Dog-bite victim sues Catholic cleric

Dog-bite victim sues Catholic cleric

MASERU – Maisane Phafa says he had to be amputated after being bitten by dogs owned by a Roman Catholic priest, Reverend Lithebe Tjokosela.
Now he is suing the cleric and the head of the Catholic Church in Lesotho, Archbishop Tlali Lerotholi, for M1.7 million.
In papers filed in court this week, Phafa says he wants damages for the pain and suffering he encountered as well as bodily harm, loss of income and also past and future medical expenses he has incurred.

He says on December 4, 2013, he was savagely bitten and injured by the dogs that were owned by Reverend Tjokosela.
He said as a result of the attack, he suffered serious bodily harm. He said the attack happened at the Mission’s house in Nazareth in Maseru.
Through his law firm, KD Mabudu Attorneys, Phafa says as a result of the injury inflicted by the dogs, his leg had to be amputated above the knee.
“The dogs acted contrary to the nature of their class,” the court papers read.

Phafa alleges that the clergyman knew or should have known that the dogs were at times vicious and were likely to attack strangers lawfully visiting him.
“The defendants failed to take steps to safeguard persons lawfully on their premises from any possible attack by the dogs,” he argues.
Archbishop Lerotholi has been sued in his capacity as the Archbishop for the diocese of Maseru.

The priest and the Archbishop however raise a special plea saying their church ought to have been joined in the proceedings since they have not been sued in their personal capacities. They also argue that Archbishop Lerotholi has been mis-joined in the proceedings since there are no allegations of negligence levelled against him hence no cause of action has been established against him.
They further plead that they were not negligent as alleged.

The defendants inform the court that on December 4, 2013 “Phafa trespassed into the premises of the Nazareth Roman Catholic Mission at night without invitation and disregarded a notice that there were dogs guarding the premises”.

Senate Sekotlo

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