Mmegi Online :: Maun man sues police over 'Snake Woman' saga
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Last Updated
Friday 16 November 2018, 13:42 pm.
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Maun man sues police over 'Snake Woman' saga

An unemployed man of Maun has instituted a legal claim against the Botswana Police Service (BPS) for allegedly being brutally and unlawfully assaulted by the police using a knobkerrie.
By Lebogang Mosikare Thu 01 Mar 2018, 10:13 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Maun man sues police over 'Snake Woman' saga








In his amended declaration, the plaintiff, Patrick Morolong said that on November 15, 2011 at Boseja ward in Maun, he was accosted by members of BPS among them constable Lysoon Tshipiesele, who were acting within their scope of employment.

Morolong said that during the time of the assault, there were allegations that a woman’s body had partly transformed into a snake at her Boseja residence. 

Although the incident was totally untrue and was vehemently refuted by the police then, the woman’s plight went viral on social media with some people creating memes showing her body changing into a snake.

Morolong said that approximately five members of the BPS assaulted him.  He said that when the assault happened he was just 800 metres away her (alleged snake woman) yard.   

 “… At the time of first incident of assault, the plaintiff’s acquaintance’s car was stuck on top of a gravel stone and he was busy outside the car assisting to release it from the stone.

The plaintiff was then loaded into a police Land Cruiser by Tshipiesele and his colleagues and taken to the snake woman’s yard whereupon arrival they were forcefully transferred into a department of immigration truck, which then was used by the police.  He was again unlawfully assaulted by a number of police officers with a knobkerrie all over his body,” reads part of Morolong’s amended declaration.

Morolong said that the unlawful police assault continued on for an hour after he and other people were forcefully loaded into the truck before they were taken to the charge office where he was kept until about midnight. 

The plaintiff said the first assault incident was broadcast on Botswana Television (Btv) news bulletin, which led him to lose his dignity and reputation.

“By reason of the aforegoing reasons, the plaintiff suffered damages in the sum of P80,000 being P40,000 for pain and suffering as a result of the unlawful assault, P30,000 for loss of

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dignity and P10,000 for unlawful arrest and detention.  The plaintiff is also praying for cost of the suit and further or alternative relief,” Morolong said.

In its plea, the BPS, represented by the Attorney General (AG), vehemently denies some of the allegations raised by Morolong.

The AG said Tshipiesele and other police officers cited in the lawsuit are public officers who ought to have been served with papers, which were also supposed to be addressed to them.

“To the extent that the summons were not served on them, the summons lapsed and is an irregularity.  The defendants are however aware of the alleged incident and deny that the plaintiff was unlawfully assaulted. The defendants aver that the actions of the police on the plaintiff were justified and lawful,” defendants’ plea said.

The plea added: “The defendants aver that the plaintiff and other members of the community were within the area that was barricaded by the police. They continuously ignored police orders to evacuate the area. They were also uncooperative and violent towards the police. The action taken by the police was justified and lawful in order to protect the life of another person.”

The plaintiff’s conduct, according to the plea, was unlawful and hindered the police from executing their duties.

“The defendants further aver that they are not liable to the plaintiff’s unlawful arrest, detention and any damages he suffered. The injuries sustained by the plaintiff happened while members of the police were executing their duties. The police defended themselves against unjustified assaults from the plaintiff and other members of the public who were uncooperative to the police,” the AG said.

Finally, the defendants aver that, “In the alternative and without conceding, the amount claimed by the plaintiff is too exorbitant and unjustified”.

The defendants therefore pray for the plaintiff’s claims to be dismissed with costs.

The matter, which is before Justice Lot Moroka, will be argued on March 5, 2018.

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