Our hero this week is the state for successfully securing the conviction and imprisonment of a police officer for accepting bribes related to drug use. The state sometimes gets it wrong, but this time it got it right.
The police constable, Ricardo Abrahams, had been under scrutiny after a complaint that police at the Grassy Park station were involved in drugs and corruption. In late 2011 officials set up a trap, and he fell into it. Abrahams, who has two children, first accepted an amount of R300 from a police agent posing as a drug peddler, and obtained five grams of the highly addictive tik – methamphetamine – for the agent.
In December 2011 he obtained 10 grams of the drug and received R400 for his efforts. Both times he was on duty, and in uniform.
Now he has been sentenced to eight years in jail. In the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court, the magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg also declared him unfit to possess a firearm.
Sonnenberg held that a five-year sentence, as suggested by the defence attorney, would be too little as Abrahams would be released into house arrest after serving just 10 months – sound familiar?. She wanted to send a message to would-be first-time offenders that it was not worth the risk.