‘I think heads should roll’

2015-10-06 10:30


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pietermaritzburg attorney Surendra Singh, who won a damages action against police for malicious arrest, has called for “heads to roll”.

The amount of money Singh will be paid out by the state will be the subject of another court case which will only be heard next year.

Singh was arrested on two occasions — once in November 2010 and again in March 2011 — at his home, at night in full view of his wife, family and other members of the public who gathered at the scene.

He said in respect of each arrest he was held in a cell with several people “accused of serious crimes” even though other cells were empty.

He was also denied access to basic amenities such as drinking water, a proper bed and said the toilet was blocked and “full of faeces”.

Singh said the treatment he was subjected to caused him humiliation, stress and trauma and resulted in his suffering from post traumatic stress disorder for which he is receiving treatment.

He said what happened to him was a “serious impairment” of his right to freedom under the Constitution.

He sued the Minister of Safety and Security and individual policemen from Loop Street police station for R300 000 damages in the first instance, and R350 000 in connection with the second unlawful arrest.

The policemen named in connection with the first arrest were Warrant Officers Jude Dorasamy and Rajeev Soorajbally.

Both these policemen, as well as Captain Nagesh Nundlall, Warrant Officer Adimoolam, Detective Amith Budhram and Colonel Sam Naidoo, were involved on the second occasion when Singh was arrested on March 17, 2011.

After initially opposing the claim, the state yesterday admitted liability in the matter and agreed to pay Singh whatever damages he is able to prove.

Judge Shyam Gyanda ordered that both the law suits be joined for the purposes of deciding the amount payable.

Singh yesterday told The Witness the case was “not just about the money” for him. “It is about justice and my dignity and reputation. If ever there was horrific abuse, then this was it,” he said.

Singh said it took him five years to get the police to admit liability in the case and said to date he believes no disciplinary steps have been taken against the policemen involved.

“I think heads should roll … It’s time they face the book,” he said.

In court papers Singh alleged Dorasamy and Soorajbally had “hurled abuse” at him in view of other detainees and police members at Loop Street for “no apparent reason”.

He alleged that when he was arrested in March 2011, allegedly at the behest of Colonel Naidoo, he had been denied sleep and was kept handcuffed to the grills until around 4 am.

The police wanted to transfer him to Plessislaer or Howick but he refused to go even if they “killed” him. He said when he was transferred to Mountain Rise, Dorasamy and Soorajbally had asked an unidentified policeman at Mountain Rise to transfer him from cell to cell and give him a “difficult time”.

Singh told The Witness the first time he was arrested on November 25, 2010, was in connection with an allegation that he had assaulted two policemen, Captain Mario Williams and Sergeant Vinesh Harripersadh (of the dog unit).

In actual fact, he said, he had also laid charges against the men who were tenants in a building he owned and were “drunk” at the time. “What I did was defend myself. Williams had a gun and I pepper-sprayed him,” said Singh.

He said he was tried in court, found not guilty and discharged at the end of the state’s case.

He alleged the second arrest was made under a “false warrant of arrest”.

He was charged for allegedly intimidating a witness in a case, but told The Witness that the person he was charged with intimidating “knows absolutely nothing about it and never made a statement to that effect”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  court

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.