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oa Litnet Akademies : 'n Joernaal vir die Geesteswetenskappe, Natuurwetenskappe, Regte en Godsdienswetenskappe - Strafregtelike struikelblokke in die mishandelde persoon se stryd om geregtigheid : regte

Volume 11, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1995-5928

 

Abstract

Mishandeling in die intieme binnekring van die huis, met veral kinders en vroue as slagoffers, is 'n onaangename werklikheid. Die ironie dat slagoffers van hierdie tipe geweld dikwels eie reg gebruik om hulself te beskerm, en uiteindelik in strafverrigtinge in die beskuldigdebank beland, skrei ten hemele. Die meeste van hierdie slagoffers word dan ook aan moord skuldig bevind. Die algemeenste verwere wat sulke "mishandelde beskuldigdes" opper, is noodweer en nie-patologiese ontoerekeningsvatbaarheid. Tog slaag weinig met hierdie verwere, en het die beperktheid en ontoereikendheid daarvan regskundiges al laat opmerk dat die howe verplig is om dié reëls te ontwikkel en met die Grondwet te versoen. Hierdie artikel probeer om die weg vir sodanige verdere ontwikkeling te baan deur te let op die struikelblokke wat mishandelde persone dikwels as beskuldigdes in die soeke na geregtigheid ondervind, met bepaalde klem op voormelde twee beperkte verwere. Die struikelblokke vir 'n suksesvolle beroep op noodweer is die vereiste van onmiddellike bedreiging van die beskuldigde, en die noodsaaklikheid van die afweerhandeling. Die verweer van nie-patologiese ontoerekeningsvatbaarheid is ewe beperk, veral ook omdat die voortbestaan van dié verweer sedert 2002 1 SASV 663 (HHA) in die weegskaal is. Na 'n kort vergelyking tussen die Suid-Afrikaanse en Kanadese standpunte is die gevolgtrekking dat Suid-Afrika heelwat by die Kanadese regstelsel kan leer oor die hantering van die "mishandelde beskuldigde": die Kanadese hoogste hof van appèl het byvoorbeeld die vereiste van onmiddellike bedreiging aansienlik uitgebrei om ook voorsiening te maak vir die mishandelde persoon wat reeds voor die aanvang van 'n volgende aanval teen die mishandelaar optree. Die vereiste van redelike gedrag bly staan, maar word beskou in die lig van die mishandelde se unieke omstandighede. Ook wat nie-patologiese ontoerekeningsvatbaarheid betref, kan 'n soortgelyke benadering as die Kanadese s'n - naamlik die gebruik van 'n gemengde toets van toerekeningsvatbaarheid wat uit objektiewe én subjektiewe elemente bestaan - die mishandelde persoon se stryd om geregtigheid in Suid-Afrika beduidend vergemaklik.

Abuse in the intimate inner circle of the home, with mostly children and women as the victims, is an unpleasant reality. Recent news reports about a father on the East Rand who allegedly held captive, assaulted and tortured his five children between the ages of two and 16 from birth have sent shock waves through the country. The World Health Report reveals that approximately one third of all women worldwide are victims of some or other form of domestic violence, while it has also been reported that women are more often assaulted or killed by their intimate partners than by anyone else. The terrible irony is that victims of this type of violence often have little choice but to take the law into their own hands to protect themselves, and end up as the accused in criminal proceedings. To add insult to injury, most of these victims are convicted of murder. The most common defences raised by these "abused accused" are self-defence and non-pathological criminal incapacity. In South Africa, however, few succeed on these grounds. The severe limitations and inadequacy of these defences have in fact led jurists to note that the courts are obligated to develop these rules and align them with the South African Constitution, which enshrines everyone's right to have their dignity respected and protected, the right to freedom and security of the person, the right to bodily and psychological integrity, the right not to be subjected to torture in any way, as well as not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way. This article attempts to pave the way for such further development by identifying the obstacles often experienced by abused persons in search of justice, with a particular focus on the aforementioned two limited defences, and offering some suggestions as to the possible improved handling of these cases, drawing on the Canadian example.

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2014-12-01
2016-12-11

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