- S v Elgin High Court Cape Town Reference 274/21  ZAWCHC 147 dated 5 August 2021 (WCC)
Relevant, applicable legal provisions
Section 56 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 (“the CPA”) provides as follows:
“WRITTEN NOTICE TO APPEAR IN COURT
56. Written notice as method of securing attendance of accused in magistrate’s court
(1) If an accused is alleged to have committed an offence and a peace officer on reasonable grounds believes that a magistrate’s court, on convicting such accused of that offence, will not impose a fine exceeding the amount determined by the Minister [of Justice] from time to time by notice in the Gazette, such peace officer may, whether or not the accused is in custody, hand to the accused a written notice [J534 form] which shall -
(a) specify the name, the residential address and the occupation or status of the accused;
(b) call upon the accused to appear at a place and on a date and at a time specified in the written notice to answer a charge of having committed the offence in question;
(c) contain an endorsement in terms of section 57 [of the CPA] that the accused may admit his or her guilt in respect of the offence in question and that he or she may pay a stipulated fine in respect thereof without appearing in court; and
(d) contain a certificate under the hand of the peace officer that he or she has handed the original of such written notice to the accused and that he or she has explained to the accused the import thereof.
(2) If the accused is in custody, the effect of a written notice handed to him or her under subsection (1) [supra] shall be that he or she be released forthwith from custody.
(3) The peace officer shall forthwith forward a duplicate original of the written notice to the clerk of the court which has jurisdiction.
(4) The mere production to the court of the duplicate original referred to in subsection (3) shall be prima facie proof of the issue of the original thereof to the accused and that such original was handed to the accused.
(5) The provisions of section 55 [of the CPA] shall mutatis mutandis [with the necessary changes] apply with reference to a written notice handed to an accused under subsection
(Emphasis added and words in square brackets inserted by Pollex.)