The Windhoek High Court has ordered the safety and security ministry to pay an inmate N$50 000 for an assault that left him unable to get an erection. The assault took place at the Mariental Correctional Facility in May 2021.
Judge Eileen Rakow last week said although there is no medical evidence that Wilfred Rooi lost his ability to get an erection due to the assault, correctional officer Joseph Jerobeam during the hearing admitted he assaulted him with a tonfa.
“The court, therefore, accepts that the plaintiff was injured by the third defendant (Jerobeam). In listening to both versions, the court is not satisfied that the third defendant’s means to ward off an attack was justified by using tonfa in the circumstances,” said Rakow.
Before granting Rooi an award of N$50 000 for the injuries he sustained as a result of the assault, Rakow said he failed to provide the court with a damages affidavit, medical report or psychological report to substantiate his claim.
Thus, the general award of N$50 000 for damages will suffice.
Rooi claims Jerobeam kicked him on his private parts during an assault on him on 14 March 2021, which damaged his genitals. He said, to this day, he still feels uncomfortable on that part of his body.
Rooi said 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 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 instead insulted him, 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.
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
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.
He was also allowed to open a case of assault against the officer.