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Durban - A couple who were arrested for allegedly running an upmarket brothel are planning to sue the government for damages after the woman suffered a miscarriage while awaiting trial at Westville Prison.
Khonsaint Onsultee, 31, was one of four Thai women who were charged in May for operating a brothel under the Sexual Offences Act, keeping premises for the purpose of prostitution, and contravening the Immigration Act.
Her fiancé, Tommy Bothma, 27, and two other South Africans, Kim Khoury, 35, and Trevor Mark, 27, were also charged. The charges against all the accused were, however, withdrawn in the Umhlali Magistrate’s Court in July when the State failed to secure the services of a Thai interpreter.
Onsultee suffered a miscarriage in June, said Bothma, who claimed that Westville Prison warders allegedly ignored her pleas for help.
Onsultee, who said she was five months pregnant, claims that she was refused hospitalisation by prison authorities and bled in pain for four days.
Sporting a tattoo with the inscription, “Onsultee 11/06/2013”, on his arm - in reference to the day his unborn child died in Westville Prison, Bothma said his fiancée had pleaded to be sent to hospital.
“The prison knew she was pregnant (but) she bled for four days and nobody did anything to help her,” he said. “She pleaded… until she finally lost the child on the fourth day.”
Bothma said he was now consulting with a lawyer to institute legal action against the Department of Correctional Services.
He denied that the rented house in Ballito was being used as an upmarket brothel, insisting that the women had used it to run a massage parlour.
He said the women contributed R8 800 a month for rent, while he paid the remaining R5 000 of the total R13 800 monthly rental.
He had since been evicted from the property after he failed to pay rent while he was in prison awaiting trial. Bothma said he and his fiancée were living with his family in Welkom and trying to rebuild their lives.
Two of the Thai women had since returned to Thailand while the third was living in Johannesburg.
The owner of a registered computer company, Ultimate Business Machines, Bothma was also angry that police had failed to return his laptop, iPad, iPod, 15 cellphones, his driving licence, identity document and the computer software disks that he said he required in order to generate work for himself through his company.
“I can’t do anything with my life because I don’t have any money to buy new software… I’ve tried plenty times to get my things back, I go to Umhlali (police station) and they tell me they are waiting for a docket, and then they say the Organised Crime Unit will send my things, I must wait, but it’s been two months,” he said.
NPA spokeswoman Natasha Ramkisson, said the case had been provisionally withdrawn and said the prosecutor would have to liaise with the police to determine if the State will press charges again.
Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said it was possible that the charges could be reinstated.
“The case against the accused was withdrawn, but it is possible that it will go back to court,” he said.
Zwane said all the exhibits had been entered in an exhibit register and placed in safe custody.
“The complainant has already received some of his belongings,” he said.
A spokeswoman for Westville Prison was off sick and could not comment on the allegations by the time of publication.