Rustenburg man suing police for R1.1m

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IOL may5  handcuffs . File photo.

He spent four months in jail with no charges against him. The Rustenburg man also claims that the police made no real effort to get him to his court appearances. Now that the case has been withdrawn, he wants what he says is due to him – R1.1 million in damages.

The man, who does not want to be named, was arrested on October 29, 2010 and kept in custody at the Rustenburg Police Station’s holding cells.

On November 1 he appeared in the Magistrate’s Court for the district of Rustenburg. At the appearance, the matter was postponed to November 8, 2010.

But on that day when the court set his bail at R500, he could not pay and so remained in the custody of the police. The case was postponed to December 3, that year.

The man was transferred to the Jericho Police Station, where he was detained.

Since then, he says, members of the South African Police Services had failed to secure his attendance in court. On January 4 last year, when his case came before the Magistrate’s Court for the district of Rustenburg, the matter was postponed to that January 11.

On January 11, in the his absence, the case was struck from the roll.

Despite the absence of any charges against him and any intentions to secure his prompt attendance in court, the man was detained by the police at Jericho Police Station from January 11 until April 4 last year.

“The 34-year-old man from Rustenburg is claiming more than R1.1m from the Minister of Police for, inter alia, past and future medical expenses, past and future loss of income/earning capacity and general damages for pain and suffering, loss of liberty, injury to dignity and loss of amenities of life, etc,” said Jean-Paul Rudd, senior associate at the commercial and property practice of law firm Adams & Adams, which is representing the man.

The Minister of Police failed to enter an appearance to defend the action whereafter default judgment was applied for by the man’s attorney.

“Judge Selby Baqwa of the North Gauteng High Court situated in Pretoria, ordered that the man was entitled to recover 100 percent of his proven or agreed damages from the Minister,” says Rudd.

It is alleged that the man, during his detention, was continually assaulted by fellow inmates.

He now suffers from acute and severe post traumatic stress.

He was furthermore unable to work during the period of the unlawful detention.

The amount of damages he suffered and is owed will be determined at the quantum hearing at a later stage.

The man has, however, in the interim secured the services of various experts, including a clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, industrial psychologist and an actuary to investigate and quantify his damages, which will ultimately be claimed from the Minister of Police. -Saturday Star

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