On the 9th of June I was arrested by two plain clothed Nelspruit policemen in Houtbay, Cape Town for apparent theft of firearms. I attempted to explain to them that the firearms were left to me as an inheritance of my late father in laws estate and produced documentation but they just flashed some ID card in my face and started reading me my rights. As soon as I tried to negotiate with them by saying they were mistaken they threatened to throw me to the ground and handcuff me in public as we were at a restaurant. They then walked me over the road to their car and handcuffed my hands behind my back which was very uncomfortable and through me into the back of their car. They would not listen to any reason or what I had to say, but persisted in driving me to a Police station about 40km from where I stay. I was thrown into a cell and had to spend the night there. When my lawyer arrived later that evening, it was discovered that these detectives didn't even have a warrant for my arrest. After having to paid my lawyer R10k in cash I was later released on the Friday afternoon. I appeared in the Wynberg court on the Monday morning where the magistrate was also very surprised that I had been arrested and thrown in jail without any warrant.
Province: Western Cape
I am only starting now to investigate my options of wrongful arrest.
Good day,Could you please elaborate on what it is exactly that you want to know about wrongful arrest?Regards,BB
I want to know if I was wrongfully arrested and if so what I can do about it?
From the facts that you have described, it does appear that you have not only been wrongfully arrested, but also wrongfully detained.You may only be arrested without a warrant of arrest if there is a reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime like murder, robbery or theft, etc. or if you commit an offence in the presence of the police officer.You can lay a criminal charge for wrongful arrest, but the burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt and criminal charges rarely stick in these instances.You may also institute a compensation claim for wrongful arrest, wrongful detention and intimidation. There is no hard and fast rules about the amount of compensation you can claim, because it is determined on a case by case basis. An important businessman would get more compensation than an unemployed beggar.Should you decide to proceed with a claim for compensation, you must bear in mind you must give the Minister of Police a month's notice of your intention to claim compensation. You also need to make sure that the police did not have reasonable evidence to suspect you, so you must try to find out on what evidence did they arrest you. Your attorney could use the Promotion of Access to Information Act to obtain that information.Regards,BB
It would probably be best to dispose of the charges against you first before embarking on a compensation claim, because that way you will get the information you need to substantiate your claim, and when the court either finds you not guilty or the prosecutor withdraws the case, it will count in your favour during the civil proceedings of a compensation claim.Regards,BB
Yes, that is the plan, but you are basically telling me everything I already know so I still don't know where I stand.
Unfortunately we are not allowed to make specific referrals. It is part of the terms and conditions of our participation on this forum, but you are welcome to contact the Law Society for a referral.Truthfully, I think it is too early in proceedings to say for certain where you stand. Just utilise the criminal proceedings as an information gathering tool, and then take it from there. But as I've said at the beginning, on the face of it you have been wrongfully arrested, and should be entitled to claim compensation.Regards,BB
BLC LLB (Pret) LLM (Augsburg)
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