Man gets damages for wrongful arrest

2012-02-27 10:23

Johannesburg - A Germiston man has been awarded R200 000 in damages by the South Gauteng High Court for his wrongful arrest and detention, Beeld reported on Monday.

Ashwell du Plessis sued the police minister and the national director of public prosecutions after his arrested in 2004 in connection with an armed robbery at Imperial Cargo in Germiston.

In a ruling on Friday, Judge John Campbell said Du Plessis had been an innocent bystander, something that police could have clarified with just one phone call.

In a separate case on January 31, a former policeman arrested in 2009 was acquitted by the Benoni Magistrate's Court after being wrongfully arrested and detained for three years, Beeld reported.

Former police sergeant Ignatius le Roux, who was a police informant at the time of his arrest, had been charged with robbery and fraud relating to the possession of alleged false police appointment certificates.

He was refused bail, his marriage collapsed and he lost his job while behind bars.

Beeld reported that Le Roux now alleged that the National Prosecuting Authority deliberately persecuted him.

  • Donald - 2012-02-27 10:31

    In a ruling on Friday, Judge John Campbell said Du Plessis had been an innocent bystander, something that police could have clarified with just one phone call..... thugs

      Thelma - 2012-02-27 10:46

      They don't even know how to make a phone call...Give me strength!

      Janice - 2012-02-27 11:07

      Well done SAPS once again!!! NOT!

      Warren - 2012-02-27 12:06

      ... and once again, guess who has to take responsibility (pay) for someone else's stupidity?

  • Sharon - 2012-02-27 10:43

    What happened to detective work and investigation? Our police don't even know how to handle a crime scene anymore! Frightening indeed, it must have been a harrowing experience, and the compensation is not even close to being adequate.

  • Yolanda - 2012-02-27 10:48

    This is a great end to a nightmare! it would have been greater if he got millions out of it. He would have really deserved it.

  • Tammy - 2012-02-27 10:48

    he should have sued for more

  • SJ - 2012-02-27 10:50

    Why should the taxpayer foot these bills. It is time that cops are charged under common law in their personal capacity. They are still human beings even at work and therefor should be treated as such. if the taxpayers always pays it leads to a situation where effectively cops have immunity and hterefor will not give one thought to acting outside the law.

      Sajid - 2012-02-27 11:07

      brilliant comment SJ . Its a system set up for failure. The people responsible need to be held accountable. How many cops are there in SA? surely they can be managed like any organization. These are working "professionals" so why should they get special treatment. I wonder how they get screened in a interview. this is just putrid.

      Klaus - 2012-02-27 11:46

      Similar to medical doctors, they have to pay (deducted from salary) a special insurance which covers that kind of conduct

      Heibrin - 2012-02-27 11:58

      @Klaus: no insurance company would touch them, even with the next insurance company's barge pole.

      Hannes - 2012-02-27 15:20

      I say - fire them and keep their pension money's so we don't end up paying

  • Murechen - 2012-02-27 10:59

    These people are being sued in thier professional capacities not personal so basically the tax payer is footing the bill and that is why this kind of incompetence will not stop.

      Mildly_Amused - 2012-02-27 11:26

      That's a horrible thought!

  • superman.plett - 2012-02-27 11:07

    Thelma, your right, they cant even make a phone call. they only know how to send a "please call me"

  • Larry - 2012-02-27 11:13

    The arresting officers should be charged and arrested, as well as having to repay this money. That is the only thing that will stop these thugs from doing it again.

  • Deon - 2012-02-27 11:18

    And you want to bring back the death penalty?? Good idea, but not in S.A. their is realy no real law!!!!

      Cracker - 2012-02-27 11:47

      @ Deon The death penalty in these circumstances will only strengthen the powers of the rubbish. They will literally then hold the power of life and death over people. So easy for a reasonably experienced witness to appear credible in court if also blessed with some acting ability. Think dishonest police officers. The law must be changed to make it compulsory that interactions between law officers and the public be recorded. The technology is available. No pointings out, interviews or confessions allowed as evidence in court unless recorded. If an arrest or recordable offense is not recorded without a very good reason, also fine that officer who was responsible and if the neglect continues, dismiss him AND/OR his senior.

      Marion - 2012-02-27 12:10

      @Cracker...I've often wondered why our police vehicles aren't fitted with cameras such as the vehicles in the states. I did once witness Piet Byleveld and his team arresting a guy in a car park and the entire thing was recorded by a police videographer. I agree with you that the more recordings (undoctored) we have of all interactions between police and public, the more likely a person is to get a fair trial.

      Cracker - 2012-02-27 12:45

      The reason can only be to protect the deviousness that is going on in some quarters. It makes it a bit more difficult to hide a bribe excursion joy ride for example. If the cameras are for example on the whole time while they are out on patrol, it will become a bit difficult to explain why they did not take steps against some of the road transgressors which every other road user can see are disobeying the law. Only the patrolling officers - even those in their cars stationary at the fried chicken outlets - seem unable to notice it.

  • jurie.slabbert - 2012-02-27 11:38

    It takes neerly 8 years to finalize a case like this in court. Why?

      Thelma - 2012-02-27 11:43

      Go slow system.

  • Charmain - 2012-02-27 11:55

    what else can u expect from the police force

  • Cracker - 2012-02-27 12:00

    Once again we must be concerned that it took so long for the matters to be finalized. The case of the three year long incarceration of an innocent person once again demonstrates why the sentiment against granting bail is misdirected. Nobody should be kept locked up for so long before his/her day in court. It is unfair not only to the accused but also to the public. The processes in the legal area need an urgent and really honest review and those responsible for the ineptitude MUST be removed from the system and NOT given golden handshakes. They have already caused too much misery to ordinary people so they deserve no reward. Kidnapping as a common law offence should be wide enough to cover deliberate unlawful arrests and limitation of your freedom of movement. Perhaps something for lawyers to look at if asked by their clients to consider. It is not a requirement that you be removed to a different location. It should be sufficient if for example you are detained in a police vehicle at the road side next to your car. Or even if you are unlawfully arrested while in a police station and locked up there. Well worth a try so the courts can make the situation clear.

      Marion - 2012-02-27 12:13

      That this man was denied bail and kept in jail for three years is a total miscarriage of justice when you look at how many rapists, murderers, drug lords, etc., get out on ridiculously low bail. Hope he gets a top lawyer and sues the pants off them.

  • Moses - 2012-02-27 12:07

    no wonder the saps is called the biggest gang in mzanzi

  • Perfume - 2012-02-27 13:06

    Where are the detectives???

  • Denton - 2012-02-27 15:42

    they probably tried to send a please call me

  • Thabiso - 2012-02-27 16:02

    Even the most positive comments get thumb down, how stupid!!?

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2012-02-27 19:29

    Come on, guys. The police must practice their arresting skills on somebody.

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