Petition launched against granting bail to criminals

APRIL 29, 2015

A new petition called, Justice System: Stop giving bail to Killers, Hijackers, Rapist and Arm Robbers, has been launched by the Vice Chairperson of AfriForum Port Elizabeth, Kobus Gerber.

Gerber said that the campaign was launched in the context of a crime rate that appears to be spiralling out of control.

“Firstly we hear daily about murders, hijacking, armed robberies, gang violence, drug dealings and rape. Including babies get raped and killed, WHY? …and then we discover that in some cases the criminal involved been on bail and at times up to five times,” he said.

“So what and how does the justice system justify that after someone been arrested five times for the same crime that he got the write to get bail again and again. One of my staff members was hijacked a few years ago and with the help of the police we caught the hijackers and some of them been out on bail five times for armed robbery, hijacking and car theft.

“The recent killing of the Addo farmer and with Jayde Panayiotou’s murder in one week with the 4 000 people who came out to Kabega Police Station, I realized and believe that everyone just have had enough of all crimes committed that there is no accountability for the criminals and we have to stop it.”

Gerber said the law was letting too many criminals off the hook without them ever facing the consequences of their crimes.

He said that corruption in the police and justice system meant dockets disappeared and criminals could intimidate victims and witnesses. He said the system was also failing victims by failing to prepare witnesses for court appearances.

Gerber said that there loopholes in the law meant criminals can fairly easily get bail and get back on the streets which intimidates any would-be witness.

“The tactic that the defence teams use to drag out cases and that makes it more difficult for victims and witnesses to remember the facts of the event which took place.

“Technicalities which the defence team use against witnesses or victims to discredit them is a concern because they feel like they on trial and for that reason people are not willing to come forward as a witness,” Gerber said.

He said they were hoping the campaign could put pressure on the Justice Department to stop granting bail to; to anyone who is already on bail, to any who already has a criminal record and to any serious crimes committed like murder, hijacking, rape, drug and armed related crimes.

“But for this to happen the police must do a thorough investigation to prevent that an innocent person gets arrested and bail gets refused.  They also have to do a full video recording of the testimony of witnesses due to that they get threatened or killed and with the video recording the criminal will know that it won’t help to kill witnesses because the justice system go a recorded version of the events which took place,” Gerber explained.

He encouraged local residents to sign the petition.

“Because they or close family or friends might be the next victim to be killed, robbed or hijacked. Everybody needs to unite against bail for criminals and I believe that we all have had enough.”

Gerber said while the petition might result in complete changes in legislation, they are hoping that it will get the message across to government and Parliament that the public have had enough of crime and something needs to be done.

“The first step is not to give any bail to anyone who is already on bail. Just that on its own will be a huge step towards scaring criminals not to commit crime while on bail,” he said.

See the petition here: Justice System: Stop giving bail to Killers, Hijackers, Rapist and Arm Robbers.