Police commander guilty of rape, assault

2013-06-14 11:19

A former Melkbos Police Station commander has been found guilty of raping a woman and sexually assaulting another while both were in custody.

Michael Paulse, who held the rank of inspector when the incidents happened four years ago, appeared in the Bellville Regional Court yesterday before magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg.

The woman who was raped was in custody for alleged possession of drugs, while the woman who was sexually assaulted was in custody for alleged fraud.

Defence lawyer Shantell Morgan requested that Paulse’s R1 000 bail be extended, but prosecutor Ebrahim Adams asked the court to revoke it.

Adams said the R1 000 bail had been set while Paulse was awaiting trial, but that Paulse, now convicted, faced a lengthy prison sentence and was likely to abscond if his bail were extended.

Sonnenberg extended the bail, but increased it to R6 000 as an indication of the gravity of the offences.

Paulse was unable to pay the extra R5 000 and was led to the court’s holding cells.

Sonnenberg said the incidents at Melkbos Police Station had happened only days apart, while Paulse was the station commander.

She said he had been dressed in full uniform during both incidents but without his name tag.

Both victims had been alone in their respective cells and he had illegally permitted them to smoke, even supplying them with cigarettes, she said.

Because the sexual assault victim had suffered from a cold at the time, he had obtained Vicks medication for her.

Although she had protested that she could apply the Vicks herself, he had insisted on doing so for her, first rubbing her back and then her stomach, up to her breasts.

This amounted to sexual assault, she ruled.

Sonnenberg said Paulse had shown the rape victim how to use the shower in her cell and had specially obtained a towel for her.

He had then helped to dry her, even rubbing between her legs.

Sonnenberg said the sexual assault victim had obtained his name from one of his subordinates on the pretext that she had wanted to thank him for his kindness, and she had then reported the incident to a female police official.

The rape victim had been afraid to protest at his presence with her in the cell, because “he was a man of the law”, Sonnenberg said.

The case was postponed to July 29 for sentencing.

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