Intimidation charges

2013-11-02 00:00

MOUNTAIN Rise police station commander Brigadier Francis Bantham is being investigated on charges of crimen injuria and intimidation, laid against her by an officer under her command.

The charges follow an incident in which Constable Anesh Chathu says Bantham berated him at the top of her voice in the street.

A video clip of the incident shows an angry Bantham pacing about and shouting out that she did not want officers like him bringing her station into disrepute.

According to his statement, a group of men arrived at his home and threatened him and his family. This was related to a dispute over a debt, and was connected to a business run by Chathu and his wife.

Chathu says he contacted police colleagues, and two came to his aid and diffused the situation.

As the group of men left, Bantham arrived on the scene with a colleague.

First she asked what right the two officers had to be at the scene and then launched into a tirade against Chathu.

In the video of the incident, she is seen and heard saying: “I don’t need to work with a person like you … I don’t need a person like this at that police station … I’m facing enough issues … If you’re ill disciplined, you don’t belong there.”

Chathu says Bantham refused to listen to the explanation for why the officers were at his home and continued hurling accusations at him in public, impairing his dignity.

He says this was followed by Bantham calling for him to be sacked.

The station commander has hit back with charges against Chathu, saying he referred to her as “uncouth” during the incident outside his house.

Contacted yesterday, Bantham said she was a victim in the incident. She then referred further queries to police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker, who confirmed that a case of crimen injuria was being investigated. Naicker said it was alleged that an officer was reprimanded by his commander for bringing the service into disrepute by running a private business and not paying his bills.

Speaking at the Mountain Rise police station’s service awards ceremony yesterday, Bantham said there were good people at the police station. She thanked the media for reflecting the positive changes at Mountain Rise, but warned her officers not to become sources of information.

“If you want to be a journalist, go work for The Witness,” she said.

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