Cops may cough up for their unlawful arrests

2012-07-08 21:51

Johannesburg - The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) will decide next month whether individual police officers should be forced to cough up for the legal costs caused by their unlawful arrests.

The case is being taken to the SCA after the North Gauteng High Court ruled in late 2010 that the individual officers involved in an unlawful arrest would be liable for the resulting legal costs caused by an unlawful arrest.

The minister of police is usually held vicariously liable for unlawful actions of the police resulting in damages claims.

In a harshly worded judgment, acting Judge Roelof du Plessis said it did not appear that large damages claims against the minister of police “constitute a deterrent of any nature whatsoever in respect of unlawful behaviour on the part of the security forces”.

He said further: “In fact, the only party being prejudiced as a result of damages claims based on unlawful arrest and detention is the taxpayer.”

The judge said it was important that law enforcement officials “who act with impunity and who think they can do as they please, simply because they have the force of the whole law-enforcing system behind them, should be brought to book and restrained”.

“The whole wrath of the legal system, the rule of law, the courts and the public should be brought upon such officials.”

The ruling followed an urgent application by Pretoria resident Jack Coetzee’s lawyers to Du Plessis on a Sunday night.

Coetzee had been arrested by metro police officer Frans Sivayi for allegedly reckless and negligent driving, failing to comply with an instruction from a traffic officer, crimen injuria and driving an unlicensed motor vehicle.

Du Plessis found that the police’s refusal to grant Coetzee police bail meant he was being unlawfully detained at the Pretoria West Police Station and ordered his immediate release.

Roelof said a person would normally be fined for the offences involved, or, if arrested, the police would be entitled to grant bail.
The police claimed that Coetzee did not ask for bail but Du Plessis found that this was “far-fetched”.

Riaan Meyer, Coetzee’s attorney, said the costs already exceeded R100 000, but that the SCA appeal would put the bill well above R200 000.

  • dewald.venter.9 - 2012-07-08 22:21

    High time.

  • Gerald Jordaan - 2012-07-08 22:24

    Ja and what are they going to use for money?? either way those arrested unlawfully lose !! Put the fothermuckers in goal !! Confiscate their assets as well as their termination benefits !! Maybe the dumb sh*ts will stop their sh*t!!

      John - 2012-07-10 19:49

      Let them pay with the salary we pay our SERVANTS. At least we will get some value for our money. They will probably extract bribes. Better to get rid of them!

  • John - 2012-07-08 23:14

    Make them AND their idiot thug employers pay for unleashing their thugs on us the PRIVATE people. The THUGS are untrained as are their MASTERS. Make each individual personally resposible for his actions.

  • John - 2012-07-08 23:23

    If these THUGS read and comprehend the CONSTITUTION. Then read Criminal Procedures Act 51 of 1977. Then read the SA POLICE service Act they then MAY be of some use to us PRIVATE people. Until then they are useless THUGS who do not have the faintest clue that they are to SERVE and PROTECT the PRIVATE people. That is what they are CONTRACTED to do.

  • abbey.motaung.9 - 2012-07-09 01:48

    Good to c dat. They will have to think b4 they act.

  • tshabedi.ephraim - 2012-07-09 04:37

    sabata- i think we should be worried cos no police will wabt that. so crime rate will go up.

      bheki.khumalo.737 - 2012-07-09 05:12

      Ja all of u who r happy about this lets see how u gonna cry when crime rate is going sky high coz police will be hesitant to arrest criminals now coz even if ppl are lawfully arretsed sometimes they do atte4mpt to sue so wch officer is gona want to go thru tht crap vrytime he makes an arrest its good celebtate and jump for joy we will c who is gona suffer most from this

      Koos - 2012-07-09 05:35

      It will force the cops to do proper investigations BEFORE making the arrest. If that is what is needed to make sure they do their job properly then so be it. No rocket science needed. The other reasion why this is important is because your life is not safe if/when you are arrested. The SAPS is responsible for the safety and security of all persons in the national territory of the Republic of South Africa. Therefore, each and every death in police custody or death as a result of police action by the SAPS is a matter of concern. During apartheid, every one of the 74 deaths in SA police custody up to 1994 was widely condemned in screaming headlines and frantic international protest campaigns. Under the ANC regime, deaths in custody soared to an ANNUAL 695 in 2006 and reached an ANNUAL 912 in 2008 - nearly 8 deaths each day. You are innocent but are dead anyway?

      mofstok - 2012-07-09 12:37

      The crime rate is already skyhigh, a problem further compounded by arrogant and ignorant law enforcement officers. Give me more freedom!

  • Cappuccinno4u - 2012-07-09 07:48

    this is gonna instil sense in2 the corrupt lazy and senseless police whom their first priority is to lay arrest without any prior investigations.. Banyile this time around..hard luck for the devoted cops who are truly dedicated to their job..

  • Arthur Salvado - 2012-07-09 07:59

    It's a joke. These thugs have no money so how will they ever pay. Let the government pay with our tax money. Silly world. Thugs away

  • martin.britchford.5 - 2012-07-09 08:28

    the police lotto, one day is one day, cha ching

  • lucky.luck.98 - 2012-07-09 09:24

    This is good idea of our government.why the cops should bother themself to arrest the criminals?cops must relax so that the crime must go up and this people who always against the cops must fight the crime.

  • john.moodley.7 - 2012-07-09 09:42

    These Thugs think they are above the law when they have a uniform on. sadly not all but 95% plus are thugs.

  • eric.tau.35 - 2012-07-09 10:43

    I saw them beat up a drunk lady in the larking lot of a shop in Midrand. Tried to take a video. I got my phone smashed, beat up and locked up for the whole weekend. By the way I was not committing a crime. They were. And when they released me they told me to do whatever I feel like doing. Constable Maela and Legodi. Your time will come someday boys. i still hold a grudge against you two morons

      John - 2012-07-10 18:04

      Go to the IPID formely known as Independant Complaints Directorate. Charge these THUGS with UNLAWFUL ARREST and ASSAULT. Do not let it rest. You will allow these THUGS to do it to me and any other poor people. They need to be fired. My sympathy to you.

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