When cops act with impunity

Suspects arrested in connection with criminal activities have an inalienable right to a fair trial and to legal representation.

Suspects arrested in connection with criminal activities have an inalienable right to a fair trial and to legal representation.

In addition, they are to be presumed innocent until proven guilty and thus cannot be compelled to make any confession or admission that could be used as evidence against them.

At a glance, it would appear none of these rights were respected by police at Soweto's Dobsonville police station when they released a suspected mugger to the father of his victim - now arrested on suspicion of having murdered him.

To release a suspect to a complainant is not only criminal, but a serious dereliction of duty on the part of the police involved.

And there is no reason why any police officer having been found so responsible should not face charges of being an accessory to murder.

In this case, police actions seem to have contributed to the fate of the suspect.

Police have an obligation to protect the suspect while they investigate the complaint and compile evidence that will help the prosecution team when he appears in a court of law.

We do not condone acts of crime, but we do not believe that the stolen cellphone was worth the suspect's life.

We hope police will not soft-pedal on this matter now that there's a prima facie case of an act of omission by their own.

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