FORMER Lerotholi Polytechnic student, Hareteke Matobo, is suing the Police Commissioner, Officer Commanding Thamae Police and Attorney General, for M50 000.
Matobo (25) was arrested for suspected housebreaking and theft three years ago, and claims he was assaulted while in police custody, hence the lawsuit for “pain and suffering”.
Matobo on Tuesday this week told High Court judge, Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi how he was assaulted by Thamae police officers in September 2011, after being accused of burgling a Qoaling home and stealing a laptop.
He told the court he was also renting a house in the same area as he was pursuing his studies at the Lerotholi Polytechnic.
“On the night of 14 September 2011, four police officers came to my residence and told me that I was suspected of stealing a laptop at a certain residence in the same area.
“I was taken to Thamae Police Station together with three other young men who also stayed in Qoaling. They locked us in a cell.
“During the night, the police drove me out of the cell and took me to another room where they told me to retrieve the laptop I had stolen.
“They started assaulting me with a rod when I told them that I knew nothing about the laptop they were talking about.
“They assaulted me all over the body and ended up injuring my knee.
“The assault lasted about 30 minutes and they took me back to the cell to join the other three young men who had been arrested together with me.
“I was released two days later and went to hospital where the doctor examined me,” he said.
But the police, in their court papers, deny ever assaulting Matobo, and ever taking him to Thamae Police station as he claims.
But during the trial, the police and Attorney General’s lawyer, Advocate Tau, said the denial had been a mistake.
However, Justice Monaphathi said Advocate Tau should spare the issue for lawyers’ arguments after all evidence had been led before the court.
On the other hand, Police Constable Hloele admitted Matobo was arrested and detained at Thamae Police Station as he stated but denied he was assaulted.
The case proceeds and Matobo is legally represented by Advocate Metsing Metsing.