Court quizzes quadriplegic

Cape Town – Quadriplegic Ian Hamilton, who is claiming R23m in damages from the minister of safety and security, was quizzed in the Cape High Court on Tuesday on his financial affairs.

Hamilton was shot by a mentally unstable woman in Stellenbosch 10 years ago and is confined to a wheelchair.

Two years ago he won a Supreme Court of Appeal ruling that he was entitled to compensation on the grounds that the police negligently issued the woman a firearm licence.

The current hearing, before acting judge Geoff Budlender, is about the amount the state will have to pay out.

Advocate for the minister, Renata Williams, on Tuesday questioned the wheelchair-bound Hamilton about financial statements, forming part of his claim, that related to his purchase in 1997 and sale a year later at a R100 000 profit of half a stake in a Steers franchise.

Asked what he did with the proceeds of the sale, Hamilton said it went towards buying a second business.

Williams said there had been a gap of a year between the two transactions, and asked where the money was “languishing” during that time.

“I’m not an auditor; I can’t comment on that,” Hamilton said. He suggested the money might have been used to buy unit trusts or a policy.

He also said he was unable to explain why, though he said he did not benefit from a trust set up by his father Roy Hamilton, records made available to the state showed hundreds of thousands of rands coming into his account as interest from the trust.

“I’m not an accountant; I can’t comment on that,” said Hamilton.

He repeatedly referred Williams to his mother, who he said would be able to answer detailed financial queries.

Williams’ cross-examination of Hamilton will resume, and is expected to finish, on Thursday.

Edited by Tisha Steyn

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