Nkunga v The Attorney General 2010 (1) BLR 342 (HC)

Headnote: The plaintiff was a security guard who manned the front gate of the Botswana Power Corporation Training Centre. A number of police officers proceeded through the the gate without stopping and registering the necessary particulars, as required by the security procedures at the gate. When the plaintiff insisted that they comply with the procedures, they assaulted him by strangling him, pushing him to the ground and beating him up. After assaulting him, they arrested him on a charge of common nuisance and detained him for a day. The plaintiff instituted action for damages for assault and for wrongful arrest and detention. In defence of the action, the defendant gave a completely different account of events at the front gate. Held: (1) On the evidence, the plaintiff had established that the assault was deliberate and unlawful. (2) Further, the arresting officer had no reasonable grounds for suspecting that the plaintiff had committed the offence of common nuisance and his arrest and subsequent detention were consequently unlawful. (3) During the assault, the plaintiff sustained injuries from his head to thigh regions. He was examined by a doctor three days later but the doctor considered it unnecessary to prescribe any treatment or medication for his injuries. In the circumstances, an appropriate award of damages for the assault was an amount of P7 500. Mosaninda v The Attorney-General [1994] B.L.R. 411 considered. (4) The plaintiff was detained for less than 24 hours, he received an apology from the station commander and there were no aggravating features that appeared from the evidence. In the circumstances, an appropriate award of damages for the unlawful arrest and detention was an amount of P7 500. Tlharesegolo v The Attorney-General [2001] 2 B.L.R. 730, Mosaninda v The Attorney-General [1994] B.L.R. 411, Onkabetse v The Attorney-General and E Others [1989] B.L.R. 120 and Kebafetotse v The Attorney-General [2004] 1 B.L.R. 419 considered.

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