An inmate at the Mariental Correctional Facility is claiming N$650 000 in damages from the Minister of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security for an assault that left him unable to get an erection.
According to Wilfred Rooi, he was kicked on his private parts by a correctional officer – Joseph Jerobeam - during an assault on him on 14 March 2021, which damaged his essentials. He said to this day, he still feels uncomfortable in that part of his anatomy.
Rooi said in the High Court that he was granted permission by a certain CO1 Mbuale to go to the B-section to have a haircut. When he got there, the person cutting hair was busy with another inmate, and asked him to wait. While waiting, he joined other inmates who were playing mini-soccer in the courtyard.
Officer Jerobeam then came and asked him why he was playing soccer in a section he did not belong in. The plaintiff claimed that he explained to Jerobeam that he did not come there to play soccer, but to get a haircut and while waiting for his turn, he asked to stand in for an injured player. He said Jerobeam did not want to listen, and just insulted him by using vulgar language. After this, Rooi said, he went to another inmate to get him to shave his head, but Jerobeam grabbed him by force and pushed him violently into the exit corridor of that section. He then asked Jerobeam why he was so stressed, to which the latter replied ‘don’t ask me questions’, pushed him against the door and down the stairs, and kicked him directly on the testicles.
“At that time, I had just been circumcised. I held my testicles, as I felt severe pain and shock. I asked him why he kicked me while I was fully co-operating with him, but he shouted at me, saying I am still talking, and slammed the door, locked it and approached me. Then he violently unleashed fists on me. I dodged it, and he slapped me again after I dodged the second slap,” Rooi said in a statement provided to court. He went on to say: “Since I dodged the second slap while now lofting my head, he took a baton and hit me twice on the forehead. Blood came out gushing all over my face. I felt dizzy, and then lost balance and fainted. Jerobeam continued in a rage to unlawfully, wrongly and intentionally assault me by kicking and beating me.”
Jerobeam denied the allegations, and said he only defended himself against an attack by Rooi. The plaintiff was thus injured in the process. According to the officer, he found Rooi in an unauthorised area playing soccer, and asked him (Rooi) to vacate the area, but Rooi ignored him. He further said Rooi became unruly, prompting him to remove him from that area.
Rooi then pushed him, and in an attempt to stop the unlawful attack, he blocked the attack with a “tonfa”, in the process injuring him on the forehead. Contrary to Rooi’s assertions, the officer was adamant that he took the inmate to the clinic immediately when he saw that he was injured. He was treated, and later referred to the Mariental State Hospital, and also allowed to open a case of assault against the officer.
Rooi, on the other hand, claimed that after the assault, he was left “haplessly” in the corridor until another officer came to his rescue, and took him to a clinic. Jerobeam made this off as utter lies and fabrications. He further denied that he hit Rooi on the forehead with a baton, saying if he did that, he would now be facing murder charges.
The minister is joined in the lawsuit by chief of the correctional services Raphael Hamunyela, and Jerobeam.
The matter is being heard by Windhoek High Court Judge Eileen Rakow. Rooi is represented by Illeni Velikoshi, and the respondents by a lawyer from the Government Attorneys, Giant Kaurivi. -firstname.lastname@example.org