MASERU — A local footballer is suing Police Commissioner ‘Malejaka Letooane for M2 million after he was shot and seriously injured by three police officers last February.
Justice Lepheana, 29, who played for Matlama Football Club’s reserve side Winners FC, was shot and injured in his leg on February 23 last year in Lithabaneng, Maseru.
Lepheana told the High Court on Thursday that he had been forced to quit football as a result of the brutal attack he suffered at the hands of the police.
The footballer told the court that he was severely assaulted and then shot by the three police officers near Scalo Tavern “for no good reason”.
“I was waiting for my brother who was coming to pick me up,” Lepheana told the court.
“Since I didn’t know which car he was using, I kept on checking every vehicle that stopped near me.
“It so happened that when one vehicle stopped, I went and peeped through the window and I saw three police officers inside.
“They asked me what I was looking for and accused me of being the criminal they were after.”
He said trouble started after he asked the police why they were looking for a person they did not know.
“They came out of the vehicle and started assaulting me using gun-butts and I fell to the ground,” Lepheana said.
“They kept on hitting me while I was down, but I managed to get up and flee from the scene.
“But as I was running away the police shot me in the leg and I crawled to a nearby house.
“They followed me and ended up shooting one of the occupants of that house.”
He said as a result of the shooting he suffered career-threatening injuries and was therefore demanding M2 million from the police commissioner.
“Since the assault I have not participated in sport,” he said.
“I used to be with Matlama’s ‘B’ side, called Winners FC, but I’m not able to play anymore as a result of the attack.”
The court application was not opposed and none of the respondents, who include Letooane and Attorney-General Tšokolo Makhethe, were represented in court.
High Court Judge Tšeliso Monaphathi said Lepheana needed to justify his claim of M2 million.
“You have made a good case for damages. I agree the police assaulted you unlawfully,” Justice Monaphathi said.
“But I would like your lawyer to come back on February 19 and justify the amount of your claim.”