Man freed after wrongful arrest

2010-03-04 00:00

A BOMBAY Heights man who was wrongfully arrested and kept in custody for seven months has been freed after a long community campaign.

In September last year, the Mountain Rise dog unit arrested Derrick Dlamini (29), whom they suspected of committing a house robbery in that area.

Dlamini was arrested after he ran when he saw police dogs chasing the suspects who were fleeing in his direction.

He was brought down by the dogs and injured. Although the real burglars were captured on the same evening and were linked to the crime by their fingerprints, Dlamini was also kept in jail even though he was not positively linked to the crime.

Dlamini’s release from custody on Tuesday only came after intense community lobbying.

Community members gave character statements, signed a petition and pestered prosecutors for his release.

Dlamini said that after his arrest, the police never investigated his connection to the crime.

“When I tried to tell the investigating officer that I was not involved in the crime, he told me I knew nothing about the case; only he did.”

Dlamini said he reserved the right to sue the police service for the injuries he had suffered and the emotional trauma, as well as for the loss of wages.

Ira Budhayee, one of the community members who were instrumental in his release, said they are pleased he has been released.

“The police sent us from pillar to post, frustrating our attempts to have him released. However, we finally succeeded.”

Nithia Govender, chairman of the Democratic Alliance branch in the area, said that if it were not for the unity of the community, Dlamini would still be in prison.

Police spokesman Thulani Zwane said the case against Dlamini has been provisionally withdrawn.

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