Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No. 51 of 1977)

Chapter 24 : Evidence

212. Proof of certain facts by affidavit or certificate

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1)Whenever in criminal proceedings the question arises whether any particular act, transaction or occurrence did or did not take place in any particular department or sub-department of the State or of a provincial administration or in any branch or office of such department of sub-department or in any particular court of law or in any particular bank, or the question arises in such proceedings whether any particular functionary in any such department, sub-department, branch of office did or did not perform any particular act or did or did not take part in any particular transaction, a document purporting to be an affidavit made by a person who in that affidavit alleges—
a)that he is in the service of the State or a provincial administration or of the bank in question, and that he is employed in the particular department or sub-department or the particular branch or office thereof or in the particular court or bank;
b)that—
i)if the act, transaction or occurrence in question had taken place in such department, sub-department, branch or office or in such court or bank; or
ii)if such functionary had performed such particular act or had taken part in such particular transaction,

it would in the ordinary course of events have come to his, the deponent’s, knowledge and a record thereof, available to him, would have been kept; and

c)that it has not come to his knowledge—
i)that such act, transaction or occurrence took place; or
ii)that such functionary performed such act or took part in such transaction

and that there is no record thereof,

shall, upon its mere production at such proceedings, be prima facie proof that the act, transaction or occurrence in question did not take place, or as the case may be, that the functionary concerned did not perform the act in question or did not take part in the transaction in question.

 

2)Whenever in criminal proceedings the question arises whether any person bearing a particular name did or did not furnish any particular officer in the service of the State or of a provincial administration with any particular information or document, a document purporting to be an affidavit made by a person who in that affidavit alleges that he is the said officer and that no person bearing the said name furnished him with such information or document, shall, upon its mere production at such proceedings, be prima facie proof that the said person did not furnish the said officer with any such information or document.

 

3)Whenever in criminal proceedings the question arises whether any matter has been registered under any law or whether any fact or transaction has been recorded thereunder or whether anything connected therewith has been done thereunder, a document purporting to be an affidavit made by a person who in that affidavit alleges that he is the person upon whom the law in question confers the power or imposes the duty to register such matter or to record such fact or transaction or to do such thing connected therewith and that he has registered the matter in question or that he has recorded the fact or transaction in question or that he has done the thing connected therewith or that he has satisfied himself that the matter in question was registered or that the fact or transaction in question was recorded or that the thing connected therewith was done, shall, upon its mere production at such proceedings, be prima facie proof that such matter was registered or, as the case may be, that such fact or transaction was recorded or that the thing connected therewith was done.

 

4)
a)Whenever any fact established by any examination or process requiring any skill—
i)in biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, geography or geology;
ii)in mathematics, applied mathematics or mathematical statistics or in the analysis of statistics;
iii)in computer science or in any discipline of engineering;
iv)in anatomy or in human behavioural sciences;
v)in biochemistry, in metallurgy, in microscopy, in any branch of pathology or in toxicology; or
vi)in ballistics, in the identification of fingerprints or body-prints or in the examination of disputed documents,

is or may become relevant to the issue at criminal proceedings, a document purporting to be an affidavit made by a person who in that affidavit alleges that he or she is in the service of the State or of a provincial administration or any university in the Republic or any other body designated by the Minister for the purposes of this subsection by notice in the Gazette, and that he or she has established such fact by means of such an examination or process, shall, upon its mere production at such proceedings be prima facie proof of such fact: Provided that the person who may make such affidavit may, in any case in which skill is required in chemistry, anatomy or pathology, issue a certificate in lieu of such affidavit, in which event the provisions of this paragraph shall mutatis mutandis apply with reference to such certificate.

b)Any person who issues a certificate under paragraph (a) and who in such certificate wilfully states anything which is false, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to the punishment prescribed for the offence of perjury.

