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

Chapter 22 : Conduct of Proceedings

158. Criminal proceedings to take place in presence of accused


(1) Except as otherwise expressly provided by this Act or any other law, all criminal proceedings in any court shall take place in the presence of the accused.


(a) A court may, subject to section 153, on its own initiative or on application by the public prosecutor, order that a witness or an accused, if the witness or accused consents thereto, may give evidence by means of closed circuit television or similar electronic media.
(b) A court may make a similar order on the application of an accused or a witness.


(3) A court may make an order contemplated in subsection (2) only if facilities therefor are readily available or obtainable and if it appears to the court that to do so would—
(a) prevent unreasonable delay;
(b) save costs;
(c) be convenient;
(d) be in the interest of the security of the State or of public safety or in the interests of justice or the public; or
(e) prevent the likelihood that prejudice or harm might result to any person if he or she testifies or is present at such proceedings.


(4) The court may, in order to ensure a fair and just trial, make the giving of evidence in terms of subsection (2) subject to such conditions as it may deem necessary: Provided that the prosecutor and the accused have the right, by means of that procedure, to question a witness and to observe the reaction of that witness.


(5) The court shall provide reasons for refusing any application by the public prosecutor for the giving of evidence by a child  complainant below the age of 14 years by means of closed circuit television or similar electronic media, immediately upon refusal and such reasons shall be entered into the record of the proceedings.

[Section 158(5) inserted by section 68 of Act No. 32 of 2007]


[Section 158 substituted by section 7 of Act No. 86 of 1996]