About this book
INNOVATION: Audio introduced
All chapters have been reformatted and posted with audio accompanying the text. Readers will be able to listen as they read, or to simply listen instead. Over time all chapters will be upgraded to include audio.
This site offers a free online textbook of criminal law in South Africa, with commentary on current affairs. The textbook is almost complete, with perhaps a few chapters on grounds of justification & a chapter on degrees of participation to follow.
It is current – as far as I am aware – as at 24 April 2017 – at least in so far as reported judgements go.
It is not a commercial venture in any way – I receive no revenue whatsoever from this site.
All posts must be regarded as working papers – subject to revision. Please forgive any typos you encounter. While the material will be proof read and checked, the rate at which this text will be written, virtually live, will not permit a careful and full proof editing. In time I will ensure that it is subjected to a thorough proof edit. In the meantime I must ask that you bear with me – I am giving priority here to substance over form and hope you can do the same. Finally, while the materials are free of charge, I do ask you only to give credit and reference this site where you rely on material on this site.
The chapters will operate at two levels: a basic level, in the main text, and an advanced level, contained in footnotes and textboxes – or otherwise under headings indicating that a particular section is of an advanced nature. Ordinarily the basic level will confine itself to the law as it is. The more advanced level will include authority or additional authority for a proposition, criticism of the law as it is, and proposals for what the law ought to be.
This site is not an advice centre, nor can I possibly respond to personal queries. It is aimed at giving access to knowledge from which an ordinary person is excluded because of the cost of tertiary education, textbooks, journals, and other printed material, or by the prohibitive costs of consulting lawyers. The site is not generally concerned with criminal procedure, nor the law of evidence – although on occasion, one or other such topic will be discussed. The site is not concerned with the practice of law in any way. It should not be regarded in any way as a substitute for consulting an attorney where you have been charged with a criminal offence. If you wish to pursue a criminal charge against any person, you need to lay a charge at a police station – ideally the station for the area in which the offence took place.
I will endeavour to keep the resources on this site up-to-date and as accurate as possible, but can give no absolute guarantees. Nevertheless, if you follow the material that will be posted here, you ought to have a fairly solid understanding of the criminal law of South Africa by the end – enough, at least, to ask the imperative question in any true democracy: is the criminal law what it ought to be?