THE legal team for the Kamesh mother whose son was gunned down by the police in June 2010 when she asked them to talk to him about his drinking, told the court the police should pay unprecedented damages for pain and suffering.
The court heard how 10 police reservists from the Kamesh police station accompanied Jacoline Maart to her house where they cornered the 17-year-old and shot him in the head after he tried to run away.
Maart, who is suing the police for R2.5-million in damages, carries a heavy burden of guilt, blaming herself for having her son "murdered”.
Maart now suffers from a number of psychiatric disorders and her days are haunted by visions of her son, Angelo, being shot and killed.
Advocate Pieter Mouton, who is representing Maart, said the police had already agreed to pay Angelo’s funeral costs and her past and future medical expenses. He asked the Port Elizabeth High court to take into account evidence by psychiatrist Professor Toviah Zabow and psychologist Ian Meyer that Maart’s chances of ever working again were slim.
He also said that he and his junior counsel, Nicola Barnard, could not find any precedent case to guide the court in what amount of damages to order for pain and suffering.
"Maart’s son was shot in the back of the head while he was running away from the police. They shot her son right in front of her. He died right there in her presence,” Mouton said. He asked that the court award Maart about R400 000 alone in damages for pain and suffering. Advocate Paul Jooste, for the police, said he agreed the case was indefensible on the merits, but said the court should remember Maart could only receive compensation for the "psychiatric damage” she suffered due to the incident.
"Bereavement and loss of a loved one is a sad fact of life,” he said.
He referred the court to another case where a mother who saw her son being killed when he ran in front of a truck received the equivalent of R125 000 in general damages from the court after she became a complete recluse because of the trauma suffered.
He said that due to the extremely high rate of unemployment in the Eastern Cape, there was a good chance that Maart would have been out of a job in any event had the incident not happened.
At the time of the incident, Maart worked as a packer at Cash & Carry.
She was unable to work following her son’s death.
Judge Glenn Goosen reserved judgment.