It took nine years but Kaylan Chetty persevered and was recently awarded R4.5 million for damages and legal costs.
Durban – Nine years ago, Kaylan Chetty, of Shallcross, had started the legal process to sue the minister of police for his unlawful arrest. He was recently awarded R4.5 million for damages and legal costs.
Chetty was arrested at his home on April, 26, 2011, by two policemen from the Durban Flying Squad. His hands were bound with cable ties and he was taken to the Silverglen Nature Reserve in Chatsworth, on suspicions that he was a drug dealer.
While there, Chetty, who was 24 at the time and a car salesman, said in court papers that he was “viciously assaulted” on his head and other parts of his body. He said he was also suffocated with a plastic tube.
As a result, he sustained injuries to his ribs, bleeding of the left ear, abrasions, underlying swelling to various parts of his body, scarring and disfigurement as well as chronic subdural haematoma on his left side. This is an abnormal collection of blood outside a blood vessel.
Chetty said the policemen tried to detain him at Bellair police station. He said they told a colleague at the station that he fell and injured his head. Chetty said the colleague refused to detain him and the charge was subsequently withdrawn.
The colleague called the paramedics and Chetty was taken to the RK Khan Hospital. He underwent multiple surgeries and was referred to the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital for specialised care.
Dr Reggie Perumal, a private forensic pathologist, examined Chetty and diagnosed him with a severe head injury.
Chetty, represented by advocate Ryan Naidu and attorney Ajith Sevraj, sued the minister for R8.8 million. He said he suffered and continued to suffer pain, confusion, disorientation and a change in behaviour.
Chetty said he had become aggressive and agitated and suffered from insomnia, memory loss and depression and was often suicidal. He said he was also unable to secure gainful employment and was on chronic medication.
Chetty, now 32, sued for the damages suffered. These included hospital expenses, future medical expenses, loss of earnings, future loss of earnings, pain and suffering, and permanent disability.
The minister at the time was represented by advocate Zuleka Rasool, who opposed the claim.
During the trial in the Durban High Court last month, Naidu called Chetty’s wife and an industrial psychologist to testify on his mental well-being.
Busi Bepu, the industrial psychologist, testified on his future employment prospects after the injuries he sustained. She said Chetty would not be able to return to work as a car salesman.
Chetty’s wife, Miranda, testified on his behaviour after the incident and how the injury affected him as a husband as well as a father to his four children.
Professor Theo Lazarus, a neuropsychologist, also testified on Chetty’s cognitive fallout. He said Chetty continued to suffer from moodiness, irritability, short temper and loss of memory, to the extent that he would never be able to work again.
Naidu said the policemen caused such irreparable harm to Chetty that he had undergone a personality change.
“The injuries sustained had rendered him with a personality that suffers from amnesia and headaches to the point that he is not the same person he was before the accident,” said Naidu.
Judge Gregory Kruger accepted that Chetty had sustained a severe head injury as a result of the assault. He granted R4.5m for damages, together with any and all legal costs incurred.
A curator bonis, which was granted in September last year, will help handle Chetty’s funds.
Miranda said: “I am glad it is finally over. It has been a long journey.”
Blessed Gwala, the IFP spoksperson for community safety and liaison in the KZN Legislature, recently said KZN police have spent R340 561 048 in settling claims relating to 13 416 wrongful arrests between January 2014 and October 31 last year.