Minister liable for teen's rape by cop
Say it with a sting.....
June 29 2009 at 11:07AM
The Cape High Court has ruled that the Minister of Safety and Security is vicariously liable for the damages suffered by a 24-year-old woman who was assaulted and raped by a police detective when she was 13, after he offered her a lift home from a nightclub.
At the time he committed the crimes, the detective already had previous convictions for assault, assault with the intent to commit grievous bodily harm, and the negligent discharge of a firearm while under the influence of alcohol.
In a judgment handed down on Friday, Judge Lee Bozalek found that the minister should not have allowed him to continue to work as a detective in light of his previous offences.
In addition, the judge ruled that, even though the detective was off duty, his employer could have called upon him at any time to attend a crime scene or report for duty.
'He had been a police officer for 10 years'
The detective, Allister van Wyk, has been convicted of the charges and was sentenced to 12 years in prison, five years of which were suspended.
He is no longer employed as a police officer.
At the time of the incident, in October 1998, Van Wyk held the rank of sergeant. He had been a police officer for 10 years.
According to court papers, the complainant was at a nightclub with her friends when they became embroiled in an argument during the early hours of the morning.
She decided that she wanted to go home and Van Wyk, who was on standby at the time, offered her a lift in his unmarked police vehicle, a white Nissan Sentra.
There were several police dockets in the vehicle, which bore his name and rank, and his police radio was also visible.
Van Wyk later assaulted the teenage girl and raped her.
When he finally dropped her at home, he threatened that she would be harmed or killed if she told anyone about the rape.
But the girl told her mother, and laid criminal charges the following morning.
The complainant also instituted a civil action for damages against the minister of safety and security and Van Wyk, in which she alleged that the minister was vicariously liable for the damages she had suffered as a result of the rape.
Van Wyk did not defend the action but testified on behalf of the minister, who denied that Van Wyk had committed the act in the course and scope of his employment.
But Judge Bozalek said he accepted the complainant's version that she observed that Van Wyk was a police officer.
He said the question before the court was whether there was a sufficiently close link between Van Wyk's conduct and his employer's business.
The minister's lawyers submitted that Van Wyk had used his police vehicle unlawfully and was not on duty that night.
However, Judge Bozalek said this submission lost sight of the fact that being on duty was not necessarily a requirement for a finding of vicarious liability.
He said Van Wyk's employer could at any time have called upon him to attend a crime scene.
In addition, Judge Bozalek said that, without the use of his police vehicle, Van Wyk would not have been able to abduct the complainant and take her to a plot where he could rape her.
He added that his conclusion was strengthened by the fact that Van Wyk was allowed to work as a detective despite his criminal record.
He ruled that the minister and Van Wyk were liable for the complainant's damages, and ordered them to pay her costs.
The case has to return to court for the complainant to prove the amount of damages.
This article was originally published on page 6 of Cape Argus on June 29, 2009
Comments by Sonny
The same rules should be laid down for police reservists. Most of them believe that
they are "policemen" 24/7.
Most of them don't believe that they are only auxiliary 'policemen' after they are
booked on duty in an official Occurance Book or SAPS 15 and OB.
We will not go into the possession of SAPS property here!
No wonder the ANC Government want to change the Constitution so that they are not
accountable for civil and criminal claims!
We will never stand for such TRASH!
Labels: SA Constitution Supreme.