A 10-year retrospective review on mob justice fatalities examined at the Germiston Forensic Pathology Medico-legal Service

Medar, Sajida
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Mob justice fatalities are a gross violation of human rights in that they represent extra-legal punishment. There is a paucity of research relating to the demographics of at-risk groups, nature of injuries and the impact to the Forensic Pathology Service (FPS). This was a retrospective study over 10 years at Germiston Forensic Pathology medico-legal service. The objectives were to describe the demographics of the deceased, identify the profile of at-risk groups, describe the trends of the number of fatalities and causes of death over time, assess hospitalisation frequency, describe the nature and location of injuries sustained, and to report on ancillary investigations performed. Data was collected from the South African Police Service (SAPS) 180 scene investigation record form, hospital notes, final post mortem report, Notification of death (BI1663) form and additional statements. 354 cases were analysed. There was no clear trend in the number of mob justice fatalities. Six areas were highlighted to have a higher incidence of mob justice fatalities. The at-risk population was young to middleaged black South African males. The majority of deaths were due to blunt force head injury, and were so severe that most deaths occurred within 24 hours of injury. A standardised operating procedure should be developed for uniformity in managing mob justice cases. Adequate resources should be distributed to appropriate departments to enable a reasonable turnaround time of ancillary investigations and high incidence areas should receive sufficient and appropriately skilled resources to engage with and monitor the respective communities to curb these killings.
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Medicine (MMed), Johannesburg, 2018
Mob Justice Fatalities