Police must pay wrongfully arrested teacher after bribe attempt

2016-02-11 13:02
(File, News24)

(File, News24)

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Pietermaritzburg - A Durban woman is to be paid R120 000 in damages by the state for being maliciously arrested and put in a cell with men by police officers who tried to extort a bribe from her.

After initially defending the action, the police admitted last year to being “100%” liable for damages proved by Monica Naidu, a teacher from Phoenix.

An out of court settlement was reached yesterday at the Pietermaritzburg high court, in terms of which the minister of Police (whose department is responsible for the actions of police while they are on duty) agreed to pay Naidu R120 000 by June 10 this year.

The police will be required to pay interest at nine percent per annum on any amount that is not paid by the due date.

According to court papers, Naidu had stopped her car in a parking area “off the road” on May 19, 2010, when she confronted by Warrant Officer Theena Pillay and Constable Meghendren Naicker.

The policemen demanded R5 000 from her “for talking on her cellphone while driving”. Pillay was in civilian clothes, but Naicker was in full police ­uniform. According to the papers, the policemen informed Naidu she was ­under arrest. They instructed her to ­follow them to the Phoenix police ­station, which she did.

On arrival they told her to go to the back of the station, but she was afraid and refused. She was “extremely traumatised, cried and attracted the attention of numerous police officers present”.

When Naidu pleaded that she had to leave to fetch her children, Naicker ­responded by shouting loudly that she was defying a police officer in the ­presence of other policemen. She was laughed at and ridiculed by the police officers, and her request for medical ­assistance was refused.

Naidu’s attempt to get assistance from a Colonel Ramghulam was also unsuccessful. According to the court papers, Naidu was eventually locked in a cell together with men, including a man in custody for attempted murder and theft. She was told by Pillay that “R5000 would sort the matter out” in a bid to extort a bribe from her. Although the police initially denied Naidu’s allegations, it was agreed in March last year that they were in fact liable to pay her damages.

Her original claim was for payment of R595 700.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  bribe  |  police

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