oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - The accused's right to be present: a key to meaningful participation in the criminal process

Volume 38, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



The article examines the question of how the accused's presence facilitates his meaningful participation in the criminal process. Foreign jurisdictions such as the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom and decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations Human Rights Committee are examined for guidance. The above examination reveals that the accused's presence during criminal proceedings is not absolute. In exceptional circumstances, the accused's presence from the courtroom can be dispensed with. The article recommends the development of adequate legal measures to address competing interests and technological changes without compromising the constitutional rights of the accused. The accused's presence and personal participation in the trial, is fundamental to a 'just and fair' trial.

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