Correctional Services defy court over hospital transfer of comatose prisoner

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Prison authorities defied a court order and refused to transfer an awaiting trial prisoner, who had been unconscious for nearly three weeks, from a public hospital to a private one until they were paid R145,000 for a guard, reports Sunday Tribune.

Durban Regional Court Magistrate Garth Davis ruled last week that Avineshsing Rajbansi, grandson of the late politician Amichand Rajbansi, could be transferred and his family would not be liable for the costs of guarding.

But Department of Correctional Services officials insisted that Rajbansi could not be moved from Durban’s King Edward VIII Hospital to St Augustine’s Hospital without a cash payment of R145,192. The charge was for a guard for 30 days.

A department official allegedly told hospital management and the prisoner’s mother, Vimlesh, that he had a court order which supported this stance, writes Mervyn Naidoo in the Sunday Tribune article published on 18 October 2020. However, the official did not provide the amended order as proof, and eventually allowed Rajbansi’s transfer.

Rajbansi (30) is said to have suffered loss of consciousness, multiple seizures and a possible hypoxic brain injury. He faced fraud and theft charges after he allegedly posed as a registered financial services provider, promised interest payouts to investors, but used their investments for his own gain, reported the Sunday Tribune.

According to the attorneys, the Correctional Services official said their office had issues with Davis’ court order. ‘The logic in placing a guard at the expense of taxpayers to guard a patient, who has a depressed level of consciousness and requires monitoring as he is not aware of his surroundings, is mind boggling,’ said the legal representative.

Davis adjourned the matter to 13 November 2020. The Sunday Tribune approached Correctional Services but had not received a response by deadline.


Full Sunday Tribune report (subscription needed)



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