Corrupt Cape cop denied leave to appeal

2015-04-24 21:02
(File: AP)

(File: AP)

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Cape Town - A corrupt police sergeant jailed for eight years for taking a R100 bribe, was refused leave to appeal his conviction and sentence by a Cape Town court on Friday.

Cornelius Wessels is now to petition the Western Cape High Court for leave to appeal, said his legal aid attorney Hayley Lawrence.

Wessels, a sergeant, was in charge of prisoners in the holding cells at the Cape Town Central police station, when he accepted the bribe to take a parcel of food with dagga hidden in it, to an undercover agent posing as a prisoner in November 2012.

According to the charge sheet, an undercover operation to trap Wessels was authorised by the Western Cape Directorate for public prosecutions, based on information that police officers at Cape Town Central were involved in corruption and drugs.

On the day in question, the agent was “arrested” on a fictitious charge, and held in one of the cells. Another undercover agent was given R100 to give to Wessels, to induce Wessels to give a food parcel to the agent in the cell.

According to the charge sheet, Wessels accepted the money and the parcel, and handed it to the “prisoner” without checking the contents, as he was supposed to have done.

Wessels appeared in the Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Bellville August last year, before Magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg, who found him guilty of corruption.

He was jailed in terms of legislation that permitted his release into house arrest after 10 months. This meant he would be released from prison in June this year.

One of Wessels’s grounds of appeal was that the sentence was so severe as to induce a sense of shock. Another was that, in accepting the parcel, he acted out of compassion and not self gain.

He said he understood the R100 to have been for the “prisoner”, and that his intention was to place the money in a special lock-up safe, to be given to the prisoner on his release from custody. He claimed he was found in possession of the money, and arrested, before he had had the opportunity to do as intended.

In Friday’s proceedings, Sonnenberg said the high court was unlikely to take a view different from her own, in regard to both the conviction and sentence. She said she considered the conviction and sentence just and fair, and in accordance with similar cases.

Read more on:    police  |  cape town  |  corruption  |  crime

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