The Black Lawyers Association have accused officials who are allegedly involved in the escape of Thabo Bester of attacking the court and undermining the rule of law.
It said the drama around Bester’s escape was also a serious indictment of the criminal justice system in the country.
The organisation warned that those who appropriated themselves the right to release people who have been jailed for their crimes had flouted every single piece of evidence, trial and judgment imposed by the courts.
This cannot be allowed in a democratic state, where the rule of law must prevail.
The BLA said all those who are involved in the escape of Bester must face the full might of the law.
“The disappearance or escape is a serious indictment on our criminal justice system, in particular, the correctional component of it. This escape demoralises the police, the prosecution team, and the intelligence services, who worked very hard to find the suspect and put together solid evidence to sustain a conviction. All their hard work has come to nought as a result of the ineptitude or greed of some correctional services officials,” said BLA.
It said the officials who were involved had let the nation down.
The law will have to take its course in dealing with Bester and his alleged accomplices in the escape.
“As BLA, we call upon the Minister of Justice and the head of the prison concerned to take all the appropriate steps in making sure that those responsible for Thabo Bester's escape are found and dealt with in accordance with the law. We also urge the Minister of Police to spare no resources in ensuring that this criminal is arrested and returned to his cell to complete his sentence in accordance with the law,” it said.
When a court sentences an accused person, the intention is to ensure they serve their full sentence in prison.
The courts have a responsibility and duty to protect victims of crime from perpetrators, and that right cannot be taken away by other people or prison officials who collude with criminals, said the organisation.
It is in the interest of justice that Bester is immediately arrested and sent back to jail and, for those involved in his brazen escape to face the consequences for their actions.