The first Justice Project investigation has been published in the Mail
& Guardian
. It highlighted the plight of awaiting trial prisoners
who have spent between 7 and 14 years behind bars before conviction
or acquittal.

Former Wits Justice Project Director Jacques Paw looked into the cases of:
* Businessman Dries Human (53) who spent  14 years on charges that he masterminded a car theft syndicate. Last year magistrates granted Human a permanent stay of prosecution after it emerged that some of the evidence in his trial had disappeared from a safe in the court. Human is now suing the police for malicious  and wrongful prosecution.
* Angolan refugee Serge Christiano. He warned magistrates in 2004 that he would harm himself if there were further delays to his case. He was ignored and slashed his body with a razorblade in court. Christiano spent years in prison on a charge of murder and rape.  He was acquitted.

The nightmare for awaiting trail prisoners is that they receive no contact visits or education, they undergo no rehabilitation programme and have little access to psychological services. They get very limited use of recreational facilities.


Read the Mail & Guardian story (on PDFs)

Page 1: 'We just sit here and rot'

Page 2: Trial dropped after 14 years