The Law of Evidence Cases and Statutes by SS Terblance with BC Naudé- Reviewed by FWB’s Louis Rood


An understanding of the principles of the law of evidence and how they are

interpreted and applied in practice is essential to the proper functioning of our

courts. Twenty years after this compilation of cases and statutes was first

published in 1997, this new fifth edition marshalls a carefully-chosen selection

of 37 of the most significant cases that illustrate the relevant legal principles.

Notes (in shaded boxes), in both English and Afrikaans, intersperse the

judgments at appropriate places to explain aspects arising in the case, what

the legal issue are and how the court approached these questions. This

commentary threads through each chapter as the topics covered move from

the relevance of evidence, hearsay, admissions and confessions, to the stages

in the trial procedure and the presentation of oral evidence. Subjects covered

include the onus of proof, corroboration and the assessment of evidence.

Extracts from the most important statutes dealing with evidence and referred to

in the cases are provided, including the Civil Proceedings Evidence Act of

1965, the Criminal Procedure Act of 1977, the Law of Evidence Amendment

Act of 1988, the Promotion of Access to Information Act of 2000, and the

Electronic Communications and Transactions Act of 2002, as well as the High

Court Rules on disclosure, inspection and production of documents, and expert

testimony.

The author S S Terblance BIur LLB LLD, and the editor B C Naudé LLB LLM

LLD, both Professors in the Department of Criminal and Procedural Law of the

University of South Africa, have expertly combined their academic and

practical experience to produce a valuable resource that addresses the core of

this vital aspect of the criminal justice system.

Reading these measured judgments and the reasoned, rational and logical

manner in which the judges apply the principles of evidence to the facts, one

cannot but reflect with gratitude on the erudition and intellectual rigour they

bring to the task, particularly in a world of falsehoods, fake news, fabrications,

alternative facts and virtual reality.

This book presents itself as a useful and practical companion to another of

Juta’s recent publications Principles of Evidence (4th edition) by P.J.

Schwikkard & S.E. Van der Merwe, also available in Afrikaans as Beginsels

van Bewyssreg.

 

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