Benoni man awarded R70 000 after police mistake his home for drug den

2018-05-30 14:27
PHOTO: Getty Images

PHOTO: Getty Images

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A man from Benoni is still furious that police haven’t apologised for raiding and damaging his property, after mistaking it for the den of a drug lord from Nigeria.

But Sean Early (54) was awarded R10 441 for damage to his property and R60 000 for the damage to his good name and reputation by the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Friday.

Sean was travelling to Musina with his friend on a business trip when he received a call from his security company to tell him the cops were prowling around his house in January 2014.

He was already three hours away from home and couldn’t do much.  

“I was very confused and thought, ‘Why and what’s the story?’,” he tells YOU.

The security company told him police were making a drug bust.

“I just burst out laughing,” Sean recalls. “I then phoned one of my neighbours ask them to keep an eye on whatever the hell was going on.”

In his absence, police forced their way into his property, damaging his gate and the electric fence – which he had repaired the day before. 

“They wandered around on the property, found absolutely nothing and got in the car and left.”

'They got the address wrong'

Sean found out who the officer in charge of the raid was and tried to get hold of him. He left several messages for the officer, but the policeman never called him back.

“Basically, at the end of the day, they got the address wrong. There are avenues and streets in close proximity they got the two confused.”

“Because following that particular raid, I have found out that an address exactly the same as mine except for the street and not avenue was a renowned drug den.”

Sean decided to sue the minister of police. 

“It’s because they didn’t even have the decency to respond to my phone messages. Manners cost nothing,” he says.  

“They come in here with two vehicles full of cops. They must have been good 10 odd cops to break into my property, what would the neighbourhood think of me?”

Neighbours still 'avoid' him

He says some neighbours still “avoid” him since the raid.   

The businessman can’t thank his attorney, Kondrad Röntgen, enough. Röntgen took on his case after two other lawyers had already refused.

Had the cops apologised, he’d probably not have pursued the legal route, Sean claims.

“You’ve gone to a wrong address, its human nature; you can’t shoot people because they’ve made a mistake. But they didn’t take responsibility for their actions and were arrogant.”

He’s content with the compensation that he’s going to receive from the state, but he doesn’t consider it a victory

“They’re going to do it again somewhere and to someone else. And now the taxpayers’ money will have to pay me out because the police got the address wrong and refused to pick up the phone and say, sorry can we help you fix up your fence, gate and motor.”

Additional source: IOL

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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