n South African Journal of Criminal Justice - Does the principle of legality require statutory crimes to have specific penalty clauses? A critical analysis of the decisions of the High Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal in : comments

Volume 25, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1011-8527
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2118



The decision in 2012 (2) SACR 67 (WCC) temporarily pulled the rug out from under the National Prosecuting Authority regarding its endeavours to institute prosecutions against offenders in the vast majority of offences in terms of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007 (the 'Sexual Offences Act'). Prins was charged with a contravention of s 5(1) of the said Act (the crime of sexual assault) for allegedly having touched the breasts of the complainant without her consent. It was contended on his behalf that the charge did not disclose an offence because the Act contained no penalty clause for the particular offence. The regional magistrate upheld the objection and quashed the charge. The Director of Public Prosecutions, Western Cape, appealed against this decision. The Western Cape High Court rejected the appeal, which resulted in a further appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal, which expeditiously delivered judgment in 2012 (2) SACR 183 (SCA).

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