17 June 2024


International Cases

Mxolisi Mananga & Others vs. Minister of Police

South Africa

04.06.2021

Criminal

Arrest, without a warrant is permitted, where an arresting officer held a reasonable suspicion that, a dangerous wound had been inflicted

The appeal arose from the dismissal of the appellants’ claim for wrongful and unlawful arrest in the Eastern Cape Division of the High Court, Mthatha. The issue before the present Court, concerned the entitlement of a police officer to arrest a suspect, without a warrant, in terms of Section 40(1)(b) of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977, on a suspicion that an assault had been committed and a dangerous wound had been inflicted. The Appellants had been involved in an altercation relating to the use of dipping facilities for cattle in the Ncora administrative area, near Confimvaba, in the Eastern Cape. They had allegedly assaulted the complainant, causing him to sustain lacerations to his head and a fractured wrist.

The complainant was admitted to the Cofimvaba Hospital where he was treated, and detained for a period of four days. When a charge with intent to do grievous bodily harm was laid with the South African Police Service at Cofimvaba, Warrant Officer proceeded to Ncora to interview Complainant. He witnessed the injuries sustained and formed the impression that, Complainant had been severely injured to the head and arm. He accordingly arrested the Appellants, without a warrant, and charged them with assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. They were detained for three days, before appearing in court.

The Appellants misconstrue the nature of the inquiry. It is not required of a police officer to examine the wounds of a victim, as a doctor would, nor would that be appropriate. He is merely required to have regard to the facts and circumstances at his disposal, and, where reasonably possible, to satisfy himself of the merit thereof. If, on a consideration thereof, there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a dangerous wound has been inflicted, he is entitled to arrest the suspect without first obtaining a warrant.

An arrest, without a warrant, in terms of Section 40(1)(b) of the Act, 1977 was permitted under Schedule 1 to the Act, where an arresting officer held a reasonable suspicion that a dangerous wound had been inflicted. It considered that by ‘dangerous wound’ is meant an injury endangering life or limb and that Warrant Officer Qunta reasonably suspected that the appellants had inflicted such injuries to Mr Sambunjana. It accordingly held that the High Court, Mthatha, had correctly concluded that the arrest was lawful. Appeal dismissed.

Tags : Arrest Detention Legality

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