R v K

JurisdictionSouth Africa
JudgeCentlivres CJ,Hoexter JA, Steyn JA, Hall JA and Van Blerk AJA
Judgment Date01 June 1956
Citation1956 (3) SA 353 (A)
Hearing Date22 May 1956
CourtAppellate Division

G Centlivres, C.J.:

The appellant was convicted by HENOCHSBERG, J., and two assessors sitting in a Circuit Local Division of the Supreme Court in Natal of murdering, on 16th October, 1955, his mother to whom I shall refer as the deceased. As the appellant was under the age of 14 years on H that date he was sentenced to receive in private a moderate correction of six cuts with a cane and to be placed under the supervision of the Probation Officer at Durban. Having been granted leave to appeal by HENOCHSBERG, J., he now appeals to this Court.

The deceased was an inmate of a mental institution for about nine years. In about 1952 she was released. From time to time after that she had relapses and became violent towards members of her family.

Centlivres CJ

Whenever that happened the appellant's father left his home and he stated in evidence that when he did that she improved and that as the deceased was not normal on 16th October, 1955, he left his home, leaving the deceased, his daughter and the appellant there. While he was absent the events occurred which led to the charge of murder.

A At some time during the day in question the appellant and the deceased were in one of the rooms of the house where they lived. The appellant took or was given an apple. While the appellant's sister, who was between 15 and 16 years of age, was sweeping the back verandah, she heard a noise and ran to see what was happening. She stated in evidence:

B 'I saw my mother catch hold of my brother (the appellant), and I caught my brother's shirt and separated him from my mother. Then my brother ran away and my mother chased him with a plank.'

Continuing, the appellant's sister said that the deceased afterwards fell down and collapsed and her brother ran away. The deceased was taken C to hospital where she died. The doctor who conducted the postmortem examination said that death was due to a large haemorrhage in the left side of the chest associated with a stab wound in the neck. There was also a stab wound in the left arm. The wounds could have been caused by a sharp instrument like the blade of a knife. The doctor also said that D it was apparently a known fact that persons who are ordinarily not strong can, under the strain of mental illness, become possessed of exceptional physical powers.

The appellant was arrested the day after the deceased died. The detective sergeant who conducted the investigations into the death of the deceased found that there were signs of a struggle in the yard of E the house where the appellant's family lived. He failed to find any instrument which could have caused the death of the deceased.

The appellant's father stated in evidence that the appellant had a little pocket knife for the purpose of sharpening pencils. When he (the father) returned home on 16th October, 1955, the appellant was not there and only came back the following day. The father said that the appellant F was a scholar in Standard V, that he came near the top of his class and that he knew the difference between right and wrong. He also said that he thought the appellant appreciated the fact that a knife could be dangerous.

The appellant did not give any evidence. His father said that the appellant told him that he was eating an apple when the deceased struck him. He ran out of the house:

G 'he ran up to a lemon tree in the yard and he turned. When he turned his mother had already approached him and fell on top of him. When he was trying to run away from her she grabbed him and Parvathy' (the appellant's sister) 'arrived on the scene and separated them and then he ran away.'

In giving judgment the trial Court said that it was the unanimous view H of the Court that there was a struggle between the appellant and the deceased at the spot where the lemon tree stood and that that was where the appellant inflicted two stab wounds upon the deceased. Continuing the Court said:

'It seems to us that the only possible reasonable inference to be drawn is that the accused inflicted these wounds upon his mother by means of some sharp instrument such as a knife. The accused did own a knife, but one cannot speculate whether it was that knife or some other knife. It is clear that a

Centlivres CJ

search was made for the knife that was used, but it was, however, not found. On the evidence it is clear that the accused knew the difference between right and wrong, that he was familiar with the use of a knife, and knew, or ought to have known, that a knife was a dangerous and a lethal weapon.

Now the accused actually stabbed the deceased not once but twice.

