2007-03-15 : KZN stalker 'eroded public trust in police'

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2007-03-15 : KZN stalker 'eroded public trust in police'

Postby GOSA » Mon, 2007-03-26 09:20


KZN stalker 'eroded public trust in police'
Tania Broughton
March 15 2007 at 05:17AM

"He got what he deserved. In fact, he deserved life imprisonment."

This was the reaction of the young woman who was kidnapped and indecently assaulted by Ismail Sheik, the Durban reserve policeman dubbed the "blue light stalker", after he was sentenced to an effective 21 years on Wednesday.

The petite, dark-haired woman was 17 when she was "arrested" by uniform-clad Sheik outside a nightclub in 2002 for smoking dagga.

Instead of taking her to the nearest police station and charging her, he drove her around, finally parking near Durban Central where, his gun in view on the dashboard, the indecent assault took place.

'His arrest brought some closure'

She was one of several women who fell prey to Sheik, who used his "blue light" to pull them over and then offered to release them in return for sexual favours. He was convicted of seven charges of indecent assault, kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice involving three women. Two were in court on Wednesday. One, who had been drugged by Sheik and had no clear recollection of what happened, left as soon as he was led down the stairs to the cells. The other agreed to speak.

"I feel relieved," she said. "His arrest brought some closure, but this has closed the door completely on the whole affair.

"The only thing that lingers is my mistrust of the police. That has been totally disrupted and I don't feel safe driving around the streets with them on the streets any more. I will never stop if pulled over."

The ramification of Sheik's crime on public trust in the police was a common theme on Wednesday.

"He used and abused his authority and official powers to get the victims to submit," argued prosecutor Val Lotan.

Even defence advocate Jimmy Howse, while urging magistrate Anand Maharaj not to "jail him and throw away the key", conceded that where someone had abused a position of power and trust, exemplary sentences were usually given.

Maharaj said: "Where the same police who, under a constitutional obligation to assist the public, turn out to be criminals themselves and pose a danger to the people they are supposed to protect, then lawlessness and anarchy is at hand."

"Your conduct can only be described as invoking a sense of moral indignation and revulsion in society," he said.

"Such conduct can be described as sexually predatory."

He said people now pulled over by the police would fear being harmed, which could lead to psychological trauma, if not paranoia.

Maharaj granted Sheik leave to appeal, but refused him bail.

This article was originally published on page 1 of The Mercury on March 15, 2007
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