17 June 2024


International Cases

Lungisa Grifhs v The State

South Africa

01.09.2021

Criminal

Accused could only have been properly convicted, if the evidence of the single witness was clear and satisfactory in all material respects

In facts of present case, on 28 November 2018, the appellant, Mr. Lungisa Grifhs, was convicted together with two of his erstwhile co-accused in the Regional Court for the Eastern Cape Region, on one count of murder read with the provisions of Section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1997. The Regional Court found substantial and compelling circumstances that warranted the imposition of a sentence less than the one prescribed in the Criminal Law Amendment Act. The Appellant was accordingly sentenced to 16 years imprisonment. His application for leave to appeal against both conviction and sentence was dismissed.

The Appellant subsequently petitioned the Judge President of the Eastern Cape Local Division of the High Court, in terms of Section 309 of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977, for leave to appeal. The petition met with the same fate. Consequently, the Appellant approached present Court for special leave to appeal in terms of Section 16(1)(b) of the Superior Courts Act, 2013, against the dismissal of his petition for leave to appeal. The only issue on this appeal is whether there are reasonable prospects of success in the appellant’s appeal.

The Appellant was convicted on the evidence of a single witness, Mr Bavu. It is trite that the Appellant could only have been properly convicted if the evidence of the single witness was clear and satisfactory in all material respects. The Appellant contended that it was not reliable, as it was improbable and inconsistent with the admitted statement that the witness had made to the police. It suffices to say that, it appears that there are substantial unexplained contradictions between Mr. Bavu’s oral testimony and his written statement to the police.

Accordingly, without pre-judging the merits, present Court find that there are reasonable prospects of success on the appeal against both conviction and sentence. ‘The Appellants’ petition for leave to appeal in terms of Section 309 C of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 against both conviction and sentence is granted.’

Tags : Conviction Evidence Credibility

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