National 18.8.2016 06:08 am

Corruption Watch backs NSPCA in Concourt challenge

Constitutional Court justices.  Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Constitutional Court justices. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Corruption Watch wants the right of juristic persons to bring private prosecutions to ensure perpetrators of corrupt activities are held accountable.

Corruption Watch has been admitted by the Constitutional Court as amicus curiae in the matter between the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) and the minister of justice and constitutional development and the national director of public prosecutions, it said yesterday.

The case concerns a challenge by the NSPCA to the Criminal Procedure Act, which allows only a private person to institute a private prosecution to the exclusion of juristic persons. Juristic persons refer to organisations, associations and companies.

However, both the NSPCA and Corruption Watch contend that such legislative exclusion is unconstitutional and should be amended to include juristic persons. The case will be heard in the Constitutional Court on August 23.

“In both the high court and the Supreme Court of Appeal, it was found that there was no right for juristic persons to bring a private prosecution in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act. In its current appeal against the legislative provision, the NSPCA argues that juristic persons should be allowed to prosecute those responsible for wrongdoing, in this case acts of animal cruelty, if the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has refused or decided against prosecuting such crimes.

The NPA, as the ultimate decision maker regarding whether to prosecute on behalf of the state, often decides not to do so for a variety of reasons,” Corruption Watch said in a statement.

Corruption Watch executive director David Lewis added that its decision to make submissions in the matter stemmed from its “substantial interest” in obtaining the right of juristic persons to bring private prosecutions to ensure that perpetrators of corrupt activities were held accountable for their actions.

 

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