- S V Sebofi 2015 (2) SACR 179 (GJ)
Mr Sebofi (the accused) was convicted on two counts of rape by the regional court in Roodepoort (the trial court), and sentenced to life incarceration.
On appeal by the accused against his convictions and sentence before the High Court in Johannesburg (the court of appeal), the court criticised the calibre of the presentation of this case before the trial court.
With regard to the prosecution, the court of appeal remarked that a prosecutor could not present a case by just pouring out a jumble (Afrikaans: “mengelmoes”) of random facts. This was unfair to a court and it retarded the aim of a fair trial which, apart from other factors, needed to be coherent and orderly (Afrikaans: “samehangend en ordelik”).
According to the court of appeal, the defence fared little better. The cross-examination hardly plumbed the body of evidence and appeared to have no plan or objective and was either blind or inattentive to several material or potentially material details. The narrative of the testimony referred to relevant aspects which were ignored or overlooked. According to the court of appeal, an adversarial process* is founded on proper preparation and commitment to testing the testimony available. It was not served by treating the process as a clerical chore (a tedious or routine task).