'Head-butt': sheriff sues for R510 000Comment on this story
Pretoria - The deputy sheriff of Pretoria East, who tried to attach a BMW from a woman at The Glades in Wapadrand but was allegedly head-butted twice by her husband, has instituted a R510 000 damages claim against the man.
Steven Brits, 68, said in papers before the Pretoria High Court he not only suffered physical scars following the incident, but had been degraded and humiliated by the actions of Raymond da Silva.
Brits’s nightmare started on September 29, 2011, when he went to The Glades to do his job.
He was in possession of a court order to the effect that the Da Silvas owed someone money and the creditor was entitled to attach some of their goods.
After he served the court order on Leani da Silva and asked her for her car keys, her husband arrived.
According to Brits, the man head-butted him twice and, as he lay on the ground, he was kicked in the face and on his body.
“He thereby forcefully tried to stop me, as deputy sheriff, Pretoria East, to execute an order of court,” Brits stated.
He was momentarily unconscious and had to be rushed to hospital, he added.
Brits said the assault took place in sight of members of the public, and in front of one of his younger colleagues.
He received a cut across his forehead, a gaping wound in this area, and a laceration on his neck. He was unable to work for about a week and consequently suffered loss of income. He also incurred substantial medial expenses.
Da Silva denied wrongdoing or that he was liable for the damages. His version of the events is that Brits took an “unknown object” from his car and held this “object” behind his back. Brits then approached Da Silva and “pushed him around a few times in an attempt to provoke” him.
The deputy sheriff then moved the “unknown object” he had behind his back and held it in front of Da Silva’s face, Da Silva said.
Da Silva hit Brits “once with his hand” and the deputy sheriff fell to the ground. Da Silva said that while the sheriff was on the ground, he identified the “unknown object” as being pepper spray. According to him, he kicked this out of Brits’s hand.
Da Silva said he had acted in self-defence as he had “feared the unknown object” as well as Brits.
“I thought my life was in danger,” Da Silva stated.
Brits, in answer to this, said he had posed no threat to Da Silva. Even if he had viewed him as a threat, Da Silva used excessive force under the circumstances.
According to a medical report, Brits has post-traumatic stress and has flashbacks and dreams abut the incident. He experiences difficulty in executing his work, as he does not know what is waiting for him.
The matter was postponed indefinitely.