Leon Dunn’s client, Shaanaz Ally, became embroiled in a dispute when she told controversial businessman Roy Moodley’s wife about an alleged affair he had with a friend of hers.
Ally had sued the minister of police and the National Prosecution Authority for wrongful arrest and detention, and wrongful prosecution. Dunn said the judgment, handed down late last month in the Durban Magistrate’s Court, found officers Inspector Ganas Moodley and Constable Karl Harrichal liable.
Ally said she received a call from Roy Moodley’s wife, who wanted to see her, on April 18, 2013. Ally said she initially refused as she was ill, but Moodley’s wife insisted and wanted to see her at Gateway shopping centre the following day. She wanted to discuss an affair Ally’s friend allegedly had with her husband.
Ally met Mrs Moodley, her son Magesh and another woman. About half an hour into the meeting Roy Moodley is said to have arrived and asked his wife what she was going to do about the affair.
Ally decided to leave the family and, as she made her way up the escalators, Roy Moodley threatened to have her arrested. Soon she met officers Moodley and Harrichal, who told her they had been called by Roy Moodley.
They told her they needed her to go to a camera room where they would show her video footage. Instead they took her to the underground parking lot, where she was shoved into a vehicle and taken to Durban North police station. Ally said she overheard Ganas tell another officer that they would charge her with anything they could make stick.
She was charged with attempted murder, crimen injuria and extortion. Ally spent five days in jail and appeared in court, where she was initially denied bail because the investigating officer refused bail. Charges were, however, later withdrawn after she was made to sign a document.
The policemen contended that Ganas was on duty when he received a call from Magesh Moodley, saying there was a plot to kill his mother and to meet her at Gateway.
Ganas and Harichall made their way to Gateway, where Magesh told them of the plot. The officers said they approached Ally and told her how serious the allegations against her were, and that she should go with them to the police station. Magesh Moodley was told to follow. At the station a statement was taken from Magesh as his mother was too traumatised to make one of her own.
Ally was charged with conspiracy to commit murder and extortion and a seven-day remand was requested to investigate cellphone records. The policemen said Ally filed a withdrawal statement a few days later, and the charges against her were later withdrawn. However, Durban magistrate Vuyokazi Noncembu came to “the unavoidable conclusion that the actions of the police were actuated by malice when they arrested the plaintiff, and hence they sought to protect themselves by obtaining further statements even after charges were withdrawn against the plaintiff”.
She granted the judgment with costs in favour of Ally.
Roy Moodley had not responded to calls and text messages for comment by the time of going to print.