Witness Anonymity and the South African Criminal Justice System

Le Roux-Kemp, Andra (2010) Witness Anonymity and the South African Criminal Justice System. South African Journal of Criminal Justice, 23 (3). pp. 351-370. ISSN 1011-8527

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Abstract

This article will focus on witness anonymity as a tool to encourage the reporting of criminal activities and criminal victimisation by victims and other witnesses, and as a mechanism to ensure that witnesses in criminal proceedings are duly protected. This will be juxtaposed against an accused’s right to a fair trial, in terms of s 35(3) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 and relevant provisions of the Criminal Procedure Act,1 as well as the foundational principle of the criminal justice system that an accused has a right to confront witnesses testifying against him or her and that such testimony should be given in an open court and in the presence of the accused. Arguments in favour of witness anonymity, primarily based on the contention that the right of confrontation is not absolute, will be considered together with examples from other jurisdictions and arguments asserting that the curtailing of the right of confrontation to accommodate true witness anonymity are too extreme and inconceivable in terms of an accused’s right to a fair trial.

Keywords:Witness Anonymity, Fair Trial Rights, Law of Evidence, Criminal Procedure, South Africa
Subjects:M Law > M140 Comparative Law
M Law > M211 Criminal Law
Divisions:College of Social Science > Lincoln Law School
ID Code:36605
Deposited On:19 Aug 2019 09:19

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