Investigative Journalism

The wasted years: When justice isn’t just

"The US National Registry of Exonerations currently lists 43 men whom the criminal justice system has robbed of more than 30 years of their lives as punishment for crimes they did not commit. When Ricky Jackson, sentenced to death and incarcerated for 39 years – including two years spent on death row – was exonerated in 2014, he was believed to be the longest-serving exoneree in US history. Today, Richard Phillips, who spent 46 years behind bars for a murder he didn’t commit and was released aged 72 in 2018, holds this dubious record."


A joint can still get you in the joint

In 2012, I was arrested with two friends for smoking a joint I had just bought off a car guard in Melville, Joburg. Now that dagga has been partially legalised, I feel I can come out of the pot closet.


Following ConCourt ruling, SAPS continues to arrest people for possession of cannabis

The new ConCourt judgment legalising private use of cannabis should lead to a decrease in dagga arrests, but power still rests with the police. To date, cannabis arrests are one of the biggest SAPS arrest categories. Complete decriminalisation would free up R3.5-billion in police resources. This could be put to good use in combating the worrying 7 % increase in the murder rate, contained in the latest SAPS crime stats. 


Getting it wrong — guilty until proven innocent

Wrongful convictions are an uncomfortable fact of life, which in South Africa remains mostly unacknowledged, usually ignored and often denied. The establishment of a South African version of the US National Registry of Exonerations could well be an important step in the right direction. 


Innocence versus the plea deal: How justice fails

Lawyers can sometimes bully an accused into signing a deal to save time in court, writes Azarrah Abdul Karrim.

At the age of 19, Calvin Moyo left Zimbabwe in search of a better life in South Africa. His siblings were already in the country and his brother took him in.