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Crime Prevention


Pine Man
Resolved

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Thought I heard someone in my bathroom last night. Just in case it was a burglar I shot a few bullets through the door ;-)

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Forum Editor

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Quickbeam

"I don't think much of the South African legal system that allows massive wild speculations from the police before a formal trial."

The current proceedings are to consider an application for bail, and the Police are opposing it. They have to offer the Magistrate clear and convincing arguments that he should not grant bail. It happens here, in just the same way. The charge in this case is one of premeditated murder, which must mean that the Police think they have some strong evidence of that.

The South African legal system is very similar to that of the United States. There's a presumption of innocence, and the right to a trial by jury, with legal aid if the defendant can't afford representation. Bail is automatically granted, unless the prosecution can demonstrate a threat to public or personal safety, or can convince the Magistrate that the accused is likely to attempt flight.

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Quickbeam

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It sounds odd that if they'd had a blazing row up until almost the point of the gunshots, he was then tucked up in bed fast asleep with his legs stowed away for the night in the leg locker.

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fourm member

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'massive wild speculations from the police'

I'm not sure if Quickbeam is referring to what I heard. This was the police acting quickly to stamp on stories about intruders. South Africa is, still, a very divided and very violent country.

I expect the police wanted to avoid any hysteria about gated communities being subject to intruders in the night.

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Quickbeam

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fourm member

Wouldn't such forceful police opinions and public statements be considered to be liable to prejudice a fair trial in the UK?

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wiz-king

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Quickbeam

No - this is standard practice in SA, debate and commments are encourage in the SA system.

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Forum Editor

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"Wouldn't such forceful police opinions and public statements be considered to be liable to prejudice a fair trial in the UK?"

A similar situation would be unlikely to arise here because under our system bail would not normally be granted to someone who is charged with murder. The only circumstance in which bail might be granted is if defence lawyers can satisfy a judge that the accused person presents no risk to the community or to specific individuals.

Additionally, Magistrates do not have the authority to consider bail applications in murder cases. Any such applications must be heard by a Crown Court Judge.

What's going on in South Africa is a process whereby the prosecution is trying to convince a magistrate not to grant bail. In order to do that they need to refer to evidence they have in their possession. There is a need for disclosure of evidence in any case, so nothing they say will be a revelation to the defence, or to the magistrate, but the process must take place in open court. That's not the problem - the real difficulty is going to come when the trial starts, and the court has to find an impartial jury - Pistorius is a national figure, but the nature of the crime is polarising public opinion, and there's a vociferous anti-domestic violence faction amongst black South African women.

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Aitchbee

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Even although the SA police might now have access and control of the accused's banking and places of residence's overseas ... Mr. Pistorius might be tempted to break any bail conditions, as the odds are seemingly stacked against him, I reckon.

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Forum Editor

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Aitchbee

The fear that the prosecution has is that Pistorius might flee to a country from which subsequent extradition might be difficult, or impossible.

The pressure on the Magistrate to deny bail is enormous. The SA judicial system will be at pains to demonstrate that although Pistorius is a national celebrity he will not receive any form of special treatment.

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Flak999

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If convicted of murder I wonder if he will be stripped of his Olympic titles?

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Bing.alau

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Surely it would be impossible for him to get through the security which is present in all airports these days? He is recognisable to practically all South Africans so couldn't sneak through. He would need a lot of people to agree to smuggle him out of the country. I can't see it happening although you do read of these things happening, but that's mostly in fiction.

Mind you have they found Lord Lucan yet?

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