Lock up corrupt cops, angry judge says
Pretoria - Crooked policemen should be suspended without pay pending the outcome of their criminal trials, a judge said in Pretoria on Friday.
Judge Moses Mavundla said he found it mind-boggling that a police officer would risk his career for a paltry amount to help a criminal escape.
His remarks came after he was forced to postpone the trial of two convicted killers in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.
They were scheduled to be sentenced on Friday, but one of the two escaped from jail, allegedly with the help of a policeman.
The judge convicted Howard Sack and Christiaan Gray of Eersterust in November last year of murdering Neil Conrad Gouws in a 2009 drive-by shooting in Nellmapius, and postponed their trial for sentencing proceedings.
Their counsel, Piet Pistorius, told the court his attorney told him on Friday, shortly after he had consulted with Sack and Gray at prison, that Sack had escaped after apparently being assisted by a police officer who booked him out.
The policeman has since been arrested and is being detained.
Mavundla said the officer investigating the escape should be given instructions to oppose bail for the policeman.
"It is time that police officers know there will be no bail for them. It doesn't make sense... to have police officers who help criminals to escape and then get bail," he said.
"If we're going to have a disciplined police force and functionaries in all structures of government, mechanisms must be put in place that they [the policemen] must be suspended without pay pending the outcome of the case."
He said the message should also go out to Sack that the longer he delayed, the more difficulty he was going to make for himself.
"For him to be running away won't solve any problems. It will just create more problems for him," the judge said.
"The law is something that cannot be stopped... Even if you escape or eliminate the judge, you can't stop the law because the wheels of justice keep on grinding."