Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Man sues cops over loss of vision

17 August 2010, 09:11

Blind in one eye since childhood, a Khutsong man claims he lost his good eye due to a rubber bullet fired during disturbances in the township near Carletonville.

Judas Skhabela, 44, is claiming more than R3.3 million in damages from the police because he says he was watching a township march when police fired rubber bullets, one of which penetrated his healthy eye, leaving him completely blind.

He told the Pretoria High Court on Monday that he had hid behind a wall when the shooting started.

He peeped out from behind the wall to see what was happening. As he did so for the third time, something hit his healthy eye.

At the time, he did not know what it was. But nearly a year later, when he "coughed up the rubber point of a bullet through his nose", he realised the cause of his misery.

Skhabela had the bullet point or "ball", as he called it, in court to show to Judge James Goodey.

The police denied they had shot at Skhabela and said he might have been injured by a stone thrown by one of the people in the crowd or a piece of glass. But Skhabela maintained it was a rubber bullet.

It came out of his nose when he coughed. His wife was present and she could testify to it, he said.

The projectile fired by the police from a nearby hippo vehicle penetrated his eye socket, he insisted.

Counsel for the police, advocate Ismail Hussain SC, pointed out to him that no doctor, nor two X-rays taken of his head, revealed any foreign object stuck inside him.

Skhabela's ordeal started on November 3, 2005 when he and other protesters marched against Khutsong's incorporation into the North West.

When the crowd gathered outside the local police station, the police, without warning, fired at them, he testified.

The crowd scattered and he took cover behind a wall. He wanted to see what was going on, so he peeped over the wall until he was "shot" in the eye.

Hussain told Skhabela that if he was sitting behind the wall "minding his own business", this wouldn't have happened.

Hussain said that experts who had fired shots into the skull of a dead sheep as an experiment, proved the bullet had gone through the animal's brain.

"If you were shot from this distance, the bullet would have penetrated your skull and you would probably have been dead," the advocate said.

The case continues.

This article was originally published on page 2 of The Star on August 17, 2010

The Star

Comments by Sonny

A far fetched story if ever we heard one!

Skhabela obviously wants to make some easy cash, other than playing the Lotto!

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