On Monday November 18, a prominent advocate was killed, when someone in the Police sent a loaded shotgun as evidence to court. The shotgun went off and wounded, Addelaid Ferreira Watt (63) in the hip. She died in hospital.
In a country where the conviction rate for murder is less than 1%, a highly skilled and senior prosecutor, is a scarce and valuable resource in the justice system.
Addelaid Ferreira Watt, was practising at the Umzimkhulu court near Pietermaritzburg. Pietermaritzburg is the capital and second-largest city in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
According to a statement released by the police, the loaded gun was brought into court in an evidence bag. It discharged accidentally during the proceedings at around 3pm, and she was hit in left hip and leg.
Addelaid was rushed to hospital, but died shortly after being admitted. Adelaide Ferreira-Watt died in the line of duty, during the trial of an Armed Robbery case.
“She was serving her fellow people and trying her best to keep South Africa safe. “
In a staff bereavement notice, the National Prosecuting Authority said, Ferreira-Watt’s death was deeply mourned.
“Her untimely passing is mourned by all. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family during this difficult time. The family has requested that their privacy be respected,” KwaZulu-Natal director of public prosecutions Elaine Zungu said.
She is survived by her daughter Lindsay Ann Watt.
Shortly after the news broke, condolences could be seen on social media.
“A loving and caring mother, a loyal and dear friend and an incredibly smart, intelligent, dynamic, resilient and beautiful woman. Rest In Peace Adds, I will never forget you❤️ You filled a part of my life with love, humour and a wonderful bond. I will miss you dearly. Love you forever” read one comment.
“Rest in peace Addelaid. Sincere simpathies to Lindsay and family. Gone (too soon) but will never be forgotten” reads another.
“A wonderful friend over the years and will be dearly missed by myself and the South African art community” reads another comment.
“She was a passionate and fiery soul. Her enthusiastic light will burn in our hearts forever. Condolences to her daughter, family and friends.” reads another.
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Arrests made for the murder of Addelaid Ferreira Watt
Former Hawks head Johan Booysen tweeted: “Whatever the circumstances. Someone will have to account for the death of Advocate Adelaide Ferreira-Watt in Umzimkhulu court yesterday.”
Police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said the police would be investigating a case of culpable homicide.
“Unfortunately, we cannot divulge further information as the investigations are at a sensitive stage,” he said.
No suspects have been arrested.