'Investigating officers have the prerogative to have suspects shackled in court'

The court appearance of Nicholas Ninow who has been accused a raping a 6-year-old girl at Dros restaurant in Pretoria sparked a debate on social media on why he was not shackled.

Pictures making comparisons between Ninow; fees must fall, activist, Mcebo Dlamini and Duduzane Zuma when they appeared in court trended on social media with people asking why Dlamini and Zuma were shackled while Ninow was not.

Some people came to the conclusion that is was racially motivated.

Azania Mosaka engaged Saps spokesperson Vish Naidoo to understand what led to others being shackled and others not.

Regarding shackling of awaiting trails detainees that are going to court, there is no specific policy on that. There is a policy that speaks to the restraining of suspects when arrested and being transported from point A to point B.

Vish Naidoo, National Spokesperson at SA Police Service

When it comes to an accused that is appearing in court, the prerogative is on the investigating officer first and foremost to make a determination as to whether that suspect or awaiting trial detainee may be in restraints when being brought before the court. And that would be informed by the level of threat that suspect poses in terms of causing danger to himself or herself or danger to anybody else in their vicinity.

Vish Naidoo, National Spokesperson at SA Police Service

A second scenario is when a court would place such a rule like the one of Duduzane Zuma. That court had experienced challenges in the past where suspects escaped. So the court made a ruling that every suspect that will appear there will be in restraints.

Vish Naidoo, National Spokesperson at SA Police Service

READ: Why are people upset that Duduzane Zuma was shackled? Is it because he's hot?

Every case has to be treated with its own merits in any other court and that determination will be made by the investigating officer base on whether the suspect may be a flight risk or pose danger.

Vish Naidoo, National Spokesperson at SA Police Service

Attorney and former prosecutor Marius Du Toit says the courts have dealt with the issue of shackles on several occasions.

They have come clear to say that it is extremely undesirable practice to bring the person in shackles because this person has a right to be treated with dignity, has a right to be receiving a fair trial.

Marius Du Toit, Attorney and Former Prosecutor

Our courts have said it is something that should be stopped and it should not be allowed. The High Court in Pretoria has gone on to say if you continue doing it, it will start of contempt of court proceedings against you for bringing people in shackles.

Marius Du Toit, Attorney and Former Prosecutor

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