Ascertaining the Charge (Zimbabwe)

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Having located the client, the client should be visited at the police station or other place of detention as soon as possible. On arrival at the police station the first thing to do is to find out who is the investigating officer and to find out from him what offence the police suspect the client of having committed. If the investigating officer is unavailable, the lawyer should speak to the member-in-charge about this. If the arrest was done on the basis of an arrest warrant, the lawyer should ask to see the arrest warrant as this will specify the charge. If the arrest was without warrant, in terms of s 32(5) CPEA the police must inform the person arrested forthwith of the cause of his arrest. The lawyer must ask the police why the client was arrested without warrant.

It is important that the lawyer finds out as much as possible about the charge and the basis thereof from the police so that when he interviews his client he can discuss the State case with him and compare the client's version with the State case, as far as it is known.

See Zimbabwe Criminal Defense Manual