- S V Njiva and Another 2017 (1) SACR 395 (ECM)

Background

Section 217(1) of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 (“the CPA”) provides as follows:

“217. Admissibility of confession by accused

(1) Evidence of any confession made by any person in relation to the commission of any offence shall, if such confession is proved to have been freely and voluntarily made by such person in his/her sound and sober senses and without having been unduly influenced thereto, be admissible in evidence against such person at criminal proceedings relating to such offence: Provided -

(a) that a confession made to a peace officer, other than a magistrate or justice, or, in the case of a peace officer referred to in section 334 [of the CPA], a confession made to such peace officer which relates to an offence with reference to which such peace officer is authorised to exercise any power conferred upon him/her under that section, shall not be admissible in evidence unless confirmed and reduced to writing in the presence of a magistrate or justice; and
(b) that where the confession is made to a magistrate and reduced to writing by him/her, or is confirmed and reduced to writing in the presence of a magistrate, the confession shall, upon the mere production thereof at the proceedings in question -

(i) be admissible in evidence against such person if it appears from the document in which the confession is contained that the confession was made by a person whose name corresponds to that of such person and, in the case of a confession made to a magistrate or confirmed in the presence of a magistrate through an interpreter, if a certificate by the interpreter appears on such document to the effect that s/he interpreted truly and correctly and to the best of his/her ability with regard to the contents of the confession and any question put to such person by the magistrate; and

(ii) be presumed, unless the contrary is proved, to have been freely and voluntarily made by such person in his/her sound and sober senses and without having been unduly influenced thereto, if it appears from the document in which the confession is contained that the confession was made freely and voluntarily by such person in his/her sound and sober senses and without having been unduly influenced thereto.”

(Particulars in square brackets inserted by Pollex.)

Section 271(1) of the CPA provides as follows:

“271. Previous convictions may be proved

(1) The prosecution may, after an accused has been convicted but before sentence has been imposed upon him/her, produce to the court for admission or denial by the accused a record of previous convictions alleged against the accused.”
(Emphasis added.)

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[This is only an extract of an article published in Pollex in Servamus: January 2018. To enquire how to obtain the rest of this article, contact Servamus’s offices at tel: 012 345 4660 or send an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]