Six students from Central University of Technology (CUT) appeared in Bloemfontein’s Magistrate’s court yesterday to find out whether the charges against them will be withdrawn.
The students were charged with public violence after their involvement in Fees Must Fall protests last year. The magistrate assessed their legal diversion outcomes which determined whether the charges remain.
A legal diversion is an alternative to prosecution where the accused is given the opportunity to do something outside the court in an attempt to have the charges dropped. There are various types of diversions ranging from community service, make restitution for damage or obtain counselling for antisocial conduct.
Legal diversions are usually given to first time criminal defendants in lesser crimes. Most often charges are dismissed when the defendant cooperates and the diversion results display the defendant’s progress.
Two days ago on January 31, nine Fees Must Fall activists from CUT appeared in the same court and the charges against them were dropped. The nine also faced charges of public violence after their involvement in protests last year. According to the court official the nine students passed their diversion counselling.