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Lockdown violations: Do not sign admission of guilt form says lawyer

14 January 2021 1:58 PM
Tags:
Lockdown arrests

Nearly 300,000 people have been arrested for lockdown violations in SA since March 2020. Defence lawyer William Booth advises.

Almost 300,000 people have been arrested for lockdown violations in South Africa since March last year.

This year alone, Police Minister Bheki Cele stated, over 20,000 people nationally had been caught breaking lockdown regulations in just the past two weeks.

RELATED: W Cape: 5000 lockdown violations so far in 2021

What does an arrest for a lockdown transgression mean regarding a criminal record?

Booth outlines what he says is the practice that has been frequently occurring during the periods of lockdown in South Africa.

In many instances, people are being arrested and taken by a law enforcement officer to a police station. They are then being processed at the police station, their fingerprints are taken and they are then being issued with an admission of guilt document.

William Booth, Defence lawyer

This document states that if the accused may pay a fine for contravening the particular transgression.

If you do opt to pay an admission of guilt fine based on that document you have received, that will mean that you get a criminal record.

William Booth, Defence lawyer

A criminal record remains in place for up to 10 years after which it may be expunged, he says.

Do you sign the admission of guilt form or contest the transgression in a court of law?

My view is that you definitely don't sign an admission of guilt form. The form will also include a date that you must appear in the magistrate's court.

William Booth, Defence lawyer

He recommends the accused party speaking to a lawyer who will be able to represent them and make submissions to the senior state prosecutor in the magistrate's court.

If you have a good case...you can get the charges withdrawn.

William Booth, Defence lawyer

Listen to William Booth below:




14 January 2021 1:58 PM
Tags:
Lockdown arrests

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