One night in jail costs police R500 000: woman's traumatic experience

One night in jail costs police R500 000: woman's traumatic experience

- Lesedi Malatsi was pulled over and arrested by plain-clothes policemen in 2013 after she refused to stop

- She spent 13 hours in a jail cell, and instituted damages against the police minister

- The minister failed to respond to her claim, and she won the case by default

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The police minister has been ordered to pay R500 000 damages to a Pretoria woman who was locked up in a police cell for 13 hours.

Lesedi Malatsi, 37, of The Orchards in Pretoria, instituted a damages claim against the minister after her ordeal in July, 2013, when she was too afraid to stop after being ordered by plain-clothes policemen to do so.

It started when she and her sister were driving home from Steve Biko Hospital at 3am, when she stopped at a traffic light in Nelson Mandela Drive.

A police van stopped next to her and the occupants, in plain-clothes, signalled for her to stop, Briefly.co.za learned.

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Fearing for her safety and suspecting that the men might not be genuine police officers, Malatsi refused to stop.

She skipped a few traffic lights while being chased by the police and eventually stopped at a filling station in Centurion.

The police then pointed firearms at the terrified women. Malatsi was charged with reckless and negligent driving and locked in a cell until the next afternoon.

The charges against her were withdrawn, but Malatsi alleged the incident had robbed her of her constitutional right to freedom of movement and human dignity.

A psychiatrist reported Malatsi was shocked and traumatised, particularly because she was chased at night.

She feared for her life during her arrest and while being detained in a filthy cell, full of criminals.

She suffered from anxiety attacks and headaches, battled to sleep, was short-tempered, had flashbacks of the incident, resented the police, and avoided the spot where her car was chased by the police.

Her psychiatrist said she could benefit from counselling and medication.

The court granted default judgment in Malatsi’s favour after the minister failed to oppose the claim.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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