Man claims R30m for wrongful arrest

2011-12-06 10:13

Durban - A Port Shepstone man who was arrested unlawfully and detained for 369 days on a fraud charge has described his experiences as a year in hell.

"Police brutality, sodomy and gangsterism - I have seen it all," said Danny Pillay, 47.

Pillay is suing the South African police minister and an officer from Port Shepstone organised crime unit for R30m.

Summons were issued in the high court in Pietermaritzburg last Monday.

The parties have 20 days from November 28 to respond.

Pillay, convicted of fraud previously, said he was arrested by an officer of the organised crime unit on a charge of fraud at his home in Oslo Beach on June 17, 2010.


The arrest was supposedly on the basis of a warrant of arrest, but when Pillay requested a copy of the warrant from the second defendant, also police officer, he was told to apply to court if he wanted it.

Certain that justice would one day prevail, Pillay fought from a prison cell for his voice to be heard.

On June 17, 2011, the high court in Pietermaritzburg declared his arrest and detention unlawful and he was released on 20 June.

All criminal charges against Pillay were withdrawn in Port Shepstone Regional Court on November 11.

Discrepancies in documents produced in court showed that Pillay’s arrest and subsequent imprisonment were not done by procedure.

It was unclear as to when the alleged crime took place, as the dates on the warrants of arrest vary by a month.

When Pillay appeared in Port Shepstone Magistrate’s Court on June 21 for a bail application hearing the case was postponed to June 30.

The magistrate refused to consider the lawfulness of Pillay’s arrest and stated that he was only interested in considering the bail issue. The magistrate postponed the matter to July 9 and Pillay was denied bail.

The case was postponed to July 25, Pillay’s first court appearance after he was denied bail, and then finally to November 11 when the charges were withdrawn.

Mental, physical health

Pillay claims that while at Margate and Umzinto cells his mental and physical health deteriorated, he suffered a loss of freedom, loss of dignity, loss of amenities of life, injury to his reputation and loss of earnings among others.

Apart from the unlawfulness of his arrest, Pillay said, he witnessed the worst within police cells during what he calls his year in hell.

“When police bring you in, they cuff you and boot your head,” he said.

He said he saw many fatal fights and that several inmates die from lack of medical care.

  • Jono - 2011-12-06 10:20

    I wonder were they going to get the money from to pay this guy...hope its not from the tax payers!!!

      MissGremlin - 2011-12-06 10:22

      Wrong. taxpayers as always will get to foot this bill.

      Napolita - 2011-12-06 10:42

      @Jono - ALL government departments and to some degree all it's institutions get fully funded by taxpayers. When you sue the government you're in fact using every taxpayer including yourself.

      Blank - 2011-12-06 10:46

      We have been paying for everything else,so why not this guy?

      OSSY24 - 2011-12-06 10:57


      Justin - 2011-12-06 11:01

      Get Jackie Selebe to pay him, and send Jackie to his cell!

      Servaas - 2011-12-06 11:07

      @Jono: Yes it will most likely be. I would have done the same. Sue our USELESS government. You see, this just shows ALL how useless the police is, how the "ruling paty" can't get NOTHING in order. All difference is I would have taken note of names and faces and just deal with them after this.. Cops would have picked these crooked cops up next to the road. Take the law into your own hands, our current ruling party is a failure. Our police is a failure. Look at selebi and "stomach in chest out" all a bunch of losers. but Eish, another comrade/brother will fill that position and the job WILL STILL NOT BE DONE, we have seen this over and over with the "ruling paty" (would love to say the 3 letter name but it will be removed) With an idea comes a revolution..

      Johncarlos ? Biza - 2011-12-06 11:11

      Could be from money they collect via bail.

      Breedlike - 2011-12-06 12:02

      I would rather the tax money go to this guy then to the pockets of the corrupt anc fatcats.

      Modefan - 2011-12-06 13:10

      Guys, theres a local movie called 'Jerusalema', where they use this trick...they just alter the dates on the warrants and then the case gets thrown out of court, this guy is probably guilty as sin! He got away with the crime and now he wants to sue for extra cash....if thats not a fraudster

  • michielbester - 2011-12-06 10:22

    The last few paragraphs perfectly portray our police system.

  • Edward - 2011-12-06 10:35

    sue them!!!!! but take EVERYTHING from the police officers involved. why should the tax payers foot this bill???? incompetence normally starts at the top.

      ludlowdj - 2011-12-06 11:11

      The tax payer foots the bill for everything, if you as a taxpayer are upset by this remove the offending parties from government.

