Cops Liable for Unlawful Arrests?
The Supreme Court of Appeal will rule next month on whether individual police officers should be held liable for the legal costs incurred by making unlawful arrests, City Press reported on Sunday.
Currently, the police minister is liable for damages claims.
Acting Judge Roelof du Plessis of the High Court in Pretoria ruled in 2010 that the officers responsible for the unlawful arrest and detention of Pretoria resident Jack Coetzee should pay the legal costs incurred by their actions.
Coetzee had been arrested for reckless or negligent driving by metro police officer Frans Sivayi.
"The time has come to consider costs orders de bonis propriis (of his own goods) against public officials acting in bad faith and causing unnecessary legal costs and litigation, for their opponents, for the general public and for taxpayers," Du Plessis said.
Forcing officials to carry these costs would not only right the wrong they had caused, but also act as a deterrent to unlawful action in future.