HIGH Court judge Justice ‘Maseshophe Hlajoane on Tuesday ordered the Commissioner of Police to pay a Mohale’s Hoek man M80 000 as compensation for torture he suffered at the hands of the police.
Bokang Magadlela of Mekaling in Mohale’s Hoek, had demanded M175 000 from the police for falsely accusing him of stealing jumper-cables, assault, and detaining him without charge on 6 May 2011.
In their affidavit submitted before the court, the police denied assaulting Mr Magadlela, who works at Maestro in Ha Hoohlo. Maestro is adjacent Mr Auto Electric and Electronics where the cables were stolen on 5 May 2011.
However, Justice Hlajoane awarded Mr Magadlela M80 000 after medical reports confirmed he was assaulted and sustained injuries during the illegal detention.
Mr Magadlela told the court how two officers arrived at his workplace and asked him to accompany them to the police station for questioning about jumper-cables which had gone missing at Mr Auto.
The court also heard how, instead of being released after interrogation, Mr Magadlela was detained and tortured by several policemen in the “backroom office”.
Mr Magadlela says he was ordered to kneel down while handcuffed, and his head placed between one officer’s thighs as the others assaulted him with a baseball bat.
The assault only stopped after Mr Magadlela started bleeding from the mouth, the court further heard.
In her ruling, Justice Hlajoane noted: “Defense counsel showed, in their plea and during cross-examination, that the plaintiff was never assaulted by the police as alleged but only taken for questioning and released. The defendants admitted the arrest but denied the assault.
“The medical report confirmed that he had multiple bruises at the back, bruises on the right arm and laceration on the left upper lip.
“It was enough humiliation for the plaintiff to have been transported in a police van from his workplace on allegations of theft. Words were uttered in public to say the plaintiff had stolen the jumper-cables.
“He was called back, after he had been assaulted, to go and clean his blood.
“The plaintiff was detained for part of the morning hours yet no charge was ever preferred against him. The plaintiff’s case succeeds and is awarded M80 000”.
Advocate Napo Khatala appeared on behalf of Mr Magadlela while Advocate Mafikeng Moshoeshoe represented the Commissioner of Police in the trials which was first before the court on 28 April 2015.