Family challenges shebeen forfeiture

2012-03-08 13:36
Johannesburg - A Cape Town family who ran a shebeen from their home in Athlone challenged the forfeiture of their house to the State in the Constitutional Court on Thursday.

Their lawyer Anton Katz wanted to know why ordinary law enforcement methods had not worked, and why the liquor itself had not been confiscated, when the house was.

"Ordinary law enforcements have not worked... why?" asked Katz.

He wanted to know why, during 52 police operations at the house - which included a two-week daily visit - liquor was seen in the passage and a bedroom, but was never taken away.

Of the 52 operations, 15 led to criminal cases being opened, and of those, there were nine convictions with suspended sentences and fines.

According to their heads of argument, the family had applied unsuccessfully for a liquor licence and admitted to contravening the Liquor Act.

But they did not believe the house qualified as an "instrument" of organised crime in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

Katz submitted that forfeiting the house to the State was not proportionate to the crime. The forfeiture also violated the children's constitutional rights to housing and shelter.

The hearing continues.

Read more on:    cape town
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