A Vryheid game rancher was being sodomised in a police cell while the inmates were singing, the Pietermaritzburg high court has heard.
They presumably did so to drown the victim's screams, Judge Nic van der Reyden said yesterday.
Game rancher Etienne van Wyk is claiming R1,2 million from the Minister of Safety and Security.
Van Wyk was put into the Hlobane police cells along with farm manager Zacharia Duvenhage.
They were arrested for allegedly transporting Van Wyk's game animals without a licence.
Duvenhage was not sodomised but was assaulted and he is claiming R350000 from the minister.
Their counsel, Gerrie Roberts, said the acting police station commander was asleep at the police station at the time. Other policemen did not respond to the screams either.
Van Wyk and Duvenhage were first put into a cell on their own. Three woman suspects were later put into this cell, and Van Wyk and Duvenhage were transferred to a cell with 14 occupants.
Evidence given was that they could have been held in other cells, the magistrate's court cells or taken to other police stations. The 14 inmates included suspects charged with violent crimes, including a man charged with three murders and arson, and six men charged with rape.
Both Van Wyk and Duvenhage have given permission for their names to be used in the media.
The minister is contesting their claims.
Roberts said because the police station commander did not respond to Van Wyk's screams, the inference was that he was asleep.
The former commander of the police station, Superintendent Isobel Weiss, told the court that assaults had been perpetrated in the cells and the policemen must have known about them.
She said that when inmates were singing, cells should be inspected because "something could be up".
The matter was to continue today . - Sapa