n South African Journal of Criminal Justice - The chain of custody and formal admissions

Volume 23, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1011-8527
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2118



The article looks at different aspects of the chain of custody, such as why it is necessary, in which circumstances there a need for proving an unbroken chain of custody, what should be proven by the prosecution to show an intact chain of evidence and what should the legal result be where proper proof is omitted, or section 220 admissions improperly or ambiguously made by a legal representative. This article specifically focuses on the proof of the chain of custody where the prosecution wants to rely upon the real evidence as the basis for expert testimony by using DNA analysis. The question discussed is whether a broken chain of evidence results in the inadmissibility of the evidence, or merely in diminishing the probative value of that evidence. The second part of the article uses the case 2007 JDR 1299 (W), as an example for an argument relating to the different aspects of the proof of a chain of evidence. The article concludes that the time might have come to revise the principle that an accused is bound by admissions incorrectly made by legal representatives.

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