It is a basic principle of the law of criminal procedure in almost every civilised community that the trial of an accused must take place in his or her presence and that the verdict of the court and the sentence that it imposes must be pronounced in his or her presence. evaluate this position in light of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 and judicial interpretation.
According to the provisions of the South African constitution, an accused person must be physically present at the trail so that he can participate in a meaningful and informed manner in the criminal proceedings instituted against him. As such, the accused presence at the trial provides him/her with a platform to exercise his rights to defense. Ideally, the constitution also provides for the accused to be present at an appeal which is composed of all proceeding including sentencing. The accused’s presence is not only important to establish the factual circumstances of the case. It also enables the court to correctly assess the accused’s personality and character.