oa De Jure - Defeating the anomaly of the cautionary rule and children’s testimony – S v Haupt 2018 (1) SACR 12 (GP) - case law

Volume 51 Number 2
  • ISSN : 2225-7160



The origins of the cautionary rule lie in the practice of warning the jury against certain kinds of witnesses, notably accomplices, complainants in sexual cases and young children. This comes from the notion that these witnesses could not safely be relied upon without some kind of corroboration or other form of evidence confirming their trustworthiness. The presiding officer was also required to show that he or she had kept the warning given to the jury in mind. In this way the cautionary rule persisted even when the jury system was abolished (Zeffert & Paizes Essential Evidence (2010) 308-309).

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