A teacher who spent more than a 12 months in custody after being falsely accused of raping a baby has been awarded more than R1.6m in damages.
In his civil case against the minister of police and the national director of public prosecutions, Patrick Buthelezi region out in graphic ingredient the experiences which he encountered while incarcerated — no longer least of which used to be his terror that his fellow inmates would stare he used to be the one accused of raping the nine-12 months-former.
This after a newspaper article chanced on its intention into his cell and used to be learn aloud. It gave information of the case but did no longer mention him by name.
“It angered them,” Buthelezi said in his assertion to court docket. “They referred to the perpetrator as a madman and a dog who needs to be stabbed.”
Buthelezi handed himself over to police in November 2011 after the nine-12 months-former at the Umlazi college where he taught claimed he had sexually assaulted her. He used to be denied bail.
He used to be freed 13 months later after it emerged the baby had been crushed by her aunt before she pointed a finger at him.
Most tellingly, he used to be exonerated by DNA proof.
At his civil trial, which determined the advise respondents had been at menace of pay him damages, it emerged that both the investigating officer and the prosecutor had boosted the case against him during his bail utility, and had withheld certain information.
Handing down judgment in that topic in 2019, Durban high court docket think Mahendra Chetty said Buthelezi had been “sacrificed” to meet the have to form an early arrest and sustain the wrongdoer behind bars, no topic the paucity of proof against him, even at the time of his bail utility.
This week, Chetty made the damages award.
In his ruling, he said it used to be no longer disputed that Buthelezi had spent 388 days in jail, during which time he appeared in court docket 22 instances till his eventual acquittal.
His case bought a lot media publicity.
In Buthelezi’s assertion regarding stipulations in Westville Jail, he said modern inmates had been forced to take their safety from abuse by supplying “senior” inmates with cigarettes and cell phone airtime.
He used to be forced to pay R600 for a clear bed, sheets and sponge to scrub himself.
Chetty said: “The crowd culture used to be evident in the hierarchy of prisoners. He witnessed stabbings and sexual assaults.”
After his free up, Buthelezi consulted a clinical psychologist who concluded he had experienced pains, terror and disgrace and continued to beget flashbacks.
He used to be recognized with post-anxious stress dysfunction, and in 2013 used to be admitted to sanatorium for 10 days for therapy for depression.
“After his free up, he used to be barely ready to sleep and loads instances cried,” Chetty said.
Buthelezi said while he used to be abet teaching, another folks mute introduced up the charges. He said in a extensive measure “it has scarred him for life” even supposing he continues to coach in Isidingo, has since been appointed deputy principal and used to be the treasurer of an educare centre.
Chetty said Buthelezi had no in unfortunate health-feelings in opposition to the baby who falsely implicated him and had forgiven her.
The advise respondents did no longer call any witnesses.
Chetty, when assessing what damages needs to be awarded, said it will in all probability well perhaps appear Buthelezi had been saved with inmates who had been serving classes of imprisonment instead of in the awaiting trial allotment, resulting in him being uncovered to gang culture and violence.
His detention used to be due to substandard motives, in particular by the investigating officer.
“The stigma of having been arrested and tried for rape of a minor remains as a everlasting stain on his character, with his acquittal seemingly relegated to insignificance.
“The starting point is that no one needs to be disadvantaged of their liberty without sincere region off. It’s miles a foundational price of our constitutional system.”
The think said there used to be no formula or “flat day-to-day charge” when determining damages. In this topic, he took into consideration the scale of time Buthelezi spent behind bars, his space as a qualified educator, the exposure given to his arrest, and the humiliation he suffered.
He ordered the advise respondents pay him R1,668,592 for overall damages and loss of income, and his merely prices.
TimesLIVE (TMG Digital)
BY TANIA BROUGHTON