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n Acta Juridica - Mandatory and minimum sentences : considering s 51 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1997 : sentencing
The President's signature brought ss 51 to 53 of the 1997 Criminal Law Amendment Act into operation on 1 May 1998. By specifying certain conditions to certain crimes, attended by specific terms of imprisonment, these provisions brought quite a drastic adjustment to the way in which the courts determine sentences that are to be imposed for these offences.
Initially, the Act was intended to be a short-term measure that would have 'ceased to have effect' on 30 April 2000. However, the President extended its operation according to powers afforded him, first for one year and then for a further two years. On 30 April 2003 when it ceased to have effect, its operation was extended for another period of two years.
In this chapter I attempt to consider the finer details of s 51, including those not yet interpreted by the courts. In order to do so the intention of the legislature and the courts' approach in interpreting the provisions have to be considered as well. In closing, a brief attempt is made to evaluate the Act.
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