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SA Crime Quarterly

On-line version ISSN 2413-3108
Print version ISSN 1991-3877


SWEMMER, Sheena. Justice Denied? Prosecutors and presiding officers' reliance on evidence of previous sexual history in South African rape trials. SA crime q. [online]. 2020, n.69, pp.45-56. ISSN 2413-3108.

This article presents data from a study conducted by the Medical Research Council of South Africa, focusing on rape attrition in South Africa at different stages in the processes (from reporting at a police station to potential conviction). The study found that of the 3 952 reported cases of rape analysed 65% were referred to prosecution, and trials commenced in 18,5% of cases. Of the total 3 952 cases reported, 8,6% resulted in a guilty verdict. Using qualitative data from a subset of trial transcripts, the article focuses specifically on the problematic views of both presiding officers and prosecutors based on rape myths and gender-stereotyping at trial, and suggests that these are a factor affecting the attrition rate between cases referred to trial and those that result in a not guilty verdict.

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