Chris Rock avoids arrest

2008-06-03 00:00

Johannesburg — American comedian Chris Rock was nearly arrested by the SAPS yesterday, in what authorities have claimed was a practical joke that went awry.

Rock had to obtain an order in the Johannesburg High Court to prevent his arrest.

His urgent court application against the police, the Justice Minister and a complainant at Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court was served before Judge Kathy Satchwell.

Rock is in South Africa as part of his No Apologies world tour. He performed to a sold-out crowd at Durban’s ICC last night.

Rock’s representative, advocate Nazeer Cassim, said a letter from the International Police Association was sent to Rock, and apparently also to local authorities, informing him that the police had been requested to assist in his arrest.

The allegations against Rock were apparently made by a British teenager.

Satchwell issued an interim interdict according to which no member of the police or any other law enforcers were allowed to arrest Rock or detain him without having obtained an authorised warrant.

The case was postponed until 10 am tomorrow when the court will hear why a final interdict should not be issued.

Satchwell also ordered that Rock’s passport stay in the possession of his lawyer, City Serobe.

Sam Hendrikse, the tour manager of Hunta Entertainment, said, “The letter and arrest were a practical joke that went wrong. Our legal team took the necessary precautions to ensure that the tour to South Africa was not disrupted.”

Rock's legal team only heard in the court that it was a practical joke and informed Satchwell.

An American apparently admitted to Hendrik Johan Brandt of the Sun Hotel group that it was a practical joke and that the letter had been sent to Rock by a reality TV series.

Hendrikse said Rock will not take legal steps against the practical joker.

National police spokeswoman Director Sally de Beer was not aware yesterday of such a request to police.

The interim interdict is still valid and Hendrikse said the final application will probably be scratched from the roll.

Rock has starred in Hollywood films, had his own talk show and is critically acclaimed as a stand-up comedian. The SA leg of his tour kicked off last night with the performance in Durban and will see him perform in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Rock recently earned himself a place in the Guinness Book of World Records after drawing the largest comedy audience ever gathered: 15 900 fans at London’s O2 arena in May.

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