A Zambezi resident in North Western Province has sued the state, demanding damages for loss of expectation of life for a grade Grade 10 pupil at Zambezi Secondary School Kozhi Kaleji who police shot dead in an attempt to disperse a crowd that effected a citizens’ arrest on a woman who allegedly stole a goat.
Obby Kanjela, suing as the next friend on behalf of Kaleji, is seeking pecuniary damages for loss of prospective future earnings to be assessed by the court, punitive damages to be assessed by the Lusaka High Court.
In his statement of claim, Kanjela explained that on February 26, 2020, around 21:30 hours, at Zambezi Boma, a crowd of villagers from Mushona village was dragging to the police station an alleged thief who stole a goat.
Kanjela said the juvenile who was at a shop watching soccer joined the mob going to the police station.
He said 50 metres away from the police station, the police, unprovoked, fired gunshots in an attempt to disperse the crowd.
“The crowd fled the scene at the sound of gunfire and Kozhi Kaleji was hit with a bullet in the back which killed him instantly,” Kanjela said.
He disclosed that the bullet penetrated through the right side of his back adjacent to the vertebral column and there was no exit wound as the bullet had lodged in the chest, according to postmortem results.
Kanjela said Kaleji suffered a fatal injury to the ascending aorta and died instantly within a few minutes of the gunshot.
Postmortem results revealed that the cause of death was a fatal injury to the aorta caused by the gunshot wound and that the death was a homicide.
Kanjela claimed that the police admitted using bullets to disperse the crowd which was unlawful, reckless and total disregard of human life.
“As a consequence of the defendant’s actions, the life of Kaleji was prematurely curtailed, depriving him of an opportunity to life. The discharge of live ammunition against a peaceful and an unarmed crowd was unjustifiable and unreasonable,” Kanjela said.
“The use of force does not fall with legally permissible circumstances under which the deprivation of life may not be deemed as a violation of the right to life.”
He further wants damages for pain and suffering caused by the permanent depreciation of life by the negligent and reckless killing of an innocent minor by the police.
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