“We would like to confirm that in terms of our policy as contained in the Legal Aid guide 2014, arson is an offence for which legal aid is provided in the district court,” spokesman Mpho Phasha said in a statement.
He said the body regretted a statement made by one of its candidate attorneys that legal representation was not provided to accused persons in arson cases.
“The error by the candidate attorney in court is regretted. We will again reiterate these policies to our lawyers during their induction programme when they join our organisation and during on-going training programmes.”
He said a candidate attorney made the erroneous statement to a magistrate in Mqanduli, Eastern Cape.
“A senior attorney from our Mthatha Justice Centre will today [Tuesday] visit the magistrate concerned in the Mqanduli court and arrange for legal aid to be provided to both the accused in this arson matter.”