n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - The Foxcroft debacle

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According to media reports during October 1999, Mr Justice John Foxcroft of the High Court in Cape Town sentenced a 54-year-old man from Elsies River to seven years' imprisonment for the rape of his 14-year-old daughter ("the Foxcroft case") (see Die Burger 13 & 14 October 1999). According to these media reports, Foxcroft "deviated from the legally prescribed minimum sentence of imprisonment for life" and reportedly remarked as follows when sentencing the accused:

"I am satisfied with the circumstances taken into consideration by me - the accused's age, no previous convictions and that the element of prevention and the protection of the public are of slight importance - are of substantial and compelling circumstances (as stated in the Act) which justifies a lesser sentence than imprisonment for life".
This judgment provoked criticism from various sectors of the community, so much so that there was talk to summons Foxcroft before a parliamentary committee in order to explain this judgment and sentence. At the time of writing, the author has not yet set eyes on the verbatim judgment and is therefore totally reliant on media reports.


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