South African Law of evidence as it applies to the child witness: A Critical evaluation
Journal of Psychology in Africa
University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa; Faculty of Law, Pietermaritzburg Campus, P.O. Box X01, Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
This article examines aspects of the South African criminal justice system which are of particular relevance to the child witness, and the reception of testimony by the court. The author focuses on: 1) the need to prepare the child witness for the experience in court, 2) establishing the competence of the child witness, 3) the procedure for swearing In a child who does not understand the religious sanctity of the oath, 4) the use of an intermediary to convey the child's testimony to court, 5) circumstances in which the child does not have to enter the court room to testify, 6) the admissibility of pre recorded videotaped statements of the child witness, 7) the evaluation of the child's evidence, and 8) whether the adversarial model of criminal justice is appropriate In the context of the child witness. The article concludes by suggesting that reform is needed in these areas. Copyright © 2009 Journal of Psychology in Africa.