THE STATE v MOLABA (K698/2015) [2016] MWIRC 446 (03 May 2016);

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IN THE GAUTENG DIVISION OF THE HIGH COURT, PRETORIA

Review  Case no:  K698/2015

High court  ref no:  72/16

THE STATE

v

MESHACK  SAMUEL MOLABA

REVIEW  JUDGMENT

J W LOUW, J

[1] The accused was arraigned before  the  Kwa-Thema  magistrates' court on a charge  of contravening s 17(a)  of the  Domestic  Violence  Act 116  of 1998 and  a  charge  of  assault  with  intent   to  do  grievous   bodily  harm. After several  postponements, the matter came before  Acting Magistrate  J. M. Moloto on 7 December  2015.   On that  date, Mr. Moloto  postponed  the matter to 28 January  2016 for trial.   Due to a bona fide mistake, he noted on  the  JlS   charge  sheet  cover  that  the  accused  had  pleaded  guilty   in terms  of  s 112(2) of  Act  51 of  1977  ("the   Act"),  that  the  accused  was found  guilty   and  that   he  was  cautioned   and  discharged.     Those  notes should  have  been  made  on  the  charge  sheet  cover  of  another   matter which served  before  Mr. Moloto on that  day, where the accused was a Mr. Mbonani.   Realising  his mistake  afterwards, Mr. Moloto, in the absence of the  accused,  deleted   the  plea,  conviction  and  sentence  and  wrote  the word "ERROR" between  two  parallel  lines  across the  relevant part  of the charge sheet cover.

[2]  The Acting  Senior  Magistrate, Springs  has referred the  matter to  the High Court for a special review  in terms  of s 304( 4) of the Act.  She states in her submission  that  Acting  Magistrate  Moloto  was functus  officio  at the end  of  the  trial  and  that  he  was therefore not  competent to  amend  the record as such amendment could only be made on application by the prosecutor  or the accused in terms  of Rule 66(6)  of the Magistrates' Court Act 32 of 1944.    No such application had been made.   The Acting  Senior Magistrate  is  therefore  of  the   view   that   the   proceedings  were   not   in accordance with  justice.

[3] Sec. 304( 4)  of the  Act only  permits a special  review after  an accused has been sentenced, not  before.  Sec. 304A  permits a special  review  after conviction but  before   sentence. In the  present matter, the  accused  has not  been  convicted or  sentenced. There  is nothing to  set  aside.  A review in terms of either of the  sections  is therefore inappropriate.   In my  view, the erroneous inscription was simply  an administrative error which  was adequately rectified by the  presiding acting  magistrate.

[ 4]   The   Acting    Senior    Magistrate's  view   that    an   application  for   the correction of  the  error should  have  been  made  by  the  prosecutor or  the accused  in  terms of  rule  66(6) of  the  Magistrates' Court   Rules  is,  with respect, not  correct.   The  rule  refers  to  an  application by  the  prosecutor or  the  accused  after   judgment for  correction of  an  error in  the  court's record  or a certified transcript thereof.  The  rule  does  not  find  application in the  present matter.

[5] In the  result, the  matter is remitted to the  trial  court  for  finalization of the  trial.

 

JW LOUW

JUDGE OF THE GAUTENG DIVISION OF THE  HIGH COURT, PRETORIA

I agree

DS FOURIE

JUDGE OF THE GAUTENG DIVISION OF THE  HIGH COURT, PRETORIA