A pensioner who was arrested and kept in custody for three days after he shot dead a drunk man who viciously assaulted him while he was on patrol in his neighbourhood has been awarded R100 000 damages.
Judge Aubrey Ledwaba in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ordered the police minister not only to pay R100 000 to Gordon Blything, 69, of Strydfontein in Akasia, but also to pay 15.5% interest on the amount dating back to June 2012.
Blything sued the police for damages after an incident in December 2011, while he was performing routine patrol duties for his neighbourhood watch.
During his patrol he encountered a commotion near his neighbour’s property, where a suspicious and intoxicated person was shouting at his neighbour.
When he confronted the man he was viciously assaulted and fired a shot in self-defence at his attacker, who died as a result.
When an ambulance arrived at the scene the police promised to take Blything to hospital, as it was feared that he might have a heart attack, but instead took him to the Rosslyn police station.
Despite further assurances, he was not taken for treatment, but transferred to the Soshanguve police station, where he was detained for two days before he was released without being charged.
Blything said in court papers the police knew he was not guilty of any offence and could immediately have verified that he was a property owner with strong ties in the area who did not pose a flight risk.
He maintained his arrest and detention had been irrational, unreasonable and unlawful in view of other methods available to the police to ensure his attendance at court.
According to a psychological report, Blything became chronically anxious and defensive after the incident and still lived in what he perceived to be a hostile environment. He still needed counselling.