Wounded Coin driver sues firm

2010-08-09 00:00

A MAN who was shot and injured while driving an armoured security vehicle along the N3 near Hillcrest in 2005 is suing the Protea Coin Group Pty (Ltd).

He claims that his former employers represented falsely to him that the vehicles he would be required to drive could not be penetrated by bullets.

The court heard evidence that the Lesley Chetty suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after the shooting and resigned from his job in December 2007 out of fear of being shot at once more because the company wanted him to begin driving armoured vehicles again.

Before that he had been allowed to do office work.

Chetty has instituted a damages claim for R267 580 against his former employers, and the company is defending the lawsuit.

Sheldon James, a former operations manager who was allegedly responsible for employing Chetty in 2004, denied in testimony before Judge Fikike Mokgohloa on Friday that he told Chetty that the armoured vehicles would be “bullet- proof”.

James said the armoured vehicles in the fleet that Chetty would have driven would have been bullet-proof only “up to the level of the calibre of an AK47 bullet”.

He explained that there are other types of firearms that use “armour-piercing” ammunition that could penetrate the vehicles.

James also disputed that Chetty was employed specifically as a driver for the company. In the section under his control at the time all crew — numbering three per vehicle — rotated their duties. This meant Chetty would at times have been a driver, a guard or the “bag man” responsible for picking up cash.

According to the particulars of claim, Chetty said he entered into a contract with the Coin company specifically as a driver in March 2004.

He states that in the course of his interview, James informed him that all the vehicles he would be required to drive were “fully armoured” and that no part of the vehicle could be penetrated by bullets fired by any type of gun. He also claims that James informed him that the glass sections of the vehicles were similarly bullet-proof.

On November 16, 2005, while he was transporting cash between Durban and Newcastle, an attempt was made to hijack the vehicle he was driving and he was shot twice through the glass sections.

In a statement describing the shooting, Chetty said he was travelling along the N3 just after the Hillcrest off-ramp when a silver 7 series BMW drove into the back of the armoured vehicle, ramming it in “quick succession”.

He said the BMW moved to the fast lane and drew up alongside and the occupants started shooting at his driver’s side window. Then the BMWbraked and forced him to a standstill. Four people alighted and started shooting through the windscreen, wounding him.

Chetty said he reversed and then “took off”, continuing to drive about two kilometres before he stopped and collapsed.

He was later told the BMW again rammed the van, but police arrived just afterwards.

Legal argument is being heard in the matter.

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