots, killing the man.

-Riaan Marais

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