The national council of provinces (NCOP) seeks comment on the Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill.
The national assembly passed the bill and sent it to the NCOP for concurrence in September 2021.
The bill was tabled in parliament in May 2021.
The justice and constitutional development department published the bill’s explanatory summary in Government Gazette 44505 at the end of April 2021.
The bill aims to amend the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977, so as to:
• further regulate the publication of information which reveals or may reveal the identity of an accused, a witness or person against whom an offence has allegedly been committed who is under the age of 18 years; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.
According to the bill’s memorandum, section 154(3) of the act provides that no person shall publish any information that reveals or may reveal the identity of an accused under the age of 18 years or of a witness at criminal proceedings under the age of 18 years.
The Constitutional Court, in Centre for Child Law and Others v Media 24 Limited and Others, held that section 154(3) of the act does not afford protection to child victims of criminal offences and that the protection does not continue to apply even after a child accused, witness or victim turns 18 years of age, which it should do.
Section 154(3) was, therefore, declared inconsistent with the constitution and parliament was given 24 months to correct the defect.
The portfolio committee on justice and correctional services passed the bill with amendments.
The select committee on security and justice invites comment on the bill until 5 November 2021.