KZN prosecutor dies in 'freak accident' when gun goes off in court

19 November 2019 - 09:41 By NIVASHNI NAIR
A senior state advocate died after a firearm being used as an exhibit discharged in court.
A senior state advocate died after a firearm being used as an exhibit discharged in court.
Image: Gallo Images/ IStock

A prominent senior state advocate died after a gun, displayed in court as an exhibit, was accidentally discharged in the Ixopo regional court on Monday. 

KwaZulu-Natal director of public prosecutions Elaine Zungu confirmed that advocate Addelaid Ann Ferreira Watt died on Monday. 

It is understood the gun fell and a shot went off, hitting the advocate in what has been described as "freak accident".

“It is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing on November 18 of senior state advocate Addelaid Ann Ferreira Watt of the office of the director of public prosecutions, Pietermaritzburg," said Zungu.

"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," Zungu said in the bereavement notice to staff. 

You were taken too will be dearly missed Addelaid Ferreira Watt. Shall miss your messages of encouragement and kind words filled with love. condolences to all family and friends....

Posted by Ric Holt on Monday, November 18, 2019

Police spokesperson Brig Jay Naicker said a case of culpable homicide was being investigated by Umzimkhulu police.

"It is alleged that on November 18 at 15.20, a 51-year-old woman was taken to hospital after she was struck by a bullet on the left of the hip. She died in hospital.

"It is alleged the weapon was brought to court to be entered as evidence in a house robbery case when it accidentally discharged in court. Unfortunately we cannot divulge further information as the investigations are at a sensitive stage," he said. 

By Tuesday morning, numerous messages of condolence had been posted on Watt's  Facebook page.

“I am totally shocked, words can't express how devastated I am,” one friend wrote. 

Another said the prosecutor's death was “unnecessary”.