Police ministry welcomes ConCourt ruling

2013-05-22 20:47
The Constitutional Court (Picture: Sapa)

The Constitutional Court (Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The police ministry on Wednesday welcomed a Constitutional Court decision not to change a cost order ruling.

The cost order had been made against a group that sought compensation for firearm owners who had turned their weapons in to police.

Police ministry spokesperson Zweli Mnisi said the Constitutional Court had vindicated the current approach to firearm control.

"Once again, this Constitutional Court judgment vindicates our approach of ensuring responsible firearm control, as stipulated within our Firearms Control Act."

On Tuesday the court refused the Justice Alliance of SA (Jasa) leave to appeal against a costs order relating to a Firearms Control Act ruling made in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

There were no exceptional circumstances to justify hearing an appeal only about costs, the court found on Tuesday.

But the judges did caution courts against costs orders that could inhibit genuine constitutional issues from being heard.

Jasa and the False Bay Gun Club took the ministries of finance and police, the national police commissioner, and the Firearms Appeal Board to the SCA in November, arguing for compensation for firearms handed in when the Firearms Control Act replaced the Arms and Ammunitions Act.

They claimed they surrendered them when they were unable to obtain licences in time because of problems with the legal change over.

In Wednesday's response, the police ministry questioned the group's submission that the matter was in the broader public interest, and that it was not financially well off.

Mnisi called them "well-oiled and litigious" and said the ministry believed they were trying to introduce a constitutional challenge through the back door.

Jasa had to pay the legal costs the minister incurred in the SCA. The SCA found the law provides for compensation only if a firearm needs to be kept for an investigation, or if it has historic value.

Read more on:    police  |  legislation

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