Se­cu­rity cops ‘cov­ered up’ for each other in Ti­mol case

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - ZELDA VEN­TER

“WHAT these peo­ple did was crim­i­nal. They were a brother­hood within the se­cu­rity po­lice and they cov­ered up for each other.”

This was the ev­i­dence of top crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tor Frank Dut­ton, who was the first head of the po­lice’s for­mer elite Scor­pi­ons unit, which was later re­placed by the Hawks.

Dut­ton was asked in 1997 by the Ti­mol fam­ily to in­ves­ti­gate the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing his death. He took the stand in the high court in Pre­to­ria yes­ter­day to tes­tify in the sec­ond leg of the in­quest into Ti­mol’s death.

The for­mer crack cop con­cluded there was a po­lice cover-up over Ti­mol’s death. “I sub­mit that the ver­sion of the po­lice of what hap­pened must be viewed with con­sid­er­able sus­pi­cion and cau­tion. In my view, it is most likely a fab­ri­ca­tion,” Dut­ton said.

He asked why the po­lice – adamant that Ti­mol had jumped out of the win­dow of the “truth room” 1026 – did not bring in an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tor for the in­quiry into the case. In­stead, the head of the de­tec­tive branch in Pre­to­ria was brought in. The in­quiry had hardly be­gun when the in­ves­ti­ga­tor told the me­dia that in his view Ti­mol had com­mit­ted sui­cide. “Clearly he was not im­par­tial, nor did he have an open mind as to the cause of death.”

He ques­tioned why none of the black mem­bers work­ing on the no­to­ri­ous 10th floor of John Vorster Square were asked for state­ments.

He said the po­lice did not meet even the ba­sic re­quire­ments in their in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Ti­mol’s death. At least two in­ves­ti­ga­tions should have been con­ducted: an in­quest to es­tab­lish the cause of death and whether any­one was re­spon­si­ble, and an ad­min­is­tra­tive in­quiry to de­ter­mine if a po­lice mem­ber had con­tra­vened reg­u­la­tions by al­low­ing Ti­mol to exit the build­ing while in de­ten­tion.

Dut­ton said the en­tire fa­cil­ity should have been swept for ev­i­dence and ev­ery per­son work­ing there should have been ques­tioned. Hardly any fin­ger­prints were taken and it wasn’t es­tab­lished whether there was any blood in the in­ter­ro­ga­tion room. That Ti­mol’s body was re­moved within min­utes of the fall also in­di­cated a cover-up.

Adding to the bizarre events was the fact that Sergeant Joao Ro­driguez, the ad­min­is­tra­tive clerk at John Vorster Square who was the only per­son said to have been present when Ti­mol “jumped”, re­ceived a let­ter of com­men­da­tion for his ser­vices.

DOUBTS: In­ves­ti­ga­tor Frank Dut­ton told the Ti­mol in­quest yes­ter­day the po­lice’s ver­sion of events was most likely a fab­ri­ca­tion. PIC­TURE: THO­BILE MATHONSI

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