Cops looked on as woman ‘bashed’

2011-07-22 00:00

MOTORIST Jude Ward (54) told a Camperdown magistrate she was “a mess” after being “bashed” and shouted at by Road Traffic Inspectorate officer Edward Xolani Mtshali in Camperdown police station on January 18 last year.

He kept demanding her driver’s licence, “spitting and shouting” that he would arrest her and put her in a cell while “bashing, grabbing and shoving” her.

The attack took place in front of police officers who made no move to help her.

“He was constantly in my space … never backing off … he’s a man and I’m a woman and he was so close to me that I could feel his breath on me.

“This thing has completely changed me … changed my life,” Ward testified.

Ward frequently broke into tears as she gave evidence before magistrate L. Perumal yesterday.

Mtshali is facing a charge of assault arising from his alleged attack. He pleaded not guilty.

During his cross-examination of Ward, defence advocate Shane Matthews suggested she was a “drama queen” and remarked, “There’s a saying the lady doth protest too much.”

He warned Ward that if the court found she had exaggerated her description of the assault and her alleged injuries, it might not believe her version.

Ward denied Mtshali’s version that she had tried to take his photograph with her cellphone and that he had pushed her, causing her to fall, because she had “lunged” at him to get the phone back.

She denied “stabbing” him in his arm with her keys during the struggle and denied she had made a racial remark to him outside the police station with the words “It’s because of black people like you this country is in such a mess”.

Ward repeatedly stated under cross-examination that she is “not a liar” and ended her testimony in tears, telling the court she had been “hurt” by Matthews’s suggestion that she has a “big nose”.

“I don’t have a nose like Pinnochio. I am not lying … I am here because I don’t want to feel unsafe travelling on the roads or have anyone else go through what I had to go through on that day,” she said.

The reference to her nose came up when Matthews asked why she hadn’t injured her nose if Mtshali had bashed her head on the tiled floor as she had testified.

The state alleged in its charge sheet that Mtshali pushed Ward to the floor, put his knee on her back and hit her head repeatedly on the station floor.

She also testified yesterday that he “choked” her with his “huge hands” round her neck.

Afterwards she was “traumatised, dishevelled and bleeding” from lacerations on her hands (caused by her car keys) and a graze on her knee, she said. Her body was “hurting all over”.

The court heard that Mtshali weighs “120-something” kilograms.

Ward said she drove to the police station that day scared and desperate for help over “extreme and irresponsible” behaviour by Mtshali on the N3.

The moment she got out of her car Mtshali “grabbed” her arm and began “pushing” her.

“He was shouting he wanted my licence … I told him I will give it to him in the police station … Due to his aggressive nature I just wanted to get into the police station.I managed to get away from him and ran into the station shouting for help.”

She said none of the officers inside stopped Mtshali from “bashing” her.

Asked by Matthews why she thought these officers would all take part in a “conspiracy” against her, she said they were covering up for their colleague and she surmised that they had been told by a superior “not to say anything”.

The case will continue on September 28.

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