Why I Thought It was Important To Appear In Court

Three years ago I was robbed at gun point. One of the most dramatic stories I have to tell. Shortly before it all “went down” I had a sense something unsavoury was about to happen. Somehow that ‘knowing in my knower’ anchored me. I didn’t freak out when it was all going down. As luck would have it, the police weren’t too far, and some people managed to help apprehend one of the perpetrators. The police carted him off to their shop. His accomplices got away. Fortunately, the perp caught is the one who had my MacBook Pro.

At least I got that back not too long after the nasty ordeal. Using find my iPhone, we followed / tracked the perp with my phone and lost him at the train station. The police wanted to get the other perps and the firearm off the street but failed. Later in the week I was able to send the detective in charge of the / my case, the street my iPhone kept ‘walking’ in. And then, silence. Nothing for three years.

Then, as they say, “out of the blue”, Ingrid’s phone rang as she did the dishes on Friday morning. It was the prosecutor. He wanted to confirm I would be in court on Tuesday morning to testify. When Ingrid handed me her phone he sounded surprised and concerned. I hadn’t received the summons to appear in court on a Tuesday morning.

It had been three years. My life and I have moved on. Somehow, I had concluded nothing was going to happen with the case. I had resigned to the fact that the main reason for reporting the robbery was insurance claims. I didn’t think the police would still be at it, but they were. They continued to investigate.

It is obvious they had enough for the prosecutor to feel there was a case. And, a court date set and everything. Now, I wondered if it was worth showing up in court. I had random thoughts:

  • Why should I even bother.
  • Such an inconvenience.
  • Three years later.

After my moment, I decided I would testify in court. Here’s why I thought it was important to appear in court:

Others

Often cases like mine get dismissed because of ‘victims’, like me, not showing up. This, in turn, sees the (alleged) perpetrators getting off the hook. In some way means they miss the opportunity of rehabilitation. Everyone deserves a chance at a second chance. Sometimes consequences, are the intervention people need to change.

There’s also possibility the message the (alleged) offenders get is lack consequences. As a result, they end up back on the streets. This increases the likelihood of more victims. And, the cycle could continue. I’m concerned about my future safety. I also don’t want others to go through what I went through. I’d like to do what I can

Justice To Work

I’ve heard people lament the justice system. Complaints about the ineffectiveness of police abound. In my case, despite it being ‘a long time’ the police have done their work. The judiciary is being put to work. Why wouldn’t I want the ‘justice’ system to work. Not appearing in court could be akin sabotaging it.

Laws are partly a declaration of the kind of society we’d like to live in. Not cooperating with the laws is works against that. That’s another reason I thought it was important to appear in court. How can I express frustration with policing and the justice system in other areas when I shun the part I have to play?

The Police and Judiciary

Imagine being a detective or prosecutor. And, all your work goes up in smoke because people don’t show up to testify. At some point, despondency and apathy will set in. Indifference is a close companion to despondency and apathy. Is it possible that the police and others involved in the justice system are as frustrated. I’d like to believe I’m doing my part in helping them do their work.

The ultimate result is that I reduce their frustration and encourage them to do their work. This will matter when it comes to some of the wider issues, such as corruption, we often complain about.

Outro

I could justify not showing up in court in many ways:

  • I’m busy
  • I’ve got other things to do
  • Add other reasons here

In the end, I think it is the right thing for me to do. That’s why I thought it was important to appear in court.


Originally published at Blessing Mpofu.