      Luke - 2011-12-06 12:23

      but was he guilty?

  • Patrick - 2011-12-06 10:42

    I hope this guy gets way more than R30 mil, seriously imagine this happening to you. Wow, i feel for that man. I'd much rather foot this guys bill with my taxpayer money than watch the government spend it on themselves.

      Steenbra - 2011-12-06 10:55

      And no need to commit fraud anymore!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Thuphac - 2011-12-06 11:49

      Seriously, Patrick, do you believe this fraudster? I think he is taking chances just because police botched up the investigation.

      Ronald - 2011-12-06 12:04

      Thupac, if he was guilty of fraud, as you assume without proof, new charges would have been filed if evidence was available. The fact that he had a previous conviction does not automatically mean he is guilty of whatever subsequent charges may be filed later in life. The idiot judge that refused bail after Pillay had been arrested without the warrant being presented should also be fired for gross incompetence as the circumstances of the arrest should have been taken into account during the bail application to ensure that the detention was lawful. If he had done his job the whole situation would have been avoided.

      Patrick - 2011-12-06 12:47

      @Thupac - Hey man, i do believe this guy, and so do the other 98 people who've liked my first comment.

  • Andre - 2011-12-06 10:43

    Welcome to Africa, the land of darkness and emptyness!

      Fredster69 - 2011-12-06 11:18

      Evil resides where good people do nothing

      Lebza Dikgetsi - 2011-12-06 12:10

      What are you doing hear if that's the case

  • Barry - 2011-12-06 11:02

    I am glad for Mr. Pillays part and feel sorry he had to endure all of it. I trust he will spend the money wisely. It is a very expensive lesson for the SAPS, but nobody is perfect though.

      Mark - 2011-12-06 11:57

      He has not received any money yet and chances are he won't receive any where near R30 million.

      Ronald - 2011-12-06 12:10

      They don't have to be perfect, they just need to follow a simple set of rules and regulations that they are taught and tested on at Police Collages. These Police officers should have noticed in the news how many unlawful detentions had taken place and overturned(with great financial loss due to law suites) because of people arrested without warrants at roadblocks for outstanding traffic tickets. The same principal applies.

  • aardvarkie - 2011-12-06 11:04

    So the guy was arrested for fraud and according to this article it was the police who messed up procedure and or paperwork. In other words the guy was a fraudster who should have been convicted anyway? So how about we call it even - you only spent a year in jail, count your blessings and move on!

      aardvarkie - 2011-12-06 11:26

      Rikesh I'm not excusing the police for messing up, but everyone just assumes that because the police DID mess up, that the guy is innocent of the crime. This isn't a case of arresting an innocent guy - he is still guilty of fraud - so I don't have any sympathy for him.

      Ronald - 2011-12-06 12:13

      No, Aardvarkie, he had a previous conviction. No evidence had yet been presented in relation to the latest charge.

      aardvarkie - 2011-12-06 12:55

      Ronald - nothing to suggest he's innocent either.

      David - 2011-12-06 13:10

      Whatever happened to Presumed innocent until proven guilty?

      aardvarkie - 2011-12-06 13:17

      Well he didn't get his day in court because the police bungled up on procedure. I reckon they should pay him out (fine, I can relent on that) but reopen the case and give him his day in court. I'll buy you a case of beer if he's not convicted of fraud - once a fraudster, always a fraudster.

  • Marion - 2011-12-06 11:06

    Whilst I feel sorry for him, his basis for suing does not appear to be based on his innocence but on correct procedure not being followed. Also, "Pillay, convicted of fraud previously, said he was arrested by an officer of the organised crime unit on a charge of fraud at his home in Oslo Beach on June 17, 2010."

      aardvarkie - 2011-12-06 11:18

      Exactly what I was saying - everyone is assuming he is innocent just because police messed up the procedure. Bunch of lemmings if you ask me.

      Guy - 2011-12-06 11:20

      So you are judging him without a trial, based purely on his history? How would you feel if a cop fined you for speeding based in the fact that you've had a speeding fine before? You are no better than the police in this case.

      Hugh - 2011-12-06 11:25

      Case was withdrawn. False arrest.

      aardvarkie - 2011-12-06 11:29

      Hugh - cases aren't necessarily withdrawn because the guy is innocent, they messed up on PROCEDURE. Guy - where there's smoke there's fire, the police wouldn't have had a warrant of arrest without just cause. They messed up the procedure, which indicates negligence on the police side but does not deter from the fact that for a second time in this mans life he was arrested for fraud.

