n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Multi-inter-trans-disciplinary paradigms in criminal investigation - editorial

Volume 26 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



Criminal investigation is one of the key objectives of law enforcement. Whenever a criminal violation takes place, it becomes necessary to restore social order through the process of criminal investigation. The underlying premise of investigating a crime is to gather evidence and then to decide if there is sufficient evidence to indicate the suspects guilt and to institute prosecution. A criminal investigation docket is therefore opened for the obtaining of statements, documents and other information relating to the investigation. It is also important that investigating officers bear in mind rules of the law of evidence during their investigation, because not all information and exhibits are admissible as evidence. Each step in the investigation process is recorded in the investigation diary of the docket. When the investigation is completed, the docket is submitted to the prosecutor who must decide whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute the person suspected of having committed the crime. If the prosecutor has decided to prosecute the suspect, he/she will formulate the charge and decide when and in which court the trial will be heard. These documents will be sent to the investigating officer. The investigating officer is responsible for serving the summons/indictment/warrant on the accused and for ensuring that all the witnesses are also subpoenaed to be at the court on the particular day for the trial to take place. The docket is sent to the court a few days before the court date to enable the prosecutor to prepare the case for trial.

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