S amson was caught up in the protests he covered for the newspaper he works for.
In the midst of it all, he was arrested, along with other marchers.
In his account, he repeatedly told police he was a reporter and not part of the protest.
According to Samson,no one was willing to listen to his side of the story.
Even after arriving at the police station, having his finger prints taken and showing them his press card, Simon was still processed along with the other alleged offenders.
He was held in the holding cells and, on the third day, appeared in court where the case was dismissed.
While Samson was in custody, he was unable to contact his employer to notify them of his whereabouts.
As a result of the arrest, he was also unable to file the story and lost some income, as a result.
He also suffered injuries during the arrest and wasn’t allowed to see a doctor.
His wound has gotten infected.
Samson now wants to sue police for unlawful arrest.
An unlawful arrest claim against police can be made when a person has been arrested and detained without a just cause.
This as we all have the right to personal freedom, which can’t be taken from a citizen without a good reason in law.
We also have a constitutional right to dignity, which is to be respected.
According to the Criminal Procedure Act, the police can arrest a person if there’s reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed, when police have witnessed the crime being committed, or if there’s a warrant for the person’s arrest.
When instituting a claim for unlawful arrest and detention, you need to sue the Department of Police.
But you first need to give the department notice of your intention to institute legal action.
Within six months of the arrest or release, a formal notice needs to be delivered to the department by hand or registered mail.
The formal notice should be drafted by an attorney, so it’s drafted correctly.
After 90 days of the notice being served, you’ll have three years within which to proceed with your claim against the minister of police in court.
If you don’t give the required six months’ notice and have good reasons for not doing so, you can apply to the court for condonation.
This means you ask the court to allow you to continue with the claim although it has lapsed because you had good reasons for not giving notice on time.
As part of your court action, you can claim for the following:
- Medical expenses (past, current and future).
- Loss of earnings.
- Infringement of your dignity, loss of freedom and pain and suffering.
- Loss of support (if someone you were relying on for financial support passes away as a result of an unlawful arrest).
Samson can appoint an attorney to assist him with instituting a civil claim (to sue) police.
An attorney is necessary to make the process as smooth as possible.
All the claimed amounts will have to be proved.
An attorney is also able to determine if the case is one of unlawful arrest, as people sometimes believe that being arrested and released is an unlawful arrest.
This despite being arrested for a just cause and the lack of sufficient evidence to keep them in police custody.