Big blow to criminal investigations as super investigator Frank Dutton dies
Dutton had led numerous high profile criminal investigations over the past four decades, in South Africa and abroad.
The death of Frank Dutton (72) on 20 January from a stroke has brought to an end a decades-long career of a former police detective and private investigator whose work has been the backbone of prominent investigations. These included crimes against humanity in Bosnia and Croatia, Truth and Reconciliation Commission cold cases and investigations for the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector including Organs of State (Zondo Commission).
After leaving police college in Pretoria in 1967 Dutton took up a post to what was then Natal. Here his investigations would expose the apartheid government’s third force activities fuelling political violence. Described as meticulous and determined, Dutton, who received the Order of Baobab Gold in 2012, is especially recognised for being unwavering in standing up for truth and justice even when it has meant taking on those from within his own police ranks.
In the mid-1990s he established and headed up the Investigation Task Unit to investigate hit squads within the KwaZulu police. Later he was seconded to the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to investigate genocide‚ war crimes and crimes against humanity in Bosnia and Croatia.
At retirement from the police in April 2004 he was head of the Scorpions and had clocked up 38 years of service. In retirement, Dutton turned to investigating TRC cold cases, successfully paving the way for the reopening of the inquests in the deaths in detention of Ahmed Timol and Neil Aggett and the indictment relating to the murder of Nokuthula Simelane.
He was an investigator for the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in 2018 and last year joined the Investigating Directorate into State Capture. DM