ConCourt rules common purpose must apply to rape: all accomplices equally liable
The Constitutional Court has ruled this week that the doctrine of common purpose should be applied to the crime of rape.
The judgment has implications for how gang rape cases will be dealt with by in law.
Common purpose is a legal principle that places equal liability on all criminal suspects, regardless of exactly who participated in which elements of the crime.
It has applied to crimes such as murder and assault, but for years, legal experts have been divided on whether the doctrine of common purpose should apply to rape.
Two men who were convicted of rape 20 years ago under the doctrine of common purpose had approached the ConCourt to appeal their convictions.
The duo was a part of a group of men that went on a rampage in Tembisa in the late 1990s.
Some of the men committed acts of rape while others were apparently posted outside to be on the lookout.
The Constitutional Court found, "the main object of the doctrine of common purpose is to criminalise collective criminal conduct and in the process address societal needs to combat crime committed in the course of joint enterprises.
"There is no reason why the doctrine should not apply to gang-rape under the common law", the judgment reads.
Judgment: The main object of the doctrine of common purpose is to criminalise collective criminal conduct and in the process address societal needs to combat crime committed in the course of joint enterprises. (1 of 2) pic.twitter.com/pGja45DzR2— Constitutional Court (@ConCourtSA) December 11, 2019
The Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) at Wits University was a friend of the court in the matter.
Candidate Attorney at CALS, Vuyolwethu Mntonintshi, says the judgment found that it would be irrational not to apply the principle of common purpose to the crime of rape.
What we were looking at is: If common purpose applied to other crimes, why then can it not apply to rape?Vuyolwethu Mntonintshi, Candidate Attorney - Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) at Wits
Listen to the discussion on Weekend Breakfast with Africa Melane:
A movement of jobless graduates staged a demonstration at Church Square in Pretoria on Friday demanding that the government tackles graduate unemployment.Read More
Attorney and cannabis activist Ricky Stone says it may be premature to criticise the draft dagga bill in its current form as it will likely be revised.Read More
"We look for vehicles listed against the Saps database," says Vumacam CEO Ricky Croock.Read More
Researchers say that the amount of load shedding in 2020 has already exceeded 2019, and the year could still get worse.Read More
The Advertising Regulatory Board has declared the raunchy ad 'could cause offence' and may not be flighted when kids are watching.Read More
"Our drivers are in shock. Our passengers are in shock," says Bronwen Dyke-Beyer. "It looks like it [was a coordinated attack]."Read More
Inter-provincial travel is no longer a risk and ban on alcohol sales no longer needed, say Covid-19 Ministerial Advisory chair.Read More
It's not yet confirmed when President Cyril Ramaphosa will next update South Africans on the ongoing lockdown.Read More
Premier Alan Winde says the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) field hospital will be decommissioned over the next few weeks.Read More
The Western Cape's Head of Health, Dr. Keith Cloete, says the Covid-19 recovery rate in the province has shot up due to a reduced number of new cases.Read More