Been arrested?

Need a bail application?

Ettienne Barnard Attorneys

is the trade name of Barnard Labuschagne Inc company reg no. 1999/015298/21

Conveyancing need not be a nightmare

We can assist with the transfer of property ownership whether you are buying or selling.

Do you need a commercial attorney

We can read or draft your contract and then help you manage compliance.

Modern approach to litigation

How we keep up to date with trial developments.

Damages for Negligence

Delictual claims often depend on some negligence by others.Read about it here.

Consultations need not always be a costly affair

But let these pages help you prepare.

Consultations need not always be a costly affair

But let these pages help you prepare.

Matrimonial Dispute?

What are your rights and what is important in dealing with a marriage dispute?

Delictual Claims

Let us advise you on how to choose between claiming, defending or settling.

Risk Analysis and Avoidance

Free up your time to focus on your business expertise. We can assist to take care of the legal stuff.

Community involvement

We actively participate in Legal Profession Development for the benefit of the community.

A little more about us

Read about our 21 years in law.

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LITIGATORS, NEGOTIATORS, CONVEYANCERS and ADMINISTRATORS OF ESTATES
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Accused in a Criminal Trial?

 

CRIMINAL LITIGATION
When accused of contravening a statute or committing a crime, you are usually charged by the state. The type of court case is referred to as criminal litigation.
Right to Representation

Whether guilty or not, you are entitled to be represented by an attorney of your choice. You are also entitled to remain silent and first consult an attorney. Attorneys are trained and experienced in applying the law and scrutinising charges. They can also point you to defences that may be available to one based on the given set of facts. Even if you intend pleading guilty, the attorney can present a case in mitigation of sentence or assist in the plea bargaining process.

The Courts
There are different courts in which one can be charged, depending on the nature of the charge and the location of the alleged offence. Most criminal charges are started in the Magistrates’ Courts ‹known as the lower courts in South Africa.› More serious offences ‹or repeat offenders› are referred to the Regional Courts or the applicable High Court. We have attorneys to assist you with right of appearance in all these forums. We also act from time to time on Legal Aid matters where the Legal Aid Board funds the litigation. This aid is only given to people who cannot afford paying ‹according to a prescribed means test.›
The trial
The process commences with a first appearance at which the accused is advised of various rights regarding the trial. Thereafter the matter is, more often than not, postponed for further investigation or trial. One has the right to a “speedy” trial and may object to postponement without good reason. If the court refuses postponement, it could in certain circumstances mean the end of the matter and the accused free to go. If the accused is in custody, he/she may give notice and apply for Bail. Once the trial commences, the public prosecutor ‹who represents the state› will read the charge to the accused and he/she will be required to plead. There are different mechanisms ‹ways to plead› in the Criminal Procedure Act, depending on how one plans to conduct ones defence.
If a not guilty plea is entered, the State must lead evidence by calling witnesses. The witnesses may be cross examined by the accused. The rules of procedure and evidence govern the cross–examination and the trial attorney is trained/experienced in this discipline.
After the State has finished presenting its evidence, the accused may argue for acquital. If not acquitted, the accused may testify and/or present evidence by calling witnesses to “prove” his/her defence. The burden of proof is however on the State to show beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty.
Once the defence ends its case, argument will be presented by both sides. Then the presiding officer ‹eg. the magistrate› must consider and bring out his/her verdict of guilty or not–guilty.
If there is a finding of guilty, the accused may present evidence in mitigation of sentence. Such evidence may be contested by the State. The court then decides on an appropriate sentence.
The right to appeal
If unhappy with either the verdict or the sentence, one may apply for leave to appeal to a Higher court. The appeal process is often rewarding, but it is a minefield of time periods and procedural rules and it is best to let a professional handle your appeal.

You can view our Matrimonial Law pages by clicking  here

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