Benschop’s detention based on action towards NFMU, police
“The courts will determine at a later date rights and wrongs”-Top Cop
“He was detained because his behaviour and conduct displayed at the scene was one of defiance of Government and a Government institution and this will not be condoned. We have to send a strong message that people should co-operate,” said Police Commissioner Henry Greene.
He was commenting on the recent arrest of Social activist Mark Benschop.
Benschop spent Thursday night in the Grove Police Station lockups and was yesterday released without charge, on $25,000 station bail. He has to report to the police station on Monday.
On his release, he claimed that two laptop computers, US$4,500, and a computer are among a list of items missing from his home following a search and the removal of an electronic device from his premises.
Explaining Thursday’s incident, Commissioner Greene said that his ranks got a call from the National Frequency Management Unit for assistance as they went in search of a piece of electrical equipment that was being used unlawfully.
Commissioner Greene said that from his knowledge the NFMU officials did not find Benschop at home when they arrived but he could not say if the NFMU officials went in search of Benschop. His ranks remained on the ground, he said.
While the commissioner has left the courts to decide if the search warrant was proper, he explained, “They (NFMU officials) said they had detected the equipment in the house and they had the search warrant signed by the Justice of the peace as required by law.”
From his understanding of the matter Benschop was approached but he challenged the document produced and denied the officials entry to his premises.
His ranks were there to ensure that there was no breach of the peace, he said. “We decided to remove him from the gate and during that time he decided to fight.”
The commissioner said that Benschop was arrested and placed in the vehicle after he assaulted a policeman.
“Then the NFMU, using their powers under the warrant were able to break the house, entered and we’re told that they found a transmitter.”
Commissioner Greene said that the NMFU will have to deal with their charges regarding the house but from the police stand point Benschop will be charged for several offences committed against the policemen.
“We await NMFU now for the charges under the Wireless and Telegraphy Act which I’m hearing has been breached,” Commissioner Greene said.
“The NFMU went to his house with a document. My problem is that he didn’t want to co-operate because he may have known what was in there.”
Commissioner Greene said that he cannot answer for the particulars of the warrant but that his ranks were there as policemen to enforce and assist the NFMU. Offering a practical explanation for the warrant having a wrong address, the Commissioner reasoned that the equipment was detected in a general location and because it was electronically done possibility existed that the address might not have been spot on, but that does not change the facts.