Prisoner hid 'powdered milk' in his rectum

22 May 2019 | Justice

A Windhoek prisoner is suing the ministry of safety and security and a police officer for N$250 000 in damages on the basis that he was unfairly arrested after prison-issued powdered milk was mistaken for cocaine.

Bernardus Khariseb's lawsuit is based on a claim that he was unlawfully arrested without a warrant at the Windhoek prison on 4 February 2018. He was charged with possession of cocaine despite his explanations that the substance was powdered milk issued to him earlier that day to put in tea or coffee.

Khariseb (39) further argues there was no reason to suspect him of being in possession of contraband.

Khariseb said the drugs charge was withdrawn on 23 May after a forensic analysis found that the sample in his possession was “not cocaine”.

He claims his arrest was “wrongful, unlawful and not justifiable under the circumstances”.

The two defendants in the case, including a “Sergeant Geiriseb”, denied that an unlawful and unjust arrest took place.

In a plea filed earlier this year, they stated that Khariseb had been caught with contraband hidden in his rectum.

They did not dispute that the case was withdrawn due to lack of evidence in May 2018.

They stated that Khariseb had acted suspiciously during a routine body search conducted by correctional service officers following his return from a court appearance in February.

A subsequent X-ray detected “two bullet-like objects concealed and stuck in his rectum”.

They said Khariseb was put in “isolated detention” for two or three days so that prison officials could closely monitor him and recover the objects.

They noted that “bullet-shaped plastic wrapped objects” are a common way of smuggling contraband into prisons and that in this case, the packets were marked with an inscription in blue ink that read 'cocaine'.

They further claimed that Khariseb had admitted the substance found in his body was cocaine.

“Nothing was done arbitrarily, irrationally or in bad faith,” they stated in the plea.

Further, they denied that the second defendant, “Sergeant Geiriseb” had conducted the body search. In fact, Khariseb was arrested by another constable from the drug law enforcement unit days after the initial search.

On 16 May High Court Judge Hannelie Prinsloo ordered the parties to attend mediation proceedings on 26 June.

Mkhululi Khupe is appearing on behalf of the State and the second defendant, while Khariseb is represented by Gert Appolus.

JANA-MARI SMITH

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