Appeals project reveals some appellants disappear
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.