Lauren Dryden’s relative, Deborah Ruiters, 42, says Fernando Isaacs, 36, outside the Goodwood Magistrate’s Court last November. Picture: Supplied
Lauren Dryden’s relative, Deborah Ruiters, 42, says Fernando Isaacs, 36, outside the Goodwood Magistrate’s Court last November. Picture: Supplied

’Justice not served stops now’: Mom’s alleged killer freed due to a lack of evidence

By IOL Reporter Time of article published Apr 23, 2021

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Cape Town – Mother-of-two Lauren Dryden was allegedly shot dead for her cellphone last November while waiting for an e-hailing taxi service after completing her night shift in Epping. Murder accused Fernando Isaacs was denied bail, but released from jail last month due to a lack of evidence.

Last Saturday, Isaacs was the ’’subject of a preliminary investigation’’ after, similar to Dryden, 31, the victim had finished her night shift when she was allegedly robbed of her cellphone in Epping. The woman was allegedly shot at, but was not injured.

On Friday, the DA Women’s Network (DAWN) in the Western Cape said it wants those individuals – either in the SAPS or NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) – who are responsible for letting offenders get away with these detrimental acts to be fired and prosecuted.

DAWN said although the evidence to deny bail to the Dryden murder suspect was overwhelming, the NPA decided in March to withdraw the charges. According to the NPA, the charges were withdrawn because there were irregularities with the police investigation.

According to witnesses, Dryden’s body had been removed from the scene very quickly and no road closures were actioned, DAWN said.

Lauren Dryden, 31, a mother of two children. Picture: Supplied

’’Justice was not served and SAPS and the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) have again failed to fulfil their mandate. On Saturday, 20 April, the accused was again arrested for armed robbery,’’ DAWN said.

’’Except for the fact that the victim was able to escape unharmed, this incident is identical to Lauren’s case and proves unequivocally why the decision to let the accused go free was wrong.’

’’The DA Women’s Network in the Western Cape will no longer tolerate this sloppy work from any agency that are supposed to protect the rights and dignity of women, children and our vulnerable communities. The system is engineered by individuals and blaming the system does not ensure justice to be served.

’’We are now going after the individuals within the system who are not doing the jobs they are paid for. We demand accountability and we demand justice.

Fernando Isaacs was released from jail last month due to a lack of evidence. Picture: Supplied

’’We want those individuals who are responsible for letting offenders get away with these detrimental acts to be fired and prosecuted. We’ve had it with scraping bodies off the streets, only to find cases are withdrawn or criminals are not prosecuted.

’’We are greatly appalled by the utter carelessness and lack of empathy portrayed by the South African justice system. The inadequacies of SAPS and lacklustre (sic) of the NPA did not only result in justice not being served, but it also caused Lauren’s and so many other families to live in fear of their lives, at the same time of having to deal with the loss of their loved ones…

’’We will stop at nothing until those responsible for depriving us of our constitutional rights are brought to account. How can residents across the country feel safe where they live when they cannot count on those mandated to protect us? The South African justice system is failing all South Africans and can no longer be trusted to keep us safe.

’’We will now actively and vigorously engage and mobilise victims and their families to join us in the fight against those individuals in the system that are just shrugging their shoulders when offenders go free. If we can’t sleep at night, neither will they.’’

Commenting on the case involving another cellphone robbery victim targeted in Epping, Bonteheuwel councillor Angus McKenzie told the Daily Voice: “The victim is still in shock and fears for her life.

“The opportunity now exists for the criminal justice system to ensure that the same mistakes that caused huge hurt, pain and frustration for the Dryden family as well as the people of Bonteheuwel are not repeated.”

Western Cape police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said on Friday morning the ’’suspect (Fernando Isaacs) was the subject of a preliminary investigation but not arrested'’.

’’The two suspects named by the complainant, however, are yet to be arrested. Bishop Lavis is investigating a case of robbery with firearm.’’

IOL

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