Court proceedure and plea bargaining
Please help. My son needs to go to court over a fraud charge next month. He needs to get legal aid and does quality. However, this was a work related matter whereby he did a cash refund but didn’t follow company policy and they did not follow any internal proceedure when and how can he apply for legal aid? And should he plead guilty to the charge ( which he acknowledged was an error) but doesn’t agree with the charge. What will happen if he has no lawyer to plead for him.? When does the court proceedure allow him to apply for legal aid. ? He was told he can only apply on the day he appears in court. Do they ask him to plead on the Same day or what is the procedure.
Thank you. The right of the Accused’s person to a no cost legal representative is a Constitutional right. On his next court appearance, a legal aid lawyer will be assigned to him by the court. After this, the lawyer will then approach and take instruction from him. If his instruction to the lawyer is to enter into a plea of guilty in respect of the alleged offence, the lawyer would likely seek the court’s indulgence for a postponement and arrange a date with the prosecution. He will therefore plead on the next court date.
- I concur with the advise provided above. However, you have raised some serious concerns in respect of: 1.What is the reason for the acknowledgement made in error?
- Due to him disagreeing with the charge, Section 87 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977, allows an accused to inspect the nature of the charge and object to the charge and request the State to provide particulars to the defence as to obtain clarity on the charge.
- An attorney does “not tell you what to do” but provides options available to a client. In my legal opinion the docket contents needs to be furnished to the defense and thus it would be premature to plead guilty without having seen the docket contents.
- I will be in a better position to advise you after a consultation be held. Depending on the age of your son and his personal circumstances the State can be approached and request that your son be diverted. Upon comlpeting the diversion program, charges will be withdrawn and there will be no criminal record.
JUNAID NOOR MOHAMED
NOOR MOHAMED ATTORNEYS.