FRANCISTOWN: An inmate prisoner, Kago Monato, who is facing multiple charges of rape, is suing the commissioners of police and prisons for P950,000. According to the plaintiff’s declaration, on December 1 in 2016, he was randomly selected to accompany other inmates from the Francistown Magistrate’s Courts for appearance.
“It must be noted that the plaintiff was not supposed to attend court on that day, but was randomly selected to accompany other inmates. On that day, he left with other inmates from the Francistown Centre For Illegal Immigrants (FCII) to court. The prisoners were transported in a government mini bus from the FCII to court. The mini bus was involved in a tragic accident.
The plaintiff asserts that one of the inmates Gobuamang Ntsuape attacked and choked the driver whilst the driver was at the wheel,” Monato’s attorney Kesegofetse Molosiwa said in his declaration.
Molosiwa added: “Subsequent to that, the driver lost control of the vehicle resulting from being strangled and all passengers in transit including the driver were involved in a car accident. Two of them died after the accident. The plaintiff sustained serious injuries.
He was left neglected without adequate medical attention. He suffered from emotional trauma. To this day, he bears emotional and physical scars resulting from the accident”.
It is our submission, the plaintiff said that, the commissioner of prisons is liable to ensure that transportation of prisoners is safe and secure.
“The commissioner of prisons had an absolute obligation to ensure that all prisoners in transit arrive safely at court and return to prison safely. The prison officials were negligent to transport prisoners and convoluted them in one vehicle. It is our submission that the prison officials were aware of the behavioural character of the attacker and therefore it was imprudent of them to include him in a closed mini bus with other undisruptive inmates,” Molosiwa said.
It is the normal standard and procedure that the public witnesses on a daily basis that convicts are transported in a secure vehicle normally a van, which separates the driver and prisoners and they are firmly guarded by armed military and prison officials, Molosiwa added.
“In the circumstances of this matter the attacker noticed that there was neither security nor a backup plan that aggravated the mind of the attacker to attack the driver. It is our unwarranted risk to transport a malicious convict in one cab, which is a risk to other passengers. The prison officials have failed to exercise due diligence, attention and reasonable care in the present case and to give forethought to this occurrence,” Molosiwa said.
He added: “After the accident occurred and being notified of the consequences and how the accident happened, the commissioner of prisons has not shown compassion and sympathy to the injured including the plaintiff. In the premises, the commissioner of prisons is severally liable for the injuries suffered by the plaintiff,” Molosiwa said.
“We therefore demand P950,000 for general damages, emotional and physical pain and suffering occasioned by the accident. We also demand costs of the suit at attorney and client scale,” Molosiwa said.
In the defendant’s plea, the Attorney General (AG), who is representing the commissioners of prisons and police, said that the plaintiff selected to accompany other inmates to court.
“The plaintiff was released to court as he had informed the authorities that he had a court appearance on that day. The contents herein are denied.
The inmate never choked the driver but swerved the steering wheel of the vehicle on another direction resulting in the accident. The accident was not a result of the driver losing control of the vehicle but as a result of the inmate who swerved the vehicle to a different direction,” the AG said.
The commissioner of police, the AG said, is not liable to the plaintiff in any way and was not negligible since he was not responsible for the transportation of the plaintiff and was not the one who provided the mode of transport used on that day.
“… The prisoners were handcuffed and shackled with leg irons and there were officers who provided security and therefore no risk. The contents herein are denied and the plaintiff is put to proof. The defendants acted in a reasonable manner and were not grossly negligent.
The accident happened as a result of an on remand prisoner, Gobuamang Ntsuape. The defendants or the commissioner of prisons is not liable to the plaintiff’s as he did not suffer damages or injuries at the instance of the defendant,” the AG said.
The alleged instigator of the accident, Ntsuape, is charged with the murder of Sadi Kgosietsile. Kgosietsile allegedly died because Ntsuape burnt the house she was sleeping in with a flammable substance at Block 9 location on September 9, 2016. Ntsuape is also charged with attempting to kill Chief Kgosietsile, Segolame Kgosietsile, Tiro Kgosietsile and his child Maatla Kgosietsile. Additionally, the state alleges that Ntsuape burnt two cars (Mazda and Nissan) belonging to Chief Kgosietsile on that fateful day.