oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Drug control and the law in Botswana



The article is divided into three parts. The first gives a brief historical account of general drug control, both internationally and locally. The second deals with problems arising from control of Mandrax in Botswana. These problems fall into three main categories. The first deals with the evidentiary aspect. A striking feature of the legislation dealing with drug offences is the provision that on proof by the prosecution of the existence of certain facts, some other facts shall be presumed to exist unless the contrary is proved by the accused. The effect of such a provision is to modify crucially the general principles governing the burden of proof. An evidentiary principle so formulated needs to be reconciled with the presumption of innocence and the ambit of the overall burden of proof resting on the prosecution. The second covers the constitutional aspect. In the constitutional sphere the primary contrast is between invalidity of legislation on the ground of repugnance to provisions of the fundamental law. The third aspect is that of sentencing. Sentences imposed by statutes have stripped the courts of the power to exercise any measure of discretion. The third part of the article looks at problems inherent in any attempt to control drugs and proposes what is thought should be done if drug control is to be achieved.


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