INDEPENDENT parliamentary legal watchdog, Veritas has savaged the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Amendment Bill saying it contained some unconstitutional clauses that urgently required to be scrapped off before it was signed into law.
by VENERANDA LANGA
Veritas cited section 42 of the proposed amendments which allowed the police to kill people escaping arrest as “toxic”.
“While the Bill goes some way towards bringing the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act into line with the Constitution, it is unsatisfactory,” Veritas said in a statement.
“Some provisions which the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Amendment Bill aims to insert in the Act are themselves unconstitutional, for example, the new section 42 allowing the police to kill people who are escaping arrest – but more generally the Bill leaves untouched a great many provisions of the Act which must be amended or repealed in order to bring them into line with the Constitution.”
The watchdog said there was need for the Bill to also include clauses that will allow victims of criminal activities to make their reports at any police station, especially if the matter was sensitive and the victim felt they cannot make a report at a police station close to where they lived.
“There are circumstances in which it is difficult or inappropriate to report a crime at the police station nearest to the scene of the crime, but nonetheless the Police generally insist that crimes be reported there rather than at some other police station.
“Their insistence can cause trouble and sometimes considerable distress to victims. This is particularly so in the case of rape and other sexual crimes which cause immense trauma to the victims. The procedures for reporting such crimes must be sensitive to the victims’ needs so as to avoid causing them further distress.”
Veritas said the current practice was that police officers insisted victims must make their reports at police stations where the crimes were committed.
“Sometimes, indeed, victims are told to go with the police to confront the alleged perpetrator. The Bill should have amended the Act to require the police to be more sensitive to victims of such crimes and to allow them to make their reports at any police station they choose.”