Ap­peals project re­veals some ap­pel­lants dis­ap­pear

Afro Voice (Free State) - - NEWS - BECKER SEMELA beck­ers@the­newage.co.za

THE phe­nom­e­non of ap­pel­lants in the Free State fail­ing to hand them­selves in to author­i­ties af­ter a bid to avoid jail terms has be­come a prob­lem in the prov­ince.

So far the direc­torate of pub­lic pros­e­cu­tions in the Free State has de­tected more than 20 peo­ple who have been out on bail pend­ing their ap­peal even af­ter their ap­peals were dis­missed in court.

The peo­ple were de­tected through an ap­peals project launched in 2015 af­ter it came to the at­ten­tion of the di­rec­tor of pub­lic pros­e­cu­tions in the prov­ince.

Ad­vo­cate Xolisile Khany­ile said some peo­ple would just dis­ap­pear un­der the radar.

Since its launch in Bloemfontein, the project iden­ti­fied 11 back­log mat­ters from the mag­is­trate’s court.

The High Court iden­ti­fied six mat­ters and as the project rolled out through the prov­ince six more mat­ters were iden­ti­fied adding up to a to­tal of 12 high court mat­ters.

Khany­ile has wel­comed the re­sults of the project.

She said the project was then ex­tended to in­clude all back­log ap­peals in the prov­ince.

“So there were those ap­pel­lants who were granted leave to ap­peal in the mag­is­trate’s court but failed to take their ap­peals fur­ther for hear­ing by the high court, all these ap­pel­lants were out on bail pend­ing ap­peal,” Khany­ile said.

She said the project started with round­table dis­cus­sions that in­cluded all the rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers such as of­fi­cials from the of­fice of the NPA, department of jus­tice, clerks of the court, the po­lice and Le­gal Aid South Africa.

“Dur­ing these in­ter­ac­tions a mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem and a plan of ac­tion were in­tro­duced, which would en­sure a long term so­lu­tion,” Khany­ile said.

She said that the root causes that were iden­ti­fied were a lack of knowl­edge by a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of clerks of court in deal­ing with ap­peals which caused de­lays in the ap­peals pro­cesses.

The po­lice have es­tab­lished a task team to ar­rest ap­pel­lants who failed to re­port af­ter the dis­missal of their ap­peals.

A non- ad­ver­sar­ial ap­proach in com­mu­ni­ca­tion was adopted.

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