Traumatised mother gets R1.2 million

Police violence in South AfricaNEW LIABILITY: A mother who suffered severe trauma after observing police she had called killing her son has won damages against them in court.

An Eastern Cape supermarket worker was awarded R1.2m in a lawsuit against the police for trauma she suffered after the death of her son at the hands of the police.

The 38-year-old Uitenhage woman had sued for damages in respect of emotional shock and trauma and future loss of income she suffered as a result of the killing of her teenage son in 2010.

Angelo Marconi was shot in the head by a police reservist while resisting arrest. The police had been called on him by his mother after he had threatened her.

According to court documents, Marconi was drunk and had two knives on him with which he threatened to stab the police. He ran, police chased him around the neighbourhood.

Grahamstown judge Glenn Goosen said it was not clear what happened just before the teenager was shot. The judge said that there was evidence that Marconi was shot at close range.

“The shooting occurred in full view of the plaintiff. As a result of observing her son’s death at the hands of the policemen summoned by her, the plaintiff suffered severe trauma.

“It is this shock and emotional trauma which forms the basis of her claim for damages,” oosen said.

Although the police accepted liability and paid for the funeral costs and medical expenses, she eventually lost her job and was deemed by medical experts unemployable for the remainder of her life. She had worked as a clerk at a wholesale outlet for 13 years in Uitenhage. She was forced to take time off on numerous occasions after the incident until she was retrenched in 2011.

“I accept that the plaintiff has established that the likelihood that she will recover sufficiently to re-enter the open labour market and obtain and retain employment for the remainder of her working life is poor.

“I accept therefore that in determining the value of her future loss of earnings it will be appropriate to assume that she will, in consequence of the damage suffered, remain unemployable for the remainder of her life,” the judge said.

In her claim for general damages, the judge found that it was apparent that the injury suffered continued to have a profound effect upon her.

“The pervasive effect of the psychological trauma and its ongoing severely debilitating effect on the plaintiff are undoubtedly related to the particular circumstances giving rise to her loss,” Judge Goosen said.

The police were also ordered to pay for the woman’s legal costs.

QUICK FACTS

  • 2009-10 (7004 lawsuits)
  • 2011-12 (3004 lawsuits)
  • 2009-10 (R89.6m paid in costs)
  • 2011-12 (R135.3m paid in costa)

source: Dudu Dube / The New Age