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

Chapter 6 :Summons

54. Summons as method of securing attendance of accused in magistrate's court


(1) Where the prosecution intends prosecuting an accused in respect of any offence and the accused is not in custody in respect of that offence and no warrant has been or is to be issued for the arrest of the accused for that offence, the prosecutor may secure the attendance of the accused for a summary trial in a lower court having jurisdiction by drawing up the relevant charge and handing such charge, together with information relating to the name and, where known and where applicable, the residential address and occupation or status of the accused, to the clerk of the court who shall—
(a) issue a summons containing the charge and the information handed to him by the prosecutor, and specifying the place, date and time for the appearance of the accused in court on such charge; and
(b) deliver such summons, together with so many copies thereof as there are accused to be summoned, to a person empowered to serve a summons in criminal proceedings.



(a) Except where otherwise expressly provided by any law, the summons shall be served by a person referred to in subsection (1)(b) by delivering it to the person named therein or, if he cannot be found, by delivering it at his residence or place of employment or business to a person apparently over the age of sixteen years and apparently residing or employed there.
(b) A return by the person who served the summons that the service thereof has been effected in terms of paragraph (a), may, upon the failure of the person concerned to attend the relevant proceedings, be handed in at such proceedings and shall be prima facie proof of such service.


(3) A summons under this section shall be served on an accused so that he is in possession thereof at least fourteen days (Sundays and public holidays excluded) before the date appointed for the trial.