- Two police officers have appeared in court after allegedly swapping an escaped burglary suspect who escaped, with an innocent person.
- The officers allegedly tried to replace the suspect with a person they found on the street.
- The switch was discovered the next day when the man did not fit the suspect's description.
Two Cape Town police officers have appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court after allegedly replacing an escaped suspect with an innocent person.
Warrant Officer Ricardo Snyman and Sergeant Sibuyiselo Bentso, both from Maitland police station, appeared in court on Monday, facing charges of kidnapping, defeating the ends of justice and fraud.
The bizarre turn of events took place after a suspect was arrested for housebreaking and theft in the Maitland area on 29 May. At Maitland police station, officers realised the suspect was in need of medical attention and took him to Somerset Hospital in Sea Point for treatment.
"The 34-year-old constable was left at the hospital to guard the suspect. Whilst at the hospital, the suspect managed to escape," said police spokesperson Captain FC Van Wyk.
"The constable informed the 44-year-old warrant officer of the escape on his return to the hospital. The members drove around the area looking for the suspect but could not trace him."
Once they returned to Maitland, they allegedly found another person on the street whom they took to Maitland police station and detained in place of the suspect, said Van Wyk.
"They did not inform anyone of what had happened. It was only the next day, when the suspect was processed, that the detective realised that the person does not fit the description of the person who was originally arrested," he said.
The matter was referred to the Anti-Corruption Unit for investigation.
"On completion of the investigation, it was discussed with the Director of Public Prosecutions, Western Cape, who decided to charge the members," added Van Wyk.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said the accused were released and the case postponed to 27 October for further investigation.