n South African Journal of Criminal Justice - Criminal procedure : recent case

Volume 24, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-8527
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2118



Following the Constitutional Court's decision in 1995 (2) SACR 761 (CC) [1996 (1) SA 725], the 'blanket' docket privilege that existed in South African law, which denied accused persons access to documents that formed part of the police docket, was found to be in conflict with the fair trial guarantee contained in the Bill of Rights. Consequently, docket privilege no longer applies to documents that are incriminating, exculpatory or likely to assist an accused in his or her defence (at para 72). However, the exercise of the protection of the right to a fair trial entitles an accused to not just witness statements or exhibits but also to all documents that may have a bearing on the accused's ability to 'adduce and challenge evidence' (at para 57).

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