A man who tried to sue the State for unlawful detention and malicious prosecution, Mothusi Chibane, has had his P800k claim thrown out by Chief Justice Terrence Rannowane in a brief judgement that lasted no more than five minutes last Thursday.
Chibane was demanding compensation for his arrest and prosecution in January 2014 after police found him in possession of seven bags of wheat along the Trans-Kalahari Highway near Lobatse.
He said that he told the police that he bought the wheat from a South Africa-bound trucker who was stuck after he ran out of diesel.
On the other hand, the police argued that he failed to produce a receipt to prove clean ownership of the bags and they charged him with an offence of being in possession of stolen goods.
He said that he was detained at Lobatse Police Station for a night and released the following day.
Six months later he was prosecuted at the Lobatse Magistrates’ Court.
He was acquitted of the charge and he then approached the High Court to seek compensation for the arrest and prosecution.
Chibane argued that a receipt is not the only valid proof of ownership, hence the police argument was misplaced.
“You have failed to prove that you lost P250.000.00 as a result of your arrest. You also failed to prove that you lost P300.000.00 as a result of Malicious Prosecution,” said the Chief Justice.
He added that Chibane also failed to justify the additional P300.000.00 claim for trauma.
However, the senior judge was considerate of the man’s loss of bags of wheat which decayed in the custody of the police.
He therefore, ordered that the State should compensate him for the 550kg of wheat at the current market price.
He also spared the parties from paying the costs of the trial.