      Marion - 2011-12-06 11:57

      @Guy... I am judging him, if that's what you consider my comment to be, based on the reasons stated in this article for requesting dismissal of the case. He isn't shouting 'I'm innocent', he's shouting 'Correct procedures weren't followed'.

      Ronald - 2011-12-06 12:24

      Aardvarkie, that is why procedure should be followed under all circumstances. During my 14 years in SAPS this was first and foremost to prevent people from getting off on technicalities, prevent contamination of evidence or people from being falsely arrested, and to prevent huge law suites against the Police and the courts. It ensures a system of checks and balances. Just like you should not pay a speeding fine received by post without viewing the photo to ensure, for example, how it was possible for my diesel bakkie, top speed 145 km,to be clocked by a camera at 194km/ph. It turned out to be a stolen Audi with my numbers on its number plate.

      aardvarkie - 2011-12-06 12:58

      Ronald - I can definitely agree that procedures SHOULD be followed. I just don't agree with everyone assuming the guy is innocent and that the police are corrupt thugs.

      Hugh - 2011-12-06 15:01

      @aaedvark, not denying that mate, just where the evidence is not forthcoming, makes a mockery of justice. Cops run roughshod over the citizens and if I was him, R30mill is about what I'd charge for a year in jail.

  • Ashwin - 2011-12-06 11:08

    How did he decide on RM30? Why ONLY RM30? RM30/365 days=R82191.78, less 40% tax=R49 315.07pm. Is this enough compensation for all the pain and suffering?

      MissGremlin - 2011-12-06 11:33

      Don't forget he has to pay 38% to the receiver of revenue.

      stephen.pollock1 - 2011-12-06 11:49

      Hows your maths? That's 49k a DAY! Not bad for a years work!

      Pierre - 2011-12-06 11:58

      hmm calculus issues i see. 30 000 000 / 369 = R81 300.81 per day 40% tax = 32 520.33 Thus it gives R48 780.49 per Day Month take 30 Days gives R 1 463 414.63 per month

      Hugh - 2011-12-06 15:02

      How much for the sex in the showers? Still a bargin?

  • Kevin - 2011-12-06 11:09

    Our police and prison wardens are a disgusting lot . I know some one who knows what goes on in Pollsmor. The wardens have just about zero say and the prison is run by gangsters. This makes the prison services as bad as the criminals . Sodomy charges are ignored at the homo thug gets away with it instead of being isolated and removed from all contact. This is because the terrible human rights lawyers care about all the prisoners , even the rapist sodomists. There is a time and a place for removing people from society on a permanent basis and these thugs are definites.

  • ludlowdj - 2011-12-06 11:10

    Good I hope every citizen supports him through this. The Police think they are above the law. Also the law provides for the state to keep prisoners in "safe custody" if anything happens to you while in detention the government is 100% liable for damage claims. People needs to pull their heads out of the ground and familiarize themselves with the law and particularly their rights when being detained for any reason.

  • Kevin - 2011-12-06 11:13

    The claim must be paid and as much of the money taken from the thug policeman's pension and termination pay and from the prison warden thug that allowed beating and sodomy. If a policemen kicks and beats an arrested person he should be fired and jailed. Our police system stinks because it is run by one thug after the other

  • guy.goes1 - 2011-12-06 11:25

    We see these type of claims appearing with increasing regularity, it is the intimidatory way certain policeman and some courts are handling issues. It appears that control in police cells leaves a lot to be desired, does this confirm again that the negative thoughts people have of the police may be true after all.

  • Simon - 2011-12-06 11:29

    I hope he wins. His life has been ruined.

  • Lesley - 2011-12-06 11:31

    I hope he gets every single penny. What a terrible experience to endure. I don't believe a person can ever fully recover from an experience as traumatic as the one he describes. I would think his physical and mental state will never be as it was before this experience. He deserves at least R30 mill. One would hope the officials in the system will be punished but I guess that will probably not happen due to the same ineptitude and dishonesty that placed this poor man in these ghastly circumstance in the first place.

  • comrade.zondi - 2011-12-06 11:35

    Eish Go for it. The public servants steal more in a week. Comrade Zondi

  • Bernd - 2011-12-06 11:43

    Pillay ,we are on your side. Take em to the cleaners

  • raegan.mcreed - 2011-12-06 11:43

    such humiliation, i think he deserves the R30M , this guy has lost his dignity along with his virginity, i am sure he will use some of the money for a rectum operation, ''picking up soap for 365 days cant be any walk through the park', AG SHAME !

