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Litigation: R900 000 award for arrest without evidence

Stanley Shabalala – arrested in April 2016 without evidence linking him to a robbery at a Pick n’ Pay – has won R900 000 in damages. A News24 report says Shabalala was detained for a year at the Diep Kloof police station on a charge of business robbery after appearing in the Orlando Magistrate's Court. But now, Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) Acting Judge Dario Dosio has found that Shabalala's detention was unlawful. Dosio said based on the evidence presented, he could not find that a reasonable and probable cause for the arrest and prosecution existed. ‘Accordingly, the conduct of the prosecution in instigating the prosecution was wrongful. As a result, I am convinced that the plaintiff has proved the requirements of malicious prosecution,’ he said. Shabalala was initially refused bail; however, after numerous postponements and due to the non-attendance of witnesses at the trial proceedings, he was released in March 2017 when the case was withdrawn. The judge ruled: ‘If we are to give meaning to freedom as a foundational value of our Constitution and to the right to freedom and security of the person, we cannot allow the police to deprive people of their freedom by so simple a stratagem as behaving in the egregious manner in which they did here and then lying low and keeping quiet to see if anything will come to the rescue of the victims of their nefarious deeds.’

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