Owner of Hennies Restaurant in Moreleta Park wants his booze back
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Pretoria - The owner of Hennies Restaurant in Moreleta Park will this week ask the court to force the SAPS to hand back stock – alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks – worth about R112 000 confiscated more than a week ago during a raid.
Werner Pretorius and restaurant manager Atroyo Nolte are also planning on suing the SAPS. This related to the arrest of Nolte on January 22 for “selling alcohol”.
Nolte said he served a patron a non-alcoholic gin and tonic, and the man’s two friends were each served with a non-alcoholic beer.
The police, however, insisted the gin and tonic was an alcoholic drink despite the CCTV above the bar counter showing that the drink came from a non-alcoholic sealed container.
Nolte ended up spending eight hours in a police cell before his lawyer Alet Uys managed to secure bail for him.
He was summoned to appear in the Hatfield court on charges of breaking the Covid-19 regulations, but the prosecution declined to take the case further due to a lack of evidence.
Meanwhile, Pretorius, through his lawyer, has had an uphill battle to get his stock back, which he said does not only consist of alcoholic drinks, but also his non-alcoholic stock, which he is able to sell at this time.
After the SAPS stormed the premises earlier, they insisted on confiscating Pretorius’s entire stock kept in the storeroom. It was all sealed.
Pretorius said that apart from the non-alcoholic beverages which he was allowed to sell, the government could at any moment lift the alcohol ban. “If that happens tonight, I will need my stock the next day. The SAPS cannot simply keep it indefinitely,” he said.
Uys has contacted the police station on several occasions in a bid to get the stock back, which she said was unlawfully seized. At first she was told the SAPS needed the docket back to ensure the case did not proceed. However, they did receive the docket but still refused to release the stock.
Uys has written a letter to the SAPS in which she referred them to the Criminal Procedure Act which stated that if a matter did not proceed, the articles seized as evidence in that case must be handed back without delay.
“There is currently no legal basis for any member of the SAPS to keep possession of such seized goods.”
Uys added that she and her legal team were meeting today with the aim of turning to court to force the SAPS to hand the stock back.
The next step will be a damages claim against the SAPS for unlawful arrest.
Uys said the matter could have been resolved at the restaurant if the SAPS agreed to take a breathalyser test of the man who was supposedly drinking the alcohol-infused gin, but they refused.
The officers who were offered a sip of the drink insisted it contained alcohol and would not listen to reason, she said.