Police have managed to overturn a judgment which would have seen them paying an Eastern Cape man hundreds of thousands of rands after he successfully proved he was unlawfully arrested and detained on a murder charge.

A Daily Dispatch report says the Eastern Cape High Court (Makhanda) granted an appeal brought by Police Minister Bheki Cele against Loyiso Mahleza (35), who had been awarded R600 000 in a damages claim he instituted after his arrest in December 2015.

The appeal stemmed from a December 2019 order that Mahleza be paid damages after he had allegedly been unlawfully detained for 19 days before he was released on bail.

He was awarded R600 000 after the court found that the police had no legal right to arrest him or keep him in custody for such a long period of time.

However, in the most recent ruling, the court found that Mahleza had only been unlawfully detained for a period of five hours after his arrest and before his first appearance in the Adelaide court.

In the judgment, penned by Judge Irma Schoeman and agreed to by four other judges, she said evidence proved Mahleza had been kept in custody unlawfully after being arrested and taken to a holding cell for five hours.

‘In our view the sum of R50 000 is appropriate to compensate (Mahleza) for damages suffered by him,’ Schoeman said.

An application to sue the DPP, which was previously dismissed, was again dismissed by Schoeman.

Full Daily Dispatch report