Advocate appointed as 'watchdog' over gender-based violence court cases

17 July 2020 - 09:58 By Aron Hyman
Advocate Leslie Morris will keep a watchful eye on police inefficiencies when dealing with gender-based violence cases in the Western Cape.
Advocate Leslie Morris will keep a watchful eye on police inefficiencies when dealing with gender-based violence cases in the Western Cape.
Image: Western Cape Government

The Western Cape safety and security department has bolstered its fight against gender-based violence (GBV) with the appointment of Advocate Leslie Morris to its court watching brief unit.

Morris has been part of the unit, which monitors criminal cases struck from the court roll as a result of possible police inefficiencies, for eight years.

Members of the unit "conduct physical visits to courts and are required to listen to the proceedings to identify inefficiencies in relation to the investigation or trial', the department said in a statement.

“When cases are struck off the court roll because of systemic failures, these are captured and reported to the provincial [police] commissioner to ensure remedial action is taken to finalise these cases or institute disciplinary action, where necessary.”

Community safety MEC Albert Fritz said Morris would specifically monitor GBV and domestic violence cases.

“Morris is passionate about addressing these social ills and has, in his spare time, established a departmental guideline on how to obtain a protection order. This guideline will inform a larger communications campaign by the department to address GBV and domestic violence,” said the department.

Morris was quoted as saying: “In my role, I hope to go beyond monitoring cases and towards advocacy. We must empower women with knowledge about their rights.

“Whether you live in Constantia or Lutzville, it is important you know your rights and be treated by the SA Police Service with the basic respect you deserve. My work conducted within the unit will not be limited to the metropole but will also assist those in rural communities.” 

Fritz said the department would establish a standard operating procedure for dealing with all GBV cases.

“This will entail working closely with the police to ensure better sharing of information on related cases. I welcome the tasking of advocate Morris to monitor related cases. His empathy and legal expertise will go a long way in bringing guilty parties to book and ensuring the safety of women in our society,” said Fritz.


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