 

5)Whenever the question as to the existence and nature of a precious metal or any precious stone is or may become relevant to the issue in criminal proceedings, a document purporting to be an affidavit made by a person who in that affidavit alleges that he is an appraiser of precious metals or precious stones, that he is in the service of the State, that such precious metal or such precious stone is indeed a precious metal or a precious stone, as the case may be, that it is a precious metal or a precious stone of a particular kind and appearance and that the mass or value of such precious metal or such precious stone is as specified in that affidavit, shall, upon its mere production at such proceedings, be prima facie proof that it is a precious metal or a precious stone of a particular kind and appearance and the mass or value of such precious metal or such precious stone is as so specified.

 

6)In criminal proceedings in which the finding of or action taken in connection with any particular fingerprint or body-print is relevant to the issue, a document purporting to be an affidavit made by a person who in that affidavit alleges that he or she is in the service of the State and that he or she in the performance of his or her official duties—
a)found such fingerprint or body-print at or in the place or on or in the article or in the position or circumstances stated in the affidavit; or
b)dealt with such fingerprint or body-print in the manner stated in the affidavit, shall, upon the mere production thereof at such proceedings, be prima facie proof that such fingerprint or body-print was so found or, as the case may be, was so dealt with.

 

7)In criminal proceedings in which the physical condition or the identity, in or at any hospital, nursing home, ambulance or mortuary, of any deceased person or of any dead body is relevant to the issue, a document purporting to be an affidavit made by a person who in that affidavit alleges—
a)that he is employed at or in connection with the hospital, nursing home, ambulance or mortuary in question; and
b)that he during the performance of his official duties observed the physical characteristics or condition of the deceased person or of the dead body in question; and
c)that while the deceased person or the dead body in question was under his care, such deceased person or such dead body had or sustained the injuries or wounds described in the affidavit, or sustained no injuries or wounds; or
d)that he pointed out or handed over the deceased person or the dead body in question to a specified person or that he left the deceased person or the dead body in question in the care of a specified person or that the deceased person or the dead body in question was pointed out or handed over to him or left in his care by a specified person,

shall, upon the mere production thereof at such proceedings, be prima facie proof of the matter so alleged.

 

8)
a)In criminal proceedings in which the receipt, custody, packing, marking, delivery or despatch of any finger-print or body-print, article of clothing, specimen, tissue (as defined in section 1 of the National Health Act, 2003 (Act No. 61 of 2003), or any object of whatever nature is relevant to the issue, a document purporting to be an affidavit made by a person who in that affidavit alleges—
i)ithat he of she is in the service of the State or of a provincial administration, any university in the Republic or any body designated by the Minister under subsection (4);
ii)that he or she in the performance of his or her official duties—
aa)received from any person, institute, State department or body specified in the affidavit, a fingerprint or body-print, article of clothing, specimen, tissue or object described in the affidavit, which was packed or marked or, as the case may be, which he or she packed or marked in the manner described in the affidavit;
bb)delivered or despatched to any person, institute, State department or body specified in the affidavit, a fingerprint or body-print, article of clothing, specimen, tissue or object described in the affidavit, which was packed or marked or, as the case may be, which he or she packed or marked in the manner described in the affidavit;
cc)during a period specified in the affidavit, had a fingerprint or body-print, article of clothing, specimen, tissue or object described in the affidavit in his or her custody in the manner described in the affidavit, which was packed or marked in the manner described in the affidavit,

shall, upon the mere production thereof at such proceedings, be prima facie proof of the matter so alleged: Provided that the person who may make such affidavit in any case relating to any article of clothing, specimen or tissue, may issue a certificate in lieu of such affidavit, in which event the provisions of this paragraph shall mutatis mutandis apply with reference to such certificate.

b)Any person who issues a certificate under paragraph (a) and who in such certificate wilfully states anything which is false, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to the punishment prescribed for the offence of perjury.

