Saturday, August 09, 2008

Surveillance Camera Policing Leads To Wrongful Arrest Of Two Innocent Men For Rape, Graffiti

Have you ever watched the news and seen photos or video from surveillance cameras released by police of a suspected criminal and wondered what it must feel like to see your own face on the screen, knowing you are innocent?

The right thing to do would be to go to the local police station and try to have the mistaken identity situation cleared up. Right?

Or perhaps not :

A man who was wrongly accused of being Sydney's buck-toothed rapist and locked up for more than 24 hours is demanding a public apology from police to restore his reputation.

The Supreme Court ordered that Joey de Mesa be released from custody late on Sunday after DNA evidence cleared him of any involvement in a string of rapes in Sydney's west.

Mr de Mesa, 23, had gone to Mt Druitt police after family and friends saw CCTV footage of him at Blacktown railway station on the news on Saturday night.

However, instead of clearing his name, police immediately arrested the Minchinbury man and charged him with 11 counts relating to the sex attacks.

It was 24 hours before the Supreme Court order, based on DNA, came to set him free.

Mr de Mesa said that after his court appearance on Sunday, during which he was told that as someone charged with rape he was not eligible for bail, he began to doubt his own sanity.

Here's another failure of surveillance cameras being relied on to do the hard yards of police investigative work :
Innocent 18-year-old Tim Lynden was humiliated and distressed after being fingered by Castle Hill RSL Club, which wrongly identified him on security vision and gave his details to police.

The confusion arose when Tim was innocently captured on camera in April but police only realised after his arrest that the criminal was also on the tape and he had a different coloured afro and different clothing.

...the false accusations resulted in Tim being dramatically evicted from a friend's birthday party at the club in full view of other guests.

Keen to clear up the confusion, Tim volunteered to go to Castle Hill police station on May 16 but to his shock he was arrested, stripped of his belongings, read his rights and locked up.

Police said Tim could apply to have his arrest record expunged.

This is what they got for doing the right thing - a day and a night in the cells, public humiliation, a court appearance and then a battle to clear their names. Kinda freaky.