S v Slatter 1983 ZLR 144

Dumbutshena JP:

Accused were charged with aiding and abetting sabotage at the Air Force Base. No evidence was adduced implicating the accused apart from their own statements which were procured through threats and torture while accused were denied access to their lawyers.

Statute law and the constitution protects right of access to lawyer. Failure to request a lawyer is not the end of the matter. Proceedings are vitiated when lawyers seeking access to clients are denied access. Magistrates are duty bound to inform accused of the right. Magistrates obliged to question accused to ascertain whether confessions were illegally induced. Magistrates must ensure that accused understand their statements. Denial of access to lawyers militates against admissibility of statements. Evidence of maltreatment makes statements inadmissible.

On appeal to the Supreme Court:

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