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

Chapter 23 : Witnesses

189. Powers of court with regard to recalcitrant witness


(1) If any person present at criminal proceedings is required to give evidence at such proceedings and refuses to be sworn or to make an affirmation as a witness, or, having been sworn or having made an affirmation as a witness, refuses to answer any question put to him or refuses or fails to produce any book, paper or document required to be produced by him, the court may in a summary manner enquire into such refusal or failure and, unless the person so refusing or failing has a just excuse for his refusal or failure, sentence him to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years or, where the criminal proceedings in question relate to an offence referred to in Part III of Schedule 2, to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years.

[Section 189(1) substituted by section 4 of Act No. 126 of 1992]


(2) After the expiration of any sentence imposed under subsection (1), the person concerned may from time to time again be dealt with under that subsection with regard to any further refusal or failure.


(3) A court may at any time on good cause shown remit any punishment or part thereof imposed by it under subsection (1).


(4) Any sentence imposed by any court under subsection (1) shall be executed and be subject to appeal in the same manner as a sentence imposed in any criminal case by such court, and shall be served before any other sentence of imprisonment imposed on the person concerned.


(5) The court may, notwithstanding any action taken under this section, at any time conclude the criminal proceedings referred to in subsection (1).


(6) No person shall be bound to produce any book, paper or document not specified in any subpoena served upon him, unless he has such book, paper or document in court.


(7) Any lower court shall have jurisdiction to sentence any person to the maximum period of imprisonment prescribed by this section.