Chapter

The Judicial Process

Murray Colin and Sanders Peter

in Medicine Murder in Colonial Lesotho

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780748622849
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652952 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748622849.003.0009
The Judicial Process

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The judicial process began with the preparatory examination, which was usually held in the small courtroom attached to the District Commissioner's office in the headquarters of the district in which the medicine murder was committed. The purpose of the preparatory examination was to establish whether or not there was ‘sufficient reason’ for indicting the accused. If there was, the presiding officer would commit them for trial. If not, he would discharge them. At the heart of almost every judgement was the question of the validity of accomplice evidence. In some cases, injustices were softened when the question of clemency was considered by the High Commissioner. Until 1959, when discretion was allowed for extenuating circumstances, the statutory punishment for murder was hanging, but the High Commissioner could commute this to imprisonment.

Keywords: District Commissioner; medicine murder; trial; accomplice evidence; High Commissioner's discretion

Chapter.  11138 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: African Studies

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