Assault: convicted cops lose appeal

2015-06-26 11:06


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HIGH court judges of appeal have confirmed the convictions and sentences of two Pietermaritzburg policemen found guilty of assaulting a fellow officer from Richmond.

Farouk Khan and Siphelele Msomi of Pietermaritzburg police station were each given a suspended sentence of 10 months’ imprisonment, in addition to six months’ correctional supervision.

They, together with a third policeman, Sindile Gumede, who did not appeal, were convicted of having repeatedly kicked and “stomped” on fellow constable Sambulo Wiseman Ngcobo, after he was handcuffed and on the ground.

At the time they had allegedly arrested him on suspicion of corruption.

A private doctor who examined Ngcobo in the police cells later found that he had multiple abrasions and swelling on his face, a tender lump near his left ear, tenderness of his lower back and he had difficulty opening his mouth.

The doctor testified that when he spoke to a supervisor at the police station to have Ngcobo taken to hospital, his request was denied.

According to evidence, Ngcobo and a colleague were at Jonathan’s Spar in connection with an investigation involving a man named Julius, who was suspected of selling drugs.

They were hoping to arrest Julius’s friend, if he arrived there carrying drugs.

During their discussion, Julius handed them a brown envelope containing the logbook for his vehicle, which police had reason to suspect might be a stolen vehicle.

Whilst they were still busy discussing the logbook, Khan and his colleagues, armed with rifles and handguns, confronted them and shouted “Down, down”.

Ngcobo said he raised his hands and was handcuffed from behind. He was subsequently kicked in the stomach, causing him to fall down. The policemen repeatedly asked him “where the money” was, whilst continuing to assault him.

Judge Rishi Seegobin with Judge Kate Pillay said the version of Khan, Msomi and Gumede was that they acted on the instructions of a senior officer, Captain A.M. Naidoo, who had received a complaint from “Julius” to the effect that Ngcobo was extorting money from him.

The judges said it was accepted that all Julius had in his possession that day was the brown envelope with his logbook and that no money had changed hands, nor was any money found. While the policemen may have believed they were entitled to arrest Ngcobo, on the instructions of their captain, they were not entitled to perpetrate a “vicious assault” on him, the judges said.

The appeal court found the sentences imposed on the accused were “fair and reasonable” having regard to the fact that Khan and Msomi were policemen who should have known better

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  court

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