State agrees to pay

2015-02-10 00:00

A HOWICK man will be paid R70 000 by the state as compensation for being unlawfully arrested at a police roadblock in November 2009.

Keegan Horn was also illegally ­detained in police cells at Howick for two days.

Horn alleged in court papers that he was assaulted by police at the time of his arrest, but the allegation was denied on behalf of the police.

The police in turn claimed Horn had assaulted a police officer.

Horn initially claimed damages totalling R200 000 for unlawful assault, arrest and detention.

But during talks at the Pietermaritzburg high court yesterday, the minister of Safety and Security, as the employer of the police who arrested and detained Horn, agreed to pay R70 000.

The settlement was made an order of court.

Attempts to reach Horn for comment yesterday were unsuccessful.

His attorney, Christina Sunkerpersad of Subhash Maikoo & Associates, said Horn did not want to comment personally. She was also not at liberty to discuss the terms of the settlement.

However, she said Horn was very happy with the outcome.

“The case highlights the brutality and unlawful actions of the police and our client is happy that justice has­ prevailed,” she said.

She confirmed that Horn was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped at a police roadblock aimed at checking for drunk drivers.

The driver was allegedly taken to the police station for tests, while Horn and the other passengers waited at the roadside for close to an hour.

When he questioned police about the long wait, an altercation developed. He was allegedly hit on his nose with a torch and subsequently arrested.

According to the court papers, Horn was illegally detained at Howick police station from November 28 to 30. He was thereafter released without being charged, or appearing in court.

In replying papers in the court file the police denied “all allegations of ­assault and abuse” and maintained that Horn was arrested for assaulting a police officer.

Meanwhile, in another case in the Pietermaritzburg high court, the family of a South Coast man, Perumal Pillay — who has since died, is proceeding with an application to claim damages of around R30 million on his behalf.

The claim against the minister of ­Police and Warrant Officer J. Koegelenberg, is for Pillay’s alleged unlawful ­arrest on fraud charges, as well as his unlawful detention from June 17, 2010, until June 20, 2011, when a high court judge ordered his release.

All criminal charges were withdrawn against him at Port Shepstone regional court on November 11, 2011.

Lawyers representing Pillay have submitted that Judge Philip Nkosi’s ­ruling on June 20, 2011, that Pillay’s ­arrest and detention was illegal, is ­binding in the present case.

Advocate Fazal Moola SC urged Judge Isaac Madondo yesterday to find that the only outstanding issue that ­remains to be decided in the present application is the amount of damages payable.

However, the state is disputing this and wants Madondo to rule that police are entitled to lead evidence to defend the damages claim, despite Nkosi’s ­earlier judgment.

Madondo will give a ruling in the matter today.

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