Criminal Justice System
Question 1: In a town called Peace Land, the supporters of the Fiesta football team learn that the supporters of the Jubilee football team in the nearby city about 40 km away have damaged the ground on which the Final between both teams is to be played the following day. A crowd of Fiesta fans armed with deadly weapons attack the homes of the supporters of the Jubilee football team in the town. In the attack, 10 men are killed, 5 women are gravely hurt, many homes are destroyed and over 50 people injured.
Imagine that you and your classmates are now part of the criminal justice system. First divide the class into the following four groups of persons: Police, Public Prosecutor, Defence Lawyer, Judge
The column on the right provides a list of functions. Match these with the roles that are listed on the left. Have each group pick the functions that it needs to perform to bring justice to those who were affected by the violence of the Fiesta fans. In what order, will these functions be performed?
|Police||Hear the witnesses|
|Public Prosecutor||Record the statements of witnesses|
|Defence Lawyer||Cross examine the witnesses|
|Judge||Take photographs of burnt homes|
|Record the evidence|
|Arrest the Fiesta fans|
|Write the judgment|
|Argue the case for the victims|
|Decide for how many years the accused will be put in jail|
|Examine the witnesses in court|
|Pass the judgment|
|Get the assaulted women medically examined|
|Conduct a fair trial|
|Meet the accused persons|
|Police||Record the statements of witnesses, Take photographs of burnt homes, Record the evidence, Get the assaulted women medically examined, Meet the accused persons, Arrest the Fiesta fans|
|Public Prosecutor||Cross examine the witnesses, Argue the case for the victims, Examine the witnesses in court|
|Defence Lawyer||Cross examine the witnesses, Examine the witnesses in court|
|Judge||Write the judgment, Decide for how many years the accused will be put in jail, Pass the judgment, Conduct a fair trial|
Question a: Now take the same situation but ask one student who is a supporter of the Fiesta Club to perform all the functions listed above. Do you think the victims would get justice if only one person performed all of the functions of the criminal justice system? Why not?
Answer: If only one person performed all of the functions of the criminal justice system then nobody will get justice. A single individual can have a bias towards only one party. This can cloud his sense of judgment. A fair trial cannot be conducted in this situation.
Question b: State two reasons why you believe that different persons need to play different roles as part of the criminal justice system?
Answer: Different parts of the criminal justice system have different roles to play. A particular task needs a particular set of skills and expertise. For example; the job of a police is entirely different from the job of a lawyer. On the other hand, a judge needs to be neutral and has to hear the case without prejudice. So there is a need of different persons for different roles in the criminal justice system.