 

9)In criminal proceedings in which it is relevant to prove—
a)the details of any consignment of goods delivered to the Railways Administration for conveyance to a specified consignee, a document purporting to be an affidavit made by a person who in that affidavit alleges—
i)that he consigned the goods set out in the affidavit to a consignee specified in the affidavit;
ii)that, on a date specified in the affidavit, he delivered such goods or caused such goods to be delivered to the Railways Administration for conveyance to such consignee, and that the consignment note referred to in such affidavit relates to such goods,

shall, upon the mere production thereof at such proceedings, be prima facie proof of the matter so alleged; or

b)that the goods referred to in paragraph (a) were received by the Railways Administration for conveyance to a specified consignee or that such goods were handled or transshipped en route by the Railways Administration, a document purporting to be an affidavit made by a person who in that affidavit alleges—
c)that he at all relevant times was in the service of the Railways Administration in a stated capacity;
d)that he in the performance of his official duties received or, as the case may be, handled or transshipped the goods referred to in the consignment note referred to in paragraph (a),

shall, upon the mere production thereof at such proceedings, be prima facie proof of the matter so alleged.

 

10)
a)The Minister may in respect of any measuring instrument as defined in section 1 of the Trade Metrology Act, 1973 (Act 77 of 1973), by notice in the Gazette prescribe the conditions and requirements which shall be complied with before any reading by such measuring instrument may be accepted in criminal proceedings as proof of the fact which it purports to prove, and if the Minister has so prescribed such conditions and requirements and upon proof that such conditions and requirements have been complied with in respect of any particular measuring instrument, the measuring instrument in question shall, for the purposes of proving the fact which it purports to prove, be accepted at criminal proceedings as proving the fact recorded by it, unless the contrary is proved.
b)An affidavit in which the deponent declares that the conditions and requirements referred to in paragraph (a) have been complied with in respect of the measuring instrument in question shall, upon the mere production thereof at the criminal proceedings in question, be prima facie proof that such conditions and requirements have been complied with.

 

11)
a)The Minister may with reference to any syringe intended for the drawing of blood or any receptacle intended for the storing of blood, by notice in the Gazette prescribe the conditions and requirements relating to the cleanliness and sealing or manner of sealing thereof which shall be complied with before any such syringe or receptacle may be used in connection with the analysing of the blood of any person for the purposes of criminal proceedings, and if—
i)any such syringe or receptacle is immediately before being used for the said purpose, in a sealed condition, or contained in a holder which is sealed with a seal or in a manner prescribed by the Minister; and
ii)any such syringe, receptacle or holder bears an endorsement that the conditions and requirements prescribed by the Minister have been complied with in respect of such syringe or receptacle,

proof at criminal proceedings that the seal, as thus prescribed, of such syringe or receptacle was immediately before the use of such syringe or receptacle for the said purpose intact, shall be deemed to constitute prima facie proof that the syringe or the receptacle in question was then free from any substance or contamination which could materially affect the result of the analysis in question.

b)An affidavit in which the deponent declares that he had satisfied himself before using the syringe or receptacle in question —
i)that the syringe or receptacle was sealed as provided in paragraph (a)(i) and that the seal was intact immediately before the syringe or receptacle was used for the said purpose; and
ii)that the syringe, receptacle or, as the case may be, the holder contained the endorsement referred to in paragraph (a) (ii),

shall, upon the mere production thereof at the proceedings in question, be prima facie proof that the syringe or receptacle was so sealed, that the seal was so intact and that the syringe, receptacle or holder, as the case may be, was so endorsed.

c)Any person who for the purposes of this subsection makes or causes to be made a false endorsement on any syringe, receptacle or holder, knowing it to be false, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to the punishment prescribed for the offence of perjury.

 

12)The court before which an affidavit or certificate is under any of the preceding provisions of this section produced as prima facie proof of the relevant contents thereof, may in its discretion cause the person who made the affidavit or issued the certificate to be subpoenaed to give oral evidence in the proceedings in question, or may cause written interrogatories to be submitted to such person for reply, and such interrogatories and any reply thereto purporting to be a reply from such person, shall likewise be admissible in evidence at such proceedings.

 

13)No provision of this section shall affect any other law under which any certificate or other document is admissible in evidence, and the provisions of this section shall be deemed to be additional to and not in substitution of any such law.