Equality of arms and aspects of the right to a fair criminal trial in Botswana

SUNScholar Research Repository

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisor Van der Merwe, S. E.
dc.contributor.author Cole, Rowland James Victor en_ZA
dc.contributor.other University of Stellenbosch. Faculty of Law. Dept. of Public Law.
dc.date.accessioned 2010-02-23T10:35:14Z en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2010-08-13T13:11:00Z
dc.date.available 2010-02-23T10:35:14Z en_ZA
dc.date.available 2010-08-13T13:11:00Z
dc.date.issued 2010-03
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/3995
dc.description Thesis (LLD (Public Law))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.
dc.description.abstract ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The guarantee of a fair trial is fundamental to the criminal process of every modern society. Like all civilised nations, Botswana’s legal order provides for the protection of accused persons through the guarantee of a fair trial. But equality of arms, a central feature of medieval trial by combat, seems to have disappeared from modern criminal procedural systems. The question arises, therefore, whether criminal justice systems sufficiently cater for the fair trial of accused persons. This thesis will argue that the present legal and institutional framework for the protection of fair trial rights in Botswana falls short of guaranteeing procedural equality and that this severely compromises fairness. The institutional framework does not support equality of arms and therefore leaves procedural rights in a basic state of application. The thesis, therefore, seeks to analyse the protection of fair trial rights in Botswana in light of the principle of equality of arms. The thesis explores the origins and theoretical foundations of the principle. It recognises that the present application of the principle occurs by implicit countenance. The absence of any constitutional recognition of the principle leaves procedural rights in a basic state of application. The thesis discusses the practical implications of an express recognition and constitutional application of the principle in the adversarial system. Equality of arms should be central in the criminal process and no party should have an unfair advantage over the other. The thesis recognises that the prosecution is in a position of advantage in that it has the support of the state. This advantage manifests itself in the form of vast resources regarding expertise, investigatory powers and legislative powers. Disparities in resources, the ability to investigate and access to witnesses create an inequality of arms between the state and the accused. This can only be balanced and countered by empowering the accused with constitutional and procedural rights that specifically protect the accused in the face of the might of the state. These procedural rights include the presumption of innocence, the right to legal representation and the right to disclosure. It is argued, however, that though accused-based rights and constitutional rules of procedure generally protect the accused and ensure that the process is fair, they mainly remain theoretical declarations if they are not applied in line with equality of arms. In other words, the meaningful enjoyment of these rights by the accused, demands the strengthening of resources and legislative and institutional governance. Fairness in criminal trials is epitomised in the balance between the overwhelming resources of the state and the constitutional protection of the accused. Otherwise, the constitutional protection afforded to the accused is compromised. The first part engages the reader with the development of accused-based rights and introduces the constitutionalisation of procedural rights in Botswana. It discusses the scope and application of the principle of equality of arms, develops its relevance to the adversarial system and justifies an application of the principle in Botswana domestic law. It makes a comparison between the adversarial and inquisitorial models while recognising the growing tendency towards convergence. It highlights the adversarial system as interest-based, and recognises the indispensability of the principle of equality of arms to such a system. While recognising that inquisitorial procedures often offend equality of arms, the role of the inquisitorial