The police reached an agreement to release controversial private investigator Paul O’Sullivan’s assistant Sarah Jane Trent on bail by 9pm on Sunday night after she launched an urgent court application for her release.
She was released on R5 000 bail shortly before 9pm.
Trent’s legal team launched urgent court proceedings on Sunday after being given the runaround by the police about Trent’s whereabouts following her arrest late on Friday afternoon.
According to court papers, they eventually traced Trent, who is an admitted attorney, to the Kameeldrift Police Station east of Pretoria, but police initially refused to give them the reason for her arrest or to show the arrest warrant to her legal team.
Her legal team said in an affidavit that Trent was informally informed she was arrested because she had pretended to be an official of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), a claim she denied.
Trent, 32, cited Advocate MM Mashuga of the directorate of public prosecutions, who apparently signed the arrest warrant, as one of the respondents in her urgent application.
The urgent application was initially set down to be heard at 4pm on Sunday night in the High Court in Pretoria, but the police reached a settlement with Trent – that was confirmed as a court order by Judge Nomsa Khumalo – several hours later.
Trent and O’Sullivan were working with Ipid on a case of corruption and defeating the ends of justice investigation into acting police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane.
Rights group AfriForum’s Kallie Kriel described Trent’s arrest as “an abuse of state power”.
Phahlane has filed an application in the high court for an interdict against Ipid executive director Robert McBride, O’Sullivan, Trent and Magistrate JR Tsetsi to ensure the investigation against him was lawfully conducted.
Phahlane also wants a search warrant for his house, which was issued by Tsetsi, set aside and will seek an interdict to stop O’Sullivan from harassing, intimidating or abusing him verbally or by email.
O’Sullivan last year launched legal proceedings to remove Gauteng Hawks head Major-General Prince Mokotedi, two prosecutors and one of Mokotedi’s investigators from any investigations or prosecutions against him.
He claimed in court papers they were abusing their powers to force him to permanently leave the country.
The case was provisionally settled when National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams undertook to give O’Sullivan 48 hours to present himself at a police station when a warrant had been obtained for his arrest.
O’Sullivan claimed in court papers he was being targeted because of his role in the successful prosecution of the late former police commissioner Jackie Selebi and his investigation into alleged fraud and corruption committed by SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni and numerous other top officials.