oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Expedient legal fiction and death sentences in Bophuthatswana

Volume 24, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



In this article the author addresses the increased application of the common purpose doctrine in Bophuthatswanan capital cases since the period of political upheaval in the mid-eighties. The use of legal fiction in capital cases may affect the principle of equality before the law. It may also have a bearing on the constitutionality of capital punishment in Bophuthatswana where its Bill of Rights and legal system is regularly vaunted by politicians and members of the judiciary, while the population at large remain unimpressed and cynical about the legal order. The application of such a legal fiction emphasises the arbitary nature of the death penalty. The resumption of hangings in Bophuthatswana illustrates this point.

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