Police yet to show arrest warrant for O'Sullivan's attorney - AfriForum

2017-02-11 18:40
Paul O'Sullivan's attorney Sarah-Jane Trent  (Facebook)

Paul O'Sullivan's attorney Sarah-Jane Trent (Facebook)

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Johannesburg - AfriForum has said that police are yet to show them an arrest warrant for forensic investigator Paul O'Sullivan's attorney Sarah-Jane Trent who was picked up by officers on Friday afternoon.

Her arrest also appeared to be unusual because she was driven around for hours before being taken to a police station.

Family and friends of Trent only discovered on Saturday, hours after her arrest, at which police station she was being held.

Trent is a part of O’Sullivan’s legal team. She was arrested on Friday afternoon at O’Sullivan’s offices, allegedly on charges of impersonating an Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) officer. 

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Trent and O’Sullivan were working with IPID on a corruption and defeating the ends of justice investigation into acting Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane.

According to Trent's friends, she was initially told by the officers making the arrest that she would be taken to Cullinan police station.

She was driven around for hours in the back of a police van and spent over an hour parked at a petrol station before she was taken to the Kameeldrift police station, East of Pretoria. The friend said that when he arrived at the station, police denied that Trent was being held there.

"I told them that if she was not there then she has gone missing in police custody," the friend said. They then allowed him to see her.

She told him that police went back to O’Sullivan’s office to retrieve her cellphone, which she believed they forensically downloaded.

Willie Spies from Afriforum confirmed they could not locate Trent for more than three hours on Friday night.  

"My colleague Louis Taljaard has since worked uninterruptedly to arrange bail, as the SAPS is complicating the matter. Furthermore, no arrest warrant has been shown to him," said Spies.

He said the police have denied Trent’s arrest to the media.

"In the meantime, she is still being detained at the Kameeldrift Police Station. If she wasn’t arrested, she was abducted. It’s either the one or the other," Spies said.  

CCTV footage show police outside Paul O'Sullivan's offices on Friday. 

‘Marked for a hit’

On Friday, O’Sullivan said that just after 16:00 a Metro police officer knocked on his door. He said she asked for him specifically and said she wanted to enter to discuss a-hit-and run accident that had taken place two weeks earlier.

The number plate she named was that of a vehicle O’Sullivan previously owned but had sold a year ago. He asked her for the exact date of the accident. The officer said she would find out, then got in her car and drove off.

O’Sullivan said he believed he was being marked for a hit, so he got into his car and drove away.

As he was doing so, he saw a convoy of unmarked cars heading towards his premises. They tried to block him, but he got away.  

O’Sullivan is in possession of a high court order, obtained during his trial on a passport offence, that police may only arrest him by way of a summons.

The order also states that if he committed a serious offence such as treason or espionage and police have to arrest him that they can only do so if they give him 48 hour’s notice.

If he had been arrested, this would have gone against the court order.

Phahlane is seeking to interdict O’Sullivan from being involved in IPID investigations against him. 

The papers were on Monday served on the IPID, O’Sullivan, Trent, and Magistrate, JR Tsatsi.

Phahlane has denied any wrongdoing.  

Spies however said it was clear the police were harassing and intimidating Trent.  

In response to News24's questions, SAPS spokesperson Sally De Beer said it is standard practice to identify an arrested person only after a court appearance.

"Claims of  an 'abduction' are far-fetched and cannot be dignified with a response," she added.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  paul o'sullivan  |  crime

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