Pity made me help prisoner: ex-cop

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iol news pic prison warder cell INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS File photo by Matthew Jordaan

Cape Town - A former police sergeant accused of corruptly giving a food parcel containing dagga to a man in custody at the Cape Town Central police station, appeared in court again on Friday.

Former sergeant Cornelius Wessels, of the Cape Town Central police station, was arrested in a police undercover operation, based on information that police officials at Cape Town Central were involved in corruptly smuggling drugs to prisoners in the cells.

Wessels has pleaded not guilty before magistrate Sabrina

Sonnenberg in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime court to charges of corruption and dealing in or possession of dagga.

The court has heard that an undercover agent posed as an arrested person, to be locked in a cell.

While in the cell, Wessels had brought him a food parcel, supposedly given to Wessels by a friend.

The agent was aware that the parcel contained small bags of dagga, and had deliberately opened the parcel in Wessels’ presence, and in such a way that Wessels would see the dagga.

The agent’s instructions were to phone a police captain the moment Wessels left the cell, if in fact Wessels, after seeing the dagga, had allowed the prisoner to keep the parcel without further ado.

The agent did so, and minutes later Wessels returned to the cell with others involved in the operation.

The parcel was again opened in Wessels’ presence, with the dagga exposed, and Wessels was found in possession of a R100 note.

Wessels told the court that prisoners in police cells were not allowed food from friends or family, and were fed from food from the police canteen.

He said “pity” had caused him to accept the food parcel for the man in custody in the cell.

He told the court: “I took pity on the man in the cell, and took the parcel to him.”

He was not aware that dagga was hidden in the parcel, he said.

He said the person who gave him the parcel for the prisoner also gave him a R100 note, which he assumed was also meant for the prisoner.

Wessels said prisoners in custody were not allowed to have money on them, but he was allowed to accept the money on behalf of the prisoner.

Instead of giving the money to the prisoner, he had to record the amount in a register and keep it in a safe specially provided for this purpose.

He said his intention was to register the amount after handing the parcel to the prisoner, but he was arrested, with the money still in his possession, before he could record the amount in the register.

Wessels said there was no strict adherence at Cape Town Central to the rule that prisoners in cells may not accept food from friends or family.

The case continues on August 14.


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