Magistrate Courts

When a client wishes to report a crime, coordinators help to take statements and collect evidence, and advise clients as the judicial process unfolds. Staff carry out assessments for protection orders before handing the matter over to magistrates for endorsement or further processing. In 2009, coordinators issued 826 protection orders, of which 690 interim orders were approved and 499 were granted.

Coordinator Zandile KMagistratehanyile (seated) with a local magistrate (second left)

Fisani Ngcobo, July 2008: Child Rape – Preparing the Victim for Court

An 8-year-old child from Acton Homes came to the centre with her mother. She had been raped in March 2007. The case had been opened by the SAPS and would have to go to court soon. The investigating officer had asked the mother to bring the child to the support centre as she had been reluctant to speak. He was concerned about what would happen in court during the trial if she failed to talk.

I did pre-trial counselling with the child. I also made her understand how important her testimony would be to the case, as she had mentioned that she wanted the accused to be kept in jail for the rest of his life. She became comfortable and was able to tell me what had happened to her as perfectly as in her first statement to her mother.

I then advised the investigating officer to have a discussion with the prosecutor and recommend an intermediary for the child’s sake and in order for her to be comfortable during cross-examination. He thanked me for my advice and was able to see the point of doing this.

Nonhlanhla Ndlela, July 2008: Domestic Violence – Issuing a Protection Order Protection Order

A 34-year-old unmarried woman came to report that she had been in love with a certain man and that they had a 6-year-old child. She had ended the relationship four months ago. Everything had been fine until her former boyfriend had assaulted her on her way from work. She had been rescued by the police, but the abuser had not been arrested. On the same day at midnight, the abuser had come to her home and kicked the doors and threatened to kill the complainant once again. The police had intervened. She needed help with this matter.

I advised the client about mediation and protection orders and how each of them worked. She said that she would prefer a protection order.

I issued the protection order and the client was referred to the Magistrate's Court. The protection order was finalised and the client was very happy with the assistance that she had received from the support centre.

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