In law, there is a rule called "doctrine of common purpose". If John and Peter decided to rob a bank and on their way John shows Peter his gun and during the robbery John used his gun to shoot a guard, Peter can be charged with murder. This is a typical example of the "doctrine of common purpose". On the other hand, if John or Peter is killed by a guard, neither one of them can be charged with murder.
Contextualising the above example and comparing it to what happened to the miners at Marikana and the charging of miners with murder leave much to be desired. I fail to understand why the NPA decided to charge the miners with murder. However, one cannot turn a blind eye on political influence.
This is a very bad decision that the NPA has took and it will require exceptional and sounds reasons why the charged of murder should be preferred.
Beside the political influence on the NPA, this charges might be a tactical strategy by the NPA buy time to investigate. This is much because the prosecution have the right to change and modify the charges at a later stage. In terms of the Criminal Procedure Act, if an accused is charged with either Schedule V or VI offence, such an accused will require to show that exceptional circumstances exist so that the court can grant bail.
Furthermore, after the first appearence (that is within 48hr of arrest), the court normally postpone the matter for seven days allowing the Investigation Officer to confirm work and physical address of the accused. If the Investigating Officer failed to confirm the address, the accused cannot be punished.
Coming back to matter in discussion, the NPA seems to be using its powers to achieve unknown results. What is it that they are gaining in detaining the miners? Nothing. Dont they know that they cannot be successful in proving murder during the trial? Obviously they do. Why are they continuing with this behaviour?
Nobody know, but we will alsways speculate. Does the doctrine of common purpose apply to this case? It does not apply.
In detaining the accused, the NPA is trying to break the spirit of the miners and to make sure that they do not return to Marikana as this will solidly intensify the strike. The reason for this is because the justice system and business are there to serve those who are in power and the rich.
Why cant the same NPA charge robbers with murder if the one of the robbers is killed during shoot outs? Where in South Africa people are charged for murder if they are the one who were shot at by the police? If they have charged the miners with the murder of two police official it would have made sense.
This decision by the NPA is scandolous, immature and does not promote the issue of safety and freedom to assemble and to protest.
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