Bogadi Ramatlapeng, the woman who in 2000 was beaten and injured by a teacher, yesterday asked the Court of Appeal (CoA) to throw out government’s appeal on her P1.2 million compensation.
Justice Lot Moroka of Lobatse High Court awarded Ramatlapeng P1.2 million compensation in 2012, being the amount demanded as compensation plus 10 percent interest. However government appealed the judgment.
Ramatlapeng countered government’s appeal through her attorney Tumisang Dow who argued the High Court had every right to award her compensation as she was left with permanent injuries and disfigurement in her hand. “The injury was sustained at the hands of the teacher during the course and scope of his employment.
“The injury also resulted in my client being permanently disfigured in her right hand with the result she is unable to function properly, ” he said.
Dow said it was important for the court to note that the government should not deny liability and any wrongdoing in the case, especially after pursuing criminal proceedings against the teacher.
He submitted that it was an unfortunate situation now that the government finds and denies any liability when they failed to challenge the findings and evidence presented at the trial court.
“How can the government, after pursuing criminal proceedings against the teacher for the incident now deny any wrongdoing? What does a child in such circumstances have to do to see that justice is done,” he asked.
Dow further said the trial court made its findings based on the oral and admitted documentary evidence before it.
He added the evidence was found to be credible and even went unchallenged as a result of the government’s failure to attend the trial.
“It is our submission now that the court should consider the totality of the evidence before the court a quo and the circumstance of the case.
“Firstly the court should determine if at all it should interfere with the court a quo’s exercise of its discretion and secondly, if it does find that it should alter the award, what would be considered as a reasonable damages award,” he said.
He lastly submitted that none of the grounds of appeal filed by government had any merit and subsequently the appeal deserved dismissal with costs.
However earlier on the state, represented by Julia Mokoti had submitted the amount awarded was too excessive, more so that it did not have any reason to admit liability in the matter.
She said government had denied any liability in the matter, as there was no evidence to even prove the intensity of the case. “The court a quo erred in awarding the damages and we do not even know what assessment was made in arriving at the figures”, she said.
Mokoti said the P400,000 awarded for pain and suffering was just too high and that it did not address the nature of injuries sustained by the victim.
“The amount was not really justified looking at the injuries sustained. At least P100,000 should have been awarded”, she said. She further submitted that the P700,000 award for permanent injury and disfigurement was not justifiable, as the injury did not deprive the victim enjoyment of life. That statement however invited the ire of one of the judges who felt Mokoti was being insensitive, as Ramatlapeng had become disabled from the beating. The court will issue judgment on February 5.