Five months after alleged police dog attack, still no action

2008-08-19 00:00

It has been almost five months since a Pietermaritzburg man laid a charge against Mountain Rise police station officers for allegedly setting their dogs on him, but there has been no progress in the case.

Linda Fredrik Giya (32) has scars on his legs allegedly caused by police dog bites on February 23.

He said that after several attempts to pay him off so he did not open a case, he approached the KZN Community Safety and Liaison Department, which he said forced the Mountain Rise police station to open the case on March 10. However, on July 30 he learnt that the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court had withdrawn the charges.

“I don’t understand why the case was withdrawn without me being informed about the court date,” said Giya.

Police spokeswoman Inspector Joey Jeevan confirmed a case of common assault was opened.

Giya was attacked at his home in Otto’s Bluff Road, Woodlands, at about 9 pm. As he was about to enter the gate he came across two police officers walking with two dogs, and a third one driving a police vehicle. They were all in police uniform, according to Giya.

“As I was walking past, one of them released the dog, which bit me on the legs until I fell over. The second dog also attacked me while its handler was holding its leash.

“I cried for help and my neighbour came to help me, but the police threatened him to stay away,” said Giya.

Later the police removed the dogs and Giya was told to wait for another van to take him to hospital. But he gave up waiting at about 10.30 pm. He said he could not clearly see the identity of his attackers since it was dark.

When he went to have his injuries treated at Northdale Hospital, a doctor asked him to get a form from the police station for the doctor to fill in so he could open a case. But an officer at the station refused to give him the form after hearing his story.

“The police officer said his colleagues, who were looking for car thieves, told him that my attack was a mistake. He refused to give me the J88 [form],” Giya said.

It was only after Giya took the matter to the department’s complaint management division that Mountain Rise police were forced to open the case.

“After having opened the case, I received a call from S. Singh, who said he was the investigating officer. He asked me to get my witness ready. But on July 30, Singh told me that the case had been withdrawn on July 15,” said Giya.

Jeevan said: “A case of assault … is being investigated. The complainant has recourse in terms of civil procedure and is at liberty to institute civil proceedings against the SAPS.”

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