Review — In what cases — Part-heard matter in which magistrate had resigned — Magistrate having duty to finalise case — Resignation of magistrate not justifiable reason for invoking s 304 of Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977.

S v DYIDI 2018 (1) SACR 630 (WCC)

Review — In what cases — Part-heard matter in which magistrate had resigned — Magistrate having duty to finalise case — Resignation of magistrate not justifiable reason for invoking s 304 of Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977.

 

The present matter was sent on special review because the presiding magistrate had subsequently resigned, and was no longer available to hear the matter. At the stage when the magistrate’s resignation took effect, the accused had already pleaded, and the magistrate had noted the accused’s plea explanation in terms of s 115 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 (the CPA).

 

Held, that the fact, that the magistrate had resigned and was no longer available to finalise his part-heard matters, was not a justifiable reason for invoking s 304 of the CPA. The provision was not enacted for situations such as the present one. The original magistrate had a duty to finalise the case and could not shirk that duty merely because he had resigned. (See [10] – [12].) The application for special review was dismissed and the matter was remitted back to the magistrates’ court for the original magistrate to finalise the trial.

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