Criminal Matters

Director of Public Prosecutions, Gauteng v Pistorius

  • This highly publicised case dealt with mens rea being the intention to kill. The court here held that by the accused having fired four shots at the person behind the door, the accused would have foreseen someone behind the door and still reconciled their conduct to this foresight and thus constituted dolus eventualis. 
  • The court went onto hold that putative private defence as a defense was not present in this case. The Supreme Court of Appeal therefore changed the charge of culpable homicide to one of murder.

S v Asele

  • In this case, the appellant appealed his sentence of life imprisonment for murder contending the judge of the court a quo had erred in inferring dolus directus despite having admitted dolus eventualis in his plea. The appellants contended that after the prosecution had accepted the appellant’s guilty plea, the judge had no right to infer such dolus directus.
  • The appeal court however held that the trial court did not read into the plea more than what the appellant had admitted. The court held that in his plea the accused admitted he was guilty of dolus eventualis something he was not entitled to do as it was for the court to make findings of law not the accused.
  • For this reason the appeal was dismissed.

S v Dalindyebo

  • The case at hand dealt with the accused’s actions of destroying many of his subjects houses and severely assaulting some of his subjects. The accused states he could not be convicted as the houses which were destroyed were on land owned by him and thus acceded to the land.
  • The court rejected such an argument and held that a person may be guilty of the crime of arson even where they set fire to their own immoveable property with the intent to injure another.
  • The court therefore dismissed the appeal.

  • This case dealt with the charge of murder and the proof required thereof which is the intention to kill. Here a gang of robbers with firearms were involved in a shoot out whereby a victim of the robbery managed to shoot and kill one of the robbers.
  • The court held that the gang members themselves had foreseen the likelihood of resistance and had in any event continued with the robbery and that the robbers had therefore been correctly convicted of the murder of their fellow robber.

S v RC

  • This case dealt section 18 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act which deals with sexual grooming together with the manipulation of a child’s sexual state of mind for an adults own amusement.
  • The court held such is extremely harmful conduct having far-reaching consequences even if one had no intention of ultimately performing an overt sexual act.

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