11 September 2010
Devil is in the detail in R4mil lawsuit
Telling in what direction the suspect ran, or around that vehicle, seemed to be problem for a police witness in the Pretoria High Court yesterday. KwaMhlanga police constable Klaas Makgwalwa gave several different versions, resulting in counsel Salie Joubert giving him a piece to draw the directions.
However, when Makgwalwa’s verbal description of the sketch again differed, Joubert took two bookcases presenting the two police vehicles, again the versions are differed. The constable was testifying in the case of a man who is suing the police for more than R4 million, claiming he was assaulted when they arrested him for allegedly raping a deaf, mute and “cerebrally compromised” woman in March 2008. Police are opposing the claim, saying the man was trying to escape when reserve constable Isaac Msiza tackled him from behind and fell on top of him.
The plaintiff cannot be identified as the rape case is still being investigated. He claimed it was consensual sex after he caught the woman stealing his money and trying to hide it in her pants. He sustained severe spinal and neurological injuries during the incident. Yesterday Makgwalwa testified how the complainant gestured that she had been raped.
The woman directed them to a house in the Chris Hani settlement. Makgwalwa said a TV was on inside, but no one responded to their knocks until Msiza threatened to break open the door. He denied that they assaulted the man inside the house, saying they cuffed his hands behind his back and searched the house.
No firearm was found. He said the two police vans were parked behind each other about 100m away from the house. At some point, the suspect started running. “Msiza followed the man. I ran around the other side of the van. I found Msiza and the suspect on the ground. Both were on their stomachs, flat on the ground. Msiza got up. But the man said he couldn’t. So Msiza picked him up and carried him to the van. “the constable recalled.
The constable denied the plaintiff’s version that Msiza grabbed him from behind, pushed him back down and fell on top of him.