Armed robbery suspect loses P3m lawsuit against state

23 Aug 2018

An armed robbery suspect Adolf Mogorosi who was shot twice on the leg and abdomen by the police has lost his legal suit in which he was demanding more than P3 million from the Botswana Police Service for unlawful arrest and wrongful detention.

Mogorosi was suing the state for P2 million worth of medical expenses, P100, 000 damages for wrongful arrest and another 100,000 for wrongful detention.

Mogorosi also demanded P 200 000.00 for damages in pain, and P500, 000 for permanent disability and loss of life amenities and P 100, 000 for loss of past and future earning capacity.

Commissioner of Police Keabetswe Makgophe was cited as first Defendant, Constable Lekgopo as second defendant, and Constable Solomon as third defendant and Attorney General as fourth defendant.

According to court papers on the 16th January 2014, while travelling as a passenger, Mogorosi and other passengers were stopped by the police near Mokolodi farm around 1400 hours.

He was shot by the police officers on the lower abdomen as well as on the right leg and subsequently admitted at Princess Marina Hospital before being discharged on the February, 7th 2014.

The defense team said Mogorosi tried to escape into the bush while stopped by the police after a tip off by an un-named informant to the effect that a certain Michael Soke who was wanted by the police had been seen in a grey Volvo registered B 694 ATR headed towards Lobatse. Soke was a suspect in armed robbery in Mochudi.

When delivering her judgment, Justice Tshweneyagae said the question one keeps asking oneself is why would the plaintiff (Mogorosi) run into the bush and even jump up the barrier fence when his compatriots remained still as ordered by the police.

She said Mogorosi’s conduct would make one believe that he was up to no good. If he had nothing to hide, there was no reason for him to run into the bushes. His evidence that he did not run remains unsupported as he did not call any of the other persons he was with to corroborate his evidence that he was shot whilst standing still.

 The judge said his compatriots who remained still were not harmed and it therefore makes sense in her view that the suspect was shot whilst he had run out and jumped the barrier fence.

“I am also satisfied by the evidence of Constable Solomon that he fired a warning shot to try and make Mogorosi surrender but kept advancing towards the police officer with a knife. The police then shot at him as a self defense,” said Tshweneyagae  

She said the positioning of the injury itself that is below the knee and on the abdomen indicates that the suspect was facing the direction of the police officer. She said the amount of force used in self defense by the police was reasonable as the suspect kept advancing with a knife and the only way to stop him was to use the weapon that constable Solomon had, which he had hoped would make the suspect surrender.

“In the circumstances it is my finding that the shooting was lawful and the amount of force was reasonable,” said Tshweneyagae

The sate was represented by Neo Sharp while the Mogorosi was represented by Gosego Lekgowe.