On 25 May 2019, what started as a joyous bank holiday for Siyanda ended as a nightmare and changed her life forever. Without any provocation, Siyanda was racially abused and physically assaulted by adults much older than her.
Siyanda and her family expected the police to investigate the incident thoroughly but what they experienced was a litany of failures. To their horror Siyanda who has disabilities, was arrested and then charged with GBH, and she was convicted and sentenced to four and half years on 13 March 2020.
- Siyanda is 4” 10’ and was 20 years old when the attack happened
- She was attacked by 3 people, 2 of them male and twice her age
- Due to recent reconstructive surgery on her leg, Siyanda was unable to run and could not flee from her attackers
- There were 5 witness, 3 of which were Siyanda’s attackers and the other 2 are family members of the attackers
- The attackers were not taken into custody, arrested or charged
- All 5 witness were permitted to remain at the site of the incident and their statements not taken until the following day
- Siyanda suffered terrible injuries which are documented in her medical records
- Siyanda told the officers at the time she had been racially attacked, yet they admitted in court they did not investigate her allegations of a racial assault
Siyanda’s solicitors have lodged an appeal against her conviction. The grounds include the failure by the police to present crucial forensic evidence during the trial; the admission during the trial by police that they failed to investigate the race hate crime against Siyanda; and the complete undermining of the assailants versions of events as evidenced by the injuries sustained by Siyanda. Moreover, it is argued the jury failed to properly understand the directions of the sitting Judge in his summing up. The appeal is likely to be listed for a hearing towards end of 2020.
A national campaign ‘Free Siyanda‘, has been launched to right the wrong and ensure that justice prevails in this case.
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