Mr Mkhize was woken up by utterance of voices in the street and his neighbor’s dog barking. He just thought drunkards were provoking the dog. After a short while, he heard the sound of his fence, as if someone was jumping it. And then he thought maybe it was his neighbor’s dog, as he usually heard the same sound when the dog was squeezing through his fence.
He suddenly saw a shadow in his window of a person walking very slowly.
Mr Mkhize did not waste time; he immediately took out his gun from his drawer. He used his backdoor to go outside, and went to pass his window in order to find out who it was. It was after turning his bedroom corner that he saw the back of a very tall man wearing a black mask and holding a pistol.
Mr Mkhize did not say a word, but he just fired three shots at him and the man died on the spot. When Mr Mkhize took off the mask of the man, he realized that it was his nephew Khali.
“Oh God, what have I done!?” he said crying softly.
After that, Mr Mkhize decided to throw his gun in his outside toilet and locked himself in his house. Because of the sound the gun made, people started gathering outside. the police arrived. One of the police officers, Inspector Naidoo, asked was happening, and in that crowd no one answered. After a couple of minutes, Mrs Gootber told the police. “We just heard about four gun shots and we have not seen Mkhize.”
Police broke in, they found the body of Khali lying outside of Mr Mkhize’s house, and they decided to put a red tape so that no one enters and told the crowd that someone was dead. Kholofelo, who was commonly known to be Khali’s friend, pushed his way in.
“Hey boy, can’t you see we are busy here gathering evidence, and you are not allowed to disturb us performing our duty.” Inspector Naidoo said. Kholofelo saw that it was Khali and he cried.
“Khali ran to his uncle’s place after we were chased by our enemies, no one saw him,” Kholofelo said. Mr Mkhize decided to come out. Inspector Naidoo pointed him with a gun and said, “Tell us everything that happened.”
Mr Mkhize confessed everything and he was then arrested.
It was Monday when Mr Mkhize consulted with his lawyer, Advocate Jama, and he was appearing in court. During the proceedings, Advocate Jama convinced the court that the evidence was unconstitutionally obtained.
When the judge was delivering his judgment he said: “Police obtained their evidence unconstitutionally because they did not tell Mr Mkhize his constitutional rights, as stipulated in section 35 of the Constitution. And the consequences of him giving the confession, they forced him by pointing a gun at him. Therefore, the state does not have proof that Mr Mkhize killed Khali, which makes him a free man.”
When police officers are arresting a suspect it is very important for them to inform the suspect of his constitutional rights as stipulated in section 35 of the Constitution, because failure to do so, can lead to the person not being prosecuted.
In South Africa there are a number of cases where it happened that people got arrested and they were forced to confess without even being told their constitutional rights by the police officers, and when the court finds that such has happened, the court could dismiss the case.
The court does not even look at the degree of the crime, but it looks as to what is the law. This means that for a police not to say ‘You have a right to remain silent, everything you say will be used against you in a court of law’, it is a loophole for a suspect not to be prosecuted. Therefore, if the person is told his constitutional right, then whatever he says will be submitted in court as an evidence.
There is a lot which one can write to be critical about this, but it should be a lesson for police officers to see the effect of this right and apply it as required, because at the end people will feel like there is no justice, just because of the police’s failure to adhere with the law.