CRIMINAL LAW

5. SENTENCE

In criminal law, there are three different types of jurisdictions: District, Regional and the High Court.  The difference of these courts relates to their maximum sentence, and the type of legal representative that may appear there.  The practitioners at our firm can, and has, appeared in all of these courts.  In these three different jurisdictions, there are more specialised courts, such as the Specialised Commercial Crimes and Military Courts, which are Regional Court jurisdictions, and the Circuit Courts, which are High Court jurisdictions.

5.1. MINOR OFFENCES

These offences are typically prosecuted in a District Court (Magistrate's Court), where the maximum sentence is 3 years, with a few exceptions, notably being domestic violence, where the maximum sentence is 5 years.

Offences that are typically heard in the district court, which is not an exhaustive list, are:

 - Theft (shoplifting, cable theft, unauthorised use, etc.)

 - Assault (common and grievous bodily harm)

 - Contravention of a Protection Order

 - Fraud

 - Culpable Homicide

 - Reckless & Negligent Driving

 - Drunk Driving

 - Possession of undesirable substances (small quantities)

 - Possession of stolen property

 - Housebreaking with the intent to steal and theft

 - Being illegal in the country

 - Public Violence

 - Drinking in Public

 - Speeding

 - Inconsiderate Driving

 - Robbery

5.2. SERIOUS OFFENCES

These offences are typically prosecuted in a Regional Court (Magistrate's Court), where the average sentence the prosecution wants is 15 years imprisonment, or alternatively the High Court, where the average sentence the prosecution would want is life imprisonment.

Offences that are usually heard in these courts, which is not an exhaustive list, are:

 - Rape

 - Murder

 - Attempted Murder

 - Hijacking

 - Possession of a Stolen Vehicle

 - Housebreaking with the intent to rob and or assault

 - Assault on a minor

 - Armed Robbery

 - Treason

© 2020 Anton Swart Attorneys Inc

Block 15 D, Central Office Park

257 Jean Avenue,

Centurion, Pretoria

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