Rolex gang freed after cops slip up

Bafana Mthembu, Moses Maleka and Benson Mbatha, arrested in connection with a spate of housebreakings and robberies of jewellery around Sandton, members of the infamous Rolex gang were set free on Monday because police had failed to bring the three to court within 48 hours.

Prosecutor Saul Sefike argued that because the three were arrested after 17:00 on Wednesday, 48 hours only expired on Monday.

Pretoria Regional Court Magistrate Anton Klopper, on freeing the three, cited recent case law that pointed to the fact that 48 hours was the maximum period of detention before an accused’s first appearance, and that police should strive to bring people to court speedily.

In dramatic if not comical scenes moments after Klopper gave his ruling, the three were surrounded by six heavily-armed police officers and rearrested on another charge. The officers would not say what the charge was.

The rolex gang are not to follow rich people from malls and public places to their homes before robbing them, identifying them by their expensive wrist watches.

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