- S V Bomvana 2019 (1) SACR 418 (ECM)
Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 (“the CPA”) provides as follows:
“174. Accused may be discharged at close of case for prosecution
If, at the close of the case for the prosecution at any trial, the court is of the opinion that there is no evidence that the accused committed the offence referred to in the charge or any offence of which s/he may be convicted on the charge, it may return a verdict of not guilty.”
Mr Bomvana, the accused, was standing trial before the High Court in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape on charges of two counts of murder (related to minibus-taxi feuds); attempted murder; alternatively, conspiracy to commit murder; two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm; and two counts of unlawful possession of ammunition.
At the end of the State/prosecution’s case, the accused applied for his discharge in terms of section 174 of the CPA supra.
During the main trial, a trial-within-a-trial was held to determine the admissibility of certain statements made by the accused. The State’s evidence, provided by a SAPS commissioned officer, was that the accused was not regarded as a suspect when the police went to fetch him at a building site and took him to the police station where police officials questioned him without explaining his constitutional rights to him up until the accused implicated himself. He was then arrested and then informed of his constitutional rights.