Bongile was arrested in relation to a robbery at a shopping centre. She wasn’t involved, it was just a situation of wrong place, wrong time. The police officer said she would go to jail because she was guilty. AZIKHIPHI! That’s not on! Bongile has the right to a fair trial, whether she is guilty or not – that’s the law. Worried about what was going to happen, Bongile, a Scorpion Legal Protection member, contacted them to get legal help with her case.
What does the law say?
Section 34 of the Constitution says that everyone has the right to have their dispute resolved by the law in a fair public hearing before a court, or where it’s appropriate, by another independent, impartial forum.
How does it work?
Justice must be done, but it must also be seen to be done. This means that the process by which someone is judged must be clear and transparent and the punishment must be just and fit the crime. Every accused person has the right to a fair trial and to bring their own evidence and challenge evidence against them in court.
The Constitution gives an accused person the right to legal representation, but they can also choose to represent themselves. If they do, the presiding officer – who can be a judge (Superior Court) or a magistrate (Regional or District Magistrates’ Court) – must assist them in presenting their case. The presiding officer must remain impartial, and cannot take sides between the accused and the state. The courts have an obligation to protect and advance the rights of an unrepresented accused.
It is, however, always advisable to make use of legal representation to ensure your best case is presented properly.
The way forward
Scorpion Legal Protection members have professional and experienced lawyers represent them in court.
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