'Drug cops phone calls acceptable'

The transcript of a telephone conversation between West Rand senior officers and drug dealers will be used as evidence in the trial, the Johannesburg high court ruled yesterday.

The transcript of a telephone conversation between West Rand senior officers and drug dealers will be used as evidence in the trial, the Johannesburg high court ruled yesterday.

Judge Nico Coetzee did not give reasons for his decision.

Defence lawyers had argued that monitoring and intercepting the phone calls between Colonel Dumisani Jwara and his co-accused, Captain Landro Makgosani and Inspector Victor Jwili, was illegal and shouldn't be used as evidence.

Advocate Koos van Vuuren said police did not try other methods to bust the accused. He also argued that bugging their phones infringed on their rights to privacy.

The trio faces charges of dealing in drugs, theft, defeating the ends of justice and fraud. They are all out on bail.

A fourth accused Captain Caiphus Shange died in jail last year.

State prosecutor Advocate Michelle Bayat had argued that criminal offences committed by the police were high and something must be done to curb them.

"Public sees offences, including dealing in drugs and corruption, committed by members of the police everyday and they want to see it stopped."

Bayat said the constitution ensured all individuals the right to privacy but there were justifiable and reasonable limitations to that right.

The trial continues.

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