Police ministry liable for rape cop’s conduct

2011-12-15 09:37

The Constitutional Court ruled that the Police Ministry was liable for the conduct of an officer who raped a 13-year-old girl.

Policeman Allister van Wyk, who was based at the George police station and who was off duty at the time of the October 1998 incident, used a police vehicle to give the girl, identified as Ms F, a lift.

He then drove her to a dark place in Kaaimans, outside George, and raped her. The teenager was from a nightclub where she had a fallout with her friends leading to her meeting Van Wyk, who was dressed in plain clothes and driving an unmarked police car.

He offered to take her home, but raped her instead.In the judgment written by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and delivered by Justice Bess Nkabinde, majority rule held that the facts of the case gave rise to a sufficient close link between the policeman’s employment, and the assault and rape of Ms F.

“The link was founded on the basis that the police vehicle facilitated the commission of the rape, that Ms F placed her trust in him because he was a police official, and that the state has a constitutional obligation to protect the public against crime,” Nkabinde said.

“Consequently, the minister was held vicariously liable for the damages suffered by Ms F as a result of the rape and assault,” she said.

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