system in ensuring equality of arms is also recognised. It measures and analyses the normative value, application and recognition of equality of arms in Botswana’s legal system, arguing for express recognition and a conceptual application of the principle by the courts. It is reasoned that express recognition of the principle will result in fuller protection and better realisation of accused-based rights. Exploring the adversarial-inquisitorial dichotomy, it recognises the need for convergence, but emphasises the principle of equality of arms and the right to adversarial proceedings as the foundation for fair trials. The second part analyses the investigation process and generally bemoans the great inequalities at this stage of the criminal process. It discusses procedural and evidential rules that serve to minimise the imbalances and the role that exclusionary rules play in ensuring fair trials and reliable verdicts. The third part identifies specific trial rights which are relevant to the principle of equality of arms. Central to the discussion are the right to legal representation and the presumption of innocence which are discussed in chapters 7 and 8 respectively. These two important rights are central to the protection of the accused but unfortunately are the most compromised due to lack of resources and legislative intervention. Chapter 9 deals with other rights that are relevant to the principle as well as the ability of the accused to present his case and effectively defend himself. It emphasises the need for the courts to engage in the trial, thereby enabling the unrepresented accused. The fourth part contains final conclusions which argue that the principle of equality of arms forms the basis for the full realisation of individual procedural rights and advocates for the recognition of the principle in the Botswana legal order. It is concluded that the constitutional enshrinement of fair trial rights and their basic application by the courts, without actual measures to ensure their realisation, are insufficient. Suggestions include legislative and institutional reforms, as well as a constitutional recognition of the principle of equality of arms. en
dc.description.abstract AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die waarborg van ‘n billike verhoor is fundamenteel tot die strafprosesregstelsel van elke beskaafde gemeenskap. Soos in ander beskaafde lande, word die beskuldige in Botswana ook beskerm deur die reg op ‘n billike verhoor. In die Middeleeue was gelykheid van wapens (“equality of arms”) die sentrale kenmerk van die tweegeveg as geskilberegtigingsmetode. Dit blyk egter dat hierdie sentrale kenmerk afwesig is in moderne strafprosesregstelsels is. Die vraag ontstaan of hierdie toedrag van sake ‘n beskuldige se reg op ‘n billike verhoor op risiko plaas. In hierdie tesis word betoog dat die posisie in Botswana van so ‘n aard is dat “ongelyke bewapening” veroorsaak dat die reg op ‘n billike verhoor belemmer word. Die plaaslike institusionele bedeling onderskraag nie die beskerming van gelykheid van wapens nie en veroorsaak derhalwe dat prosessuele regte in “a basic state of application” is, met ander woorde, op ‘n eenvoudige en meganiese toepassingvlak is. Met die norm van gelyke bewapening as vertrekpunt, ondersoek hierdie tesis die beskerming van die reg op ‘n billike verhoor in Botswana. ‘n Ondersoek word geloods na die oorsprong en toereriese basis van die beginsel van gelyke bewapening. Die afwesigheid van uitdrukklike grondwetlike erkenning van die beginsel, word vergelyk met die praktiese implikasies en uitdruklike grondwetlike erkenning en toepassing in ‘n adversatiewe stelsel. Gelykheid van wapens behoort sentraal tot die strafproses te wees en geen party behoor ‘n onbillike voordeel bo die ander te geniet nie. In hierdie tesis word erken dat die vervolging bloot vanweë die feit dat dit deur die staatsmasjienerie ondersteun word, wesenlik bevoordeel word bo die individu as aangeklaagde. Dit gaan hier om toegang tot hulpbronne soos deskundigheid, asook die rol wat misdaadondersoekmagte en ander wetgewing speel. Ongelykhede byvoorbeeld in hulpbronne, in die vermoë om misdaad te ondersoek en in die toegang tot getuies, dra alles daartoe by dat ‘n wanbalans tussen die staat en die individu ontstaan. Die verlening van prosessuele regte aan die beskuldigde is ‘n metode om die balans te probeer