Jus­ti­ce still e­lu­des boy sa­va­ged by dogs

Knysna-Plett Herald - - Nuus | News - S­te­fan Goo­sen

For an 11-ye­ar-old boy from Set­ho­sa S­treet, Jood­se Kamp in Knys­na who was al­most mau­led to de­ath by two dogs on 21 March t­his ye­ar, jus­ti­ce seems to be out of re­ach, says his mot­her, as mo­re than se­ven mont­hs af­ter his at­tack t­he­re has been no pro­gress on the ca­se o­pe­ned a­gainst the o­w­ners of the a­ni­mals.

On 15 No­vem­ber, at her ho­me, the frus­tra­ted Me­lo­nie P­hi­lan­der told KPH how hel­pless she feels that her son, T­he­ha­no Da­man, will pro­ba­bly ne­ver see jus­ti­ce for w­hat has hap­pe­ned to him. “I’ve on­ly re­cei­ved feed­back from the in­ves­ti­ga­ting of­fi­cer (IO) af­ter beg­ging her for it. No­bo­dy has been ar­res­ted, and we still ha­ven’t re­cei­ved a court da­te. On top of that I ha­ve been sent from one per­son to the ot­her but still ha­ve no ans­wers on the pro­gress of the ca­se,” P­hi­lan­der said.

‘You can go re­port me’

P­hi­lan­der sho­wed

KPH nu­me­rous u­nans­we­red mes­sa­ges to the IO en­qui­ring a­bout the pro­gress of the ca­se, and on the ve­ry few oc­ca­si­ons she did re­cei­ve feed­back, P­hi­lan­der feels it was with “at­ti­tu­de” and ve­ry un­help­ful. “W­hen I told the IO I would go to the s­ta­ti­on com­man­der on 21 Ju­ne, she de­fi­ant­ly said, ‘You can go re­port me’. I am a­wa­re that Li­eu­te­nant Co­lo­nel Kahn of the Knys­na po­li­ce al­so cal­led the IO a­bout the ca­se but no­thing hap­pe­ned that I know of. Mont­hs la­ter, on 20 Sep­tem­ber w­hen I thre­a­tened to go to the me­dia, the IO just said my doc­ket was in for a de­ci­si­on and that her si­de is c­le­an. How can it ta­ke mo­re than se­ven mont­hs for a ca­se to be in­ves­ti­ga­ted?” the an­gry mot­her wan­ted to know.

P­hi­lan­der said that, ac­cor­ding to the IO’s mes­sa­ges, on­ly the dog o­w­ner’s wi­fe’s sta­te­ment was nee­ded on 23 Ju­ly be­fo­re it would be sent to the se­ni­or pro­se­cu­tor. “But that didn’t hap­pen,” she ad­ded.

Ni­ne o­pe­ra­ti­ons, mo­re to fol­low

In the me­an­ti­me, said P­hi­lan­der, T­he­ha­no – who has al­re­a­dy go­ne through ni­ne dif­fe­rent o­pe­ra­ti­ons and will be he­a­ding back to the Red Cross War Me­mo­ri­al C­hild­ren’s Hos­pi­tal in Ca­pe To­wn in January and March 2019 for two furt­her pro­ce­du­res – has de­ve­lo­ped a fe­ar for dogs in ge­ne­ral, and now re­lies on a bra­ce to sup­port his da­ma­ged leg.

“W­hen he is out­si­de the y­ard and sees a dog he im­me­di­a­te­ly co­mes in­si­de. He wa­t­ches t­his ka­ra­te on te­le­vi­si­on and then says he will ‘som­mer klap’ (hit) any dog that co­mes ne­ar him. E­ven wor­se, he can’t play any sport and with De­cem­ber co­ming he re­al­ly wants to s­wim, but has be­co­me shy a­round pe­op­le be­cau­se of his ter­ri­ble scars. W­hen he g­oes out­si­de he e­ven we­ars long pants,” P­hi­lan­der said.

“All I want is jus­ti­ce for my c­hild. I can’t just let t­his ca­se go. If I did I wouldn’t be a pro­per mot­her. T­his IO seems to ha­ve no re­spect for me or T­he­ha­no, and thinks no­thing of w­hat hap­pe­ned to him,” P­hi­lan­der ad­ded.

In­ves­ti­ga­ti­on ‘at an ad­van­ced sta­ge’

Ac­cor­ding to po­li­ce spo­kes­per­son Ser­ge­ant Chris S­pies, alt­hough no ar­res­ts ha­ve yet been ma­de, the in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on in­to the mat­ter is at an ad­van­ced sta­ge. S­pies said the ca­se doc­ket was sub­mit­ted to the Na­ti­o­nal Pro­se­cu­ting Aut­ho­ri­ty for a de­ci­si­on, but that be­fo­re a fi­nal de­ci­si­on could be ma­de on w­het­her to pro­se­cu­te or not, the “in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on of­fi­cer was ad­vi­sed to obtain ad­di­ti­o­nal s­ta­te­ments”.

Re­gar­ding P­hi­lan­der’s al­le­ga­ti­ons of the IO’s at­ti­tu­de and lack of feed­back, S­pies said s­ta­ti­on ma­na­ge­ment has ta­ken no­te of the al­le­ga­ti­ons of un­pro­fes­si­o­nal con­duct, ad­ding that “it is ex­pected of e­very po­li­ce of­fi­ci­al to en­s­u­re that victims of c­ri­me are tre­a­ted with re­spect and dig­ni­ty at all ti­mes”. He said furt­her that it is al­so ex­pected of “in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on of­fi­cers” to pro­vi­de re­gu­lar feed­back to victims of c­ri­me with re­gard to the pro­gress of the in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on.

“Un­pro­fes­si­o­nal con­duct should be re­por­ted im­me­di­a­te­ly to en­s­u­re that mat­ters are ad­dres­sed a­mi­ca­bly,” S­pies said, ad­ding that “the com­plai­nant” is mo­re than wel­co­me to vi­sit the of­fi­ce of the s­ta­ti­on com­man­der to ad­dress the con­cerns with re­gards to t­his in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on.

A que­s­ti­on re­gar­ding the length of time it has ta­ken to com­ple­te the in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on was left u­nans­we­red at the time of going to print.

* Af­ter the in­ci­dent, the dogs we­re eut­ha­ni­sed by the Knys­na A­ni­mal Wel­fa­re So­cie­ty, and a ca­se of at­temp­ted mur­der was o­pe­ned a­gainst the o­w­ner.

P­ho­to: S­te­fan Goo­sen

Cy­ril P­hi­lan­der (left), T­he­ha­no Da­man, and Me­lo­nie P­hi­lan­der.

P­ho­to: Sup­p­lied

The sta­te of T­he­ha­no Da­man’s scar­red legs at pre­sent. He will be un­der­going two furt­her me­di­cal pro­ce­du­res in 2019.

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