A Pretoria artisan who cannot work after he was severely assaulted in police custody has been granted leave to go ahead with his R2.5 million damages claim against the police minister.
The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria granted condonation to Jacques Trollip, a 41-year-old former joiner of Kameeldrift, for the late filing of his claim against the minister and the director of public prosecutions.
Trollip’s ordeal began in October 2010 when he went to pick up his employees in Giyani and stopped next to the road so they could gather wood. While they were in the veld, armed Giyani residents accused them of stock theft and ordered the workers to accompany them to their chief.
Trollip said in court papers the residents assaulted him and his workers until the police arrived, arrested them for stock theft and took them to the police station. Trollip and his workers were put in separate cells, allegedly without their rights being explained to them or being given a chance to contact an attorney.
Trollip said he became ill in custody, was assaulted by other detainees and had to pay police officers to bring him food. Bail was refused when he appeared in court three days later because the prosecutor needed to confirm his address.
When the case was postponed, he was returned to the cell where he again fell ill, was assaulted by other detainees and had to pay the police for food. He was released on bail 10 days after his arrest and the case was withdrawn eight months later.
Trollip said he sustained several injuries while in detention, including a serious back injury resulting in him no longer being able to work as a joiner and losing his business.
He is suing the police and director of public prosecutions for his alleged unlawful arrest, assault, malicious prosecution, loss of income and medical costs.