Child Justice

The child justice department’s main objective is to ensure the right to a fair trial, which is enshrined in the constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

Being minors, our clients from Bonnytoun are more susceptible to having their actions influenced by others within their community, and this is often cited as being the reason for having committed a particular crime.

Children are vulnerable in the sense that they do not fully understand what their rights are in terms of the Child Justice Act and the Criminal Procedure Act. This means that they are not aware of circumstances wherein their rights are being respected or where they are being infringed upon.

We regard child justice to be of paramount importance, and therefore strive to ensure compliance with the aforementioned rights through our legal representation of boys who are incarcerated at the facility at Bonnytoun, allowing us to monitor the court proceedings and ensure a fair trial. We hold consultations with the accused boys prior to the trial date, and are therefore able to explain how the proceedings will run, what they should expect in court, and what rights they are entitled to.

Court Appearances

When the volunteers and interns work within the Child Justice department, they may have an opportunity to attend criminal trials. This is dependent on the clients we have at the particular time, and which stage the procedure is at.

Recent court appearances have included a murder trial of an accused who was incarcerated in Bonnytoun. After the State had previously requested a postponement, the matter was marked as final and set down for 27th June 2013. On this date, the State informed the court that their investigation was still incomplete and requested a remand in order to complete their investigation. The defence objected to said request, which was upheld by the court and the matter was therefore provisionally withdrawn. Case closed!

Another recent court appearance saw our client please not guilty to the following charges: housebreaking, aggravated robbery, theft of a motor vehicle and theft out of a motor vehicle. The case went to court on 5th September 2013 and, after our matter was called, we were informed that the State witnesses were not present. The prosecution requested a remand of the case, to which we did not object, but requested that the remand be marked final for witnesses. The case will continue on 25th November 2013.

Sherwin Daniels, together with volunteers and interns, attended the Wynberg Magistrate's Regional court in order to attend the trial of our client. He was accused of theft of a motor vehicle, theft out of a motor vehicle, armed robbery and house-breaking. The case had previously been postponed from the 5th of September until today, the 25th of November, for trial purposes. When we got to court, the fourth accused in the matter was not present and a warrant of arrest was issued. The prosecution and our PAHRO representative, together with the Legal Aid attorney, came to a consensus to separate the trials of the three accused before court from the accused who was absent.

After the consensus, the State provisionally withdrew the charges against the accused 1 to 3, the 3rd being our client, due to the complainant being untraceable.

Moot Court

On occasion, when there is an up-coming court appearance, PAHRO supervisors will instruct some of the volunteers and interns to prepare for trial in the form of moot court, during which both the defence and prosecution will be represented.

This is valuable for the volunteers and interns, as it encourages them to critically think about the case in a legal mind-set. It is important to put a lot effort into such scenarios, as they will be based upon real cases which will soon be brought before a court of law. Valuable points may be addressed, and experience gained as to how to effectively argue on either the defence or the prosecution’s side. Accurate research and well-structured legal argument, having been presented during moot court, will be used in the actual defence at court.