Police station killing: huge claim

2007-12-15 00:00

The mother of the child of well-known La-Mercy based microlight pilot and instructor James Taylor, who was shot under mysterious circumstances at Tongaat Police Station in 2004, is suing the national minister of Safety and Security for R6,5 million.

Brigette Delport told Weekend Witness that a civil claim has been lodged and the amount is an estimation of how much would be needed to support her daughter until she is 23 years old. The child was four years old when her father was killed.

The minister’s defence is that Taylor tried to unlawfully unarm a police officer at Tongaat Police Station. However, the circumstances surrounding Taylor’s death are still under investigation in the form of an inquest, which began on Wednesday at the Verulam Magistrate’s Court.

Three police officers and two security guards stationed at the Tongaat Police Station testified this week and the matter has now been adjourned to March next year.

At the time of his death in September 2004, Taylor’s brother Charles told Weekend Witness that he was informed by police that his brother was involved in a scuffle with an armed policeman that resulted in him shooting himself.

However, when approached, police were forced to keep quiet as the investigation had already been handed over to the Independent Complaints Directorate.

It is believed that Taylor was picked up by two police officers after a fight at the Sea Belle Restaurant and was taken to the Tongaat Police Station where he allegedly got into a scuffle with a policeman when he apparently tried to remove the officer’s R5 rifle from his shoulder and his service pistol from a holster. A shot was fired and Taylor was killed.

Another version is that Taylor had got out of the police vehicle and made an attempt to flee when he was shot by a policeman.

Charles Taylor told Weekend Witness that when he arrived at the Tongaat Police Station, police were already washing blood off the floor of the charge office.

This, together with the fact that he was allowed to take his brother’s car from the police station even though it is not clear how he arrived there, has cast major doubt on the forensic investigation surrounding the killing.

nivashni@witness.co.za

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