herstel. Voorbeelde van sulke regte is die reg om onskuldig vermoed te wees, die reg op ‘n regsverteenwoordiger en die reg op insae in verklarings. In hierdie tesis word egter betoog dat alhoewel hierdie regte en ander grondwetlike strafprosedures die beskuldigde kan beskerm en die billikheid van die proses kan bevorder, dit absoluut noodsaaklik is dat voormelde regte en prosedures in lyn met die beginsel van gelykheid van wapens geïnterpreteer en toegepas moet word. Betekenisvolle afdwinging en toepassing van ‘n beskuldigde se regte verg versterking van bronne en die institusionele bedeling. Billikheid in die strafverhoor word gekenmerk aan die graad van balans wat bereik kan word tussen die oorvloedige hulpbronne van die staat teenoor die grondwetlike beskerming van die beskuldigde. In die afwesigheid van ‘n balans, word die beskuldigde benadeel. Die eerste gedeelte van hierdie tesis behandel die ontwikkeling van die beskuldigde se regte en bevat ‘n inleiding tot die konstitusionalisering van prossuele regte in Botswana. In Deel Een word die omvang en toepassing van die beginsel van gelykheid van wapens bespreek en word die relevantheid van hierdie beginsel in die adversatiewe proses identifiseer, veral wat Botswana betref. Die adversatiewe en inkwisitoriese modelle word vergelyk en bespreek met erkenning aan die moderne neiging dat die twee modelle besig is om in een te vloei – die sogenaamde verskynsel van “convergence”. Daar word aangetoon dat gelykheid van wapens die adversatiewe model onderlê. Hierteenoor is dit so dat die inkwisitoriese model ook erkenning aan gelykheid van wapens verleen. Daar word betoog dat gelykheid van wapens ‘n normatiewe waarde het en uitdruklik in Botswana deur die howe erken moet word. Uitdruklike erkenning sal tot groter beskerming en realisering van ‘n beskuldigde se regte lei. In Deel Een word ook tot die slotsom geraak dat alhoewel daar ‘n behoefte aan “convergence” is, dit onvermydelik tog ook so is dat gelykheid van wapens en die reg op ‘n adversatiewe proses die grondslag van ‘n billike verhoor vorm. In Deel Twee word die misdaadondersoekproses ontleed en word die grootskaalse ongelykhede wat hier onstaan en bestaan, bespreek. Daar word gelet op prosesregtelike en bewysregtelike reëls wat hierdie ongelykhede kan minimaliseer. Die rol van uitsluitingsreëls ter bevordering van ‘n billike verhoor en ‘n betroubare bevinding, word ook aangespreek. Deel Drie identifiseer spesifieke verhoorregte wat in ‘n besondere direkte verband met die beginsel van gelykheid van wapens staan. Hier is veral twee regte van besondere belang: die reg op ‘n regsverteenwoordiger (hoofstuk 7) en die reg om onskukdig vermoed te wees (hoofstuk 8). Ongelukkig is dit so dat hierdie twee regte erg ondermyn word. Die reg op resverteenwoordiging word ingekort deur ‘n gebrek aan finansiële bronne terwyl die vermoede van onskuld deur wetgewing ondergrawe word. In hoofstuk 9 word ander relevante regte bespreek en word die noodsaak van ‘n aktiewe hof in die geval van ‘n onverteenwoordigde beskuldigde bepleit Deel Vier bevat finale gevolgtrekkings. Daar word betoog dat die beginsel van gelykheid van wapens die basis vorm in die volle relisering van individuele regte en, verder, dat hierdie beginsel ten volle in die regstelsel van Botswana erken behoort te word. Blote grondwetlike verskansing van die grondwetlike reg op ‘n billike verhoor en ‘n blote basiese interpretasie daarvan deur die howe, is onvoldoende wanneer daar geen maatreels is om die haalbare realisering af te dwing nie. Wetgewende en institusionele hervorming is nodig, asook ‘n grondwetlike erkenning van die beginsel van gelykheid van wapens.
dc.description.sponsorship Research funds made available by Prof. S. E. van der Merwe
dc.format.extent 459 p.
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch
dc.subject Bill of Rights en_ZA
dc.subject Constitution en_ZA
dc.subject Fair criminal trials en_ZA
dc.subject Botswana legal system en_ZA
dc.subject Dissertations -- Public law en_ZA
dc.subject Theses -- Public law en_ZA
dc.subject.lcsh Fair trial -- Botswana en_ZA
dc.subject.lcsh Equality before the law -- Botswana en_ZA
dc.subject.other Public Law en_ZA
dc.title Equality of arms and aspects of the right to a fair criminal trial in Botswana en_ZA
dc.type Thesis
dc.rights.holder University of Stellenbosch


Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record