  • johan.visser - 2011-12-06 11:47

    They should take the money from the Police and Judicial people that was implicated

  • Pierre - 2011-12-06 11:51

    The magistrate refused to consider the lawfulness of Pillay’s arrest and stated that he was only interested in considering the bail issue. ---- OMG the magistrate is not interested in the legality of the arrest only in Bail........Mr Magistrate if the man was wrongfully detained, how do you expect money from him for Bail, as in the first place he should not have been there. I smell a rat, the truth might come out or not depending the information bill, but I suspect here is a conspiracy to have him locked up, might be related to previous fraud case, someone with influence is definitely involved.

  • Marlene - 2011-12-06 11:52

    Let's hope his stay in jail has put him off committing fraud, or any other offence, for good.

      makesuthink - 2011-12-06 12:02

      Hpoe that you have never commited any crime eg ,never lied to your boss about taking time or days off because that is FRAUD and if you have you belong in jail with him

  • colin.dovey - 2011-12-06 11:52

    "Summons WERE issued"? - surely "Summons was issued".......or is the new standard of journalistic excellence?

  • Thabiso - 2011-12-06 11:53

    The statement shoud read - "Pillay is suing the South African tax payer for R30m." The officer will loose a job but we will pay.

      Repline - 2011-12-06 12:03

      Thats true. But remember the 'majority' of tax payers put the government in place and they are in turn responsible for the police force. So following through the line we the 'majority voters' are responsible for what the police did. Not saying I agree, but the reasoning is there. Next time we vote think about the candidate your voting for and if they too will be squandering your tax-money due to incompetence.

      David - 2011-12-06 13:14

      Seriously? "But remember the 'majority' of tax payers put the government in place..." I would disagree that the majority of taxpayers put the ANC in power. Majority of voters, yes, but not taxpayers.

  • Maria - 2011-12-06 11:58

    You are innocent, until proven guilty. He should have been allowed out on bail. Criminals kill and rape, and get bail. What's with this country. All screwed up .......

  • elspeth.hassall - 2011-12-06 12:28

    Shoddy police work, AGAIN! So we have to foot the bill...grrrrrrr

  • maricha.knightvanheerden - 2011-12-06 12:33

    WTG and about time too. The SAP isn't above the law.

  • Reitz - 2011-12-06 12:48

    The only way you get government to stop corruption is to make it too expensive for them not to. If I hear about police officers beating inmates who still had pending disputes as to their innocence, I just want to vomit. I know I for one have absolutely no respect for the police although I adhere to and admire a strict law. This is not a tax debate. This man was put in jail for a whole year and he is now freed although nobody will take responsibility for this and this would be brushed off as a simple mistake by a corrupt entity. If it happened to me i would be suing for R1 billion. And I would get it too.

  • Joanne - 2011-12-06 12:54

    I think that the 2 officers involved should cough up... why should the taxpayer?

  • tony.delucchi - 2011-12-06 12:56 cannot blame the Police, it is the system that needs to corrected. The police were just doing what they are suppsed to do...they were instructed to arrest this guy so they arrested him it was not anything personal...what happened afterward is purely the fault of the system, his lawyer and the incompetence of the courts....if his account of the event is true then I say sue by all means and he is welcome to my 25c of the taxpayers money they use to pay hime out!

      aardvarkie - 2011-12-06 13:03

      Well said.

  • rheinhardt.peens - 2011-12-06 13:12

    Another fine job...well done..

  • Cracker - 2011-12-06 13:37

    They should not arrest people unless it is really necessary. Get the case and witnesses prepared for court and only then arrest the accused or make other arrangements for his/her appearance. It is shocking that cases take so long before they are finalized. It is one postponement after the other. Personally I would think twice before telling the police that I am a witness to a crime. Not worth it. The comment above about the conditions the incarcerated are kept underlines how important it is to keep a constant surveillance. The technology is available. Our freedoms are worth far more than the cr.p and excuses we hear.

  • mzamani.shivambu - 2011-12-06 14:22

    Good shot. They must pay, he is lucky to be still alive. What if they shot him dead.Our police force need a serious training.

  • Sharkshoot - 2011-12-06 17:39

    Nowdays it's possible to sue the arresting of a very few things that the ANC has done right.

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