Sergeant Cornelius Wessels was in charge of prisoners in the holding cells at the Cape Town central police station when he accepted the bribe to take a parcel of food with dagga hidden in it to an undercover agent posing as a prisoner in November 2012.
According to the charge sheet, an undercover operation to trap Wessels was authorised by the Western Cape Directorate for Public Prosecutions, based on information that officials at the police station were involved in corruption and drugs.
On the day in question, the agent was arrested on a fictitious charge and held in one of the cells. Another undercover agent was given R100 to give to Wessels to induce him to give a food parcel to the agent in the cell.
According to the charge sheet, Wessels accepted the money and the parcel, and handed it to the prisoner without checking the contents, as he was supposed to have done.
Wessels appeared in the Bellville court in August last year, before Magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg, who found him guilty of corruption.
Wessels was jailed for eight years, but in terms of legislation, that permits his release into house arrest after 10 months. This meant he would be released in June this year.
According to the court record, one of Wessels’ grounds of appeal was that the sentence was so severe as to induce a sense of shock. Another is that, in accepting the parcel, he acted out of compassion and not self gain.
He said that he understood the R100 to have been for the prisoner as well, and that his intention was to place the money in a special lock-up safe to be given to the prisoner on his release from custody.
He claims he was found in possession of the money and arrested before he had had the opportunity to do as intended.
At the request of prosecutor Ezmeralda Johnson, the application was postponed to March 25.