S.Africa jails top cop for drunk driving, cover up

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A South African court on Friday jailed a former city police chief and anti-apartheid militant for five years over a drunken car crash that he tried to cover up, media said Friday.

The Pretoria magistrate's court handed Robert McBride a two-year jail term for driving under the influence of alcohol and five years for defeating the ends of justice. Two years of the second term were suspended.

"Instead of coming clean, you did everything possible to cover your tracks... you are indeed an evil person," the Pretoria News quoted regional court magistrate Peet Johnson as saying.

McBride was found guilty in April this year after he crashed a state-owned car in 2006 while head of the metro police in the Ekurhuleni region, which neighbours Johannesburg.

According to the charge sheet, McBride allegedly asked a doctor to draw blood from a subordinate after the crash last December and then tried to obtain a false medical certificate stating he was sober at the time of the accident.

He is also accused of ordering another subordinate to tell a witness not to cooperate with officers investigating the crash near Pretoria.

McBride gained notoriety in the 1980s for bombing the beachfront Magoo's Bar in the eastern city of Durban, killing three people and injuring dozens during the anti-apartheid struggle.

He was sentenced to death but was granted a reprieve and later received amnesty during South Africa's post-apartheid reconciliation process.

In 1998, when a senior foreign ministry official, McBride was arrested on suspicion of gun running in neighbouring Mozambique and held for six months before being released.

He is appealing this week's sentence and his bail of 1,000 rands ($138, 100 euros) was extended.

© 2011 AFP

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