The 16-year-old, who was never supposed to be in that prison hospital cell in the first place, subsequently suffered a mental breakdown, left school and needed psychiatric care, reported The Mercury.
The State is now being sued for R1.5m by lawyers for the Centre for Child Law who hope to highlight the plight of children detained after being accused of petty crimes.
The teen had originally been caught shoplifting a pair of R49 shorts from Woolworths and had been cautioned and discharged for it but didn’t appear at a subsequent court hearing.
His mother explained that he was too embarrassed to appear because he had been shaving his head when the power cut out and his head was only half-shaved.
An order for his arrest was issued and he was then sent to a prison where those convicted of serious crimes were held. He fell ill and was moved to a hospital prison cell where he was sodomised.
“He was 16 and he could have been placed in the care of his parent or guardian. And it destroyed his life,” said attorney Morgan Courtenay.
Doctors said his prognosis for recovery from psychological trauma was poor and he was not able to consult with his lawyers or testify in court.