Pretoria - Copies of advertisements promising “sensual massages with a happy ending”, found inside a Rooihuiskraal home in Centurion, did not have such a happy ending for the occupants, as three of them ended up being arrested by police.
Walton Ackerman, his wife Amanda, a relative, Johannes Ackerman, and a woman police believed to be a sex worker, Michelle Geisler, had their damages claim for nearly R2 million against the minister of police dismissed by the Pretoria High Court.
This followed a raid on their Suikerbekkie Avenue home on June 19, 2008, after a tip-off by an estranged daughter of the Ackermans. Police believed the premises were used as a brothel and crystal meth laboratory, and that an unlawful gun reloading operation was being run from the premises.
In the house, police found pictures of a naked Geiser, 42, in “various erotic stances, some with her private parts fully exposed for all and sundry to view”, Judge Moses Mavundla said in his judgment.
Suggestive picture advertisements were also found, plus prices for an array of sexual entertainment. Sex toys, a dustbin brimming with used condoms, two plastic wrappings that tested positive for drugs, empty cartridges and a reloading system and prices for drugs referred to by their street names were found.
Copies of the pictures of Geiser in explicit poses were handed in to court as exhibits, as well as pictures of the sex toys.
Walton claimed R500 000 damages for unlawful arrest and detention for six hours. His wife claimed R250 000 for trauma and distress as she had to witness what happened to her family. Johannes claimed R500 000 for being locked up in a cell for nearly 10 days.
Geiser claimed R600 000 for unlawful arrest, body searching and for being detained for about a week. Her claim included damages for the trauma and depression she suffered because of her detention.
The others were never charged, and the charges against Geiser were withdrawn. Police maintained the raid and arrests were not unlawful, as they had acted on a bona fide tip-off and did find items at the house. They were warned that the people at the house “were not friendly” and had threatened to shoot the police if they went there.
For this reason the police were armed and when they got to the house they cuffed the two men while conducting their search.
They said they had to restrain Walton, as he was aggressive and did not want to co-operate.
The police were in plain clothes and which Walton told the court was why he did not want to open the door. He and Johannes complained that the police cuffed them tightly and they were manhandled. Geiser claimed she was indecently searched by an officer.
Judge Mavundla said the plaintiffs had overstated their account of events to gain the sympathy of the court. He found the police did nothing wrong and were entitled to raid the house and arrest the people.
The four denied the house was a brothel. Geiser said the explicit material emanated from when she was still a prostitute, which she no longer was. However, the pictures appeared to have been taken recently, the judge said. The many condoms found, they explained, were proof that Geiser and Johannes practised safe sex. “This explanation is laughable… Any sane and self-respecting couple would not bank in a dustbin a large quantity of condoms, but would discard them.”
In his view, the judge said, Johannes had run a brothel and counted the condoms to ensure Geiser did not short-change him.
The four asked for leave to appeal against the ruling, but the judge this week again turned it down, slapping the four with legal costs.