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25 practice notes
  • S v Mncube en 'n Ander
    • South Africa
    • Invalid date
    ...145 op 146; S v Teixeira 1980 (3) SA 755 (A) op 765; Ntanjana v Voster and the Minister of Justice 1950 (4) SA 398 (K) op 407D; R v K 1956 (3) SA 353 (A) op 358G - 359B; R v Zikalala 1953 (2) SA 568 (A) op 573B - D; R v Patel 1959 (3) SA 121 (A) op 123; S v Nyokong and Another 1975 (3) SA 7......
  • 2011 index
    • South Africa
    • Juta South African Criminal Law Journal No. , September 2019
    • August 16, 2019
    ...211-212R v Jantjies 1958 (2) SA 273 (A) .................................................................... 69R v K 1956 (3) SA 353 (A) ........................................................................ 36-37R v Katz 1946 AD 71...............................................................
  • 2015 index
    • South Africa
    • Juta South African Criminal Law Journal No. , August 2019
    • August 16, 2019
    ...368R v Hlatwayo 1933 TPD 441 ................................................................ 368R v K 1956 (3) SA 353 (A) ................................................................... 373© Juta and Company (Pty) Ltd R v Katz 1959 (3) SA 408 (C) .............................................
  • National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa v G M Vincent Metal Section (Pty) Ltd
    • South Africa
    • Invalid date
    ...African Commercial Catering and Allied Workers Union and Others (1994) 15 ILJ 283 (I.AC) at R v Crawford 1947 (3) SA 586 (SWA) R v K 1956 (3) SA 353 (A) at 358A-C R v Smit 1995 (1) SA 239 (C) at 241H-242C Ross Robson Irrigation (Pty) Ltd v Stondermacher (1996) 17 ILJ 125 (I.AC) at 130B-C S ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
19 cases
  • S v Mncube en 'n Ander
    • South Africa
    • Invalid date
    ...145 op 146; S v Teixeira 1980 (3) SA 755 (A) op 765; Ntanjana v Voster and the Minister of Justice 1950 (4) SA 398 (K) op 407D; R v K 1956 (3) SA 353 (A) op 358G - 359B; R v Zikalala 1953 (2) SA 568 (A) op 573B - D; R v Patel 1959 (3) SA 121 (A) op 123; S v Nyokong and Another 1975 (3) SA 7......
  • National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa v G M Vincent Metal Section (Pty) Ltd
    • South Africa
    • Invalid date
    ...African Commercial Catering and Allied Workers Union and Others (1994) 15 ILJ 283 (I.AC) at R v Crawford 1947 (3) SA 586 (SWA) R v K 1956 (3) SA 353 (A) at 358A-C R v Smit 1995 (1) SA 239 (C) at 241H-242C Ross Robson Irrigation (Pty) Ltd v Stondermacher (1996) 17 ILJ 125 (I.AC) at 130B-C S ......
  • S v Van As
    • South Africa
    • Invalid date
    ...C appellant verwyt word dat hy nie weggehardloop het nie; Cele v. R., supra; R. v. Zikalala, 1953 (2) SA te bl. 572 - 573; R. v. Carr, 1956 (3) SA 353; Sgatle v. R., 1958(1) P.H. H125. Vir sy bevinding dat die appellant skuldig was aan strafbare manslag het die Hof a quo veral gesteun op st......
  • S v TS
    • South Africa
    • Invalid date
    ...Santam Bpk 1965 (2) SA 542 (A): compared Ntanjana v Vorster and Minister of Justice 1950 (4) SA 398 (C): dicta at 406A E applied R v K 1956 (3) SA 353 (A): referred R v Tsutso 1962 (2) SA 666 (SR): dictum at 668F criticised S v De Oliveira 1993 (2) SACR 59 (A): referred to S v Dyk and Other......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 books & journal articles
  • 2011 index
    • South Africa
    • South African Criminal Law Journal No. , September 2019
    • August 16, 2019
    ...211-212R v Jantjies 1958 (2) SA 273 (A) .................................................................... 69R v K 1956 (3) SA 353 (A) ........................................................................ 36-37R v Katz 1946 AD 71...............................................................
  • 2015 index
    • South Africa
    • South African Criminal Law Journal No. , August 2019
    • August 16, 2019
    ...368R v Hlatwayo 1933 TPD 441 ................................................................ 368R v K 1956 (3) SA 353 (A) ................................................................... 373© Juta and Company (Pty) Ltd R v Katz 1959 (3) SA 408 (C) .............................................
  • The double life of unlawfulness: Fact and law
    • South Africa
    • South African Criminal Law Journal No. , May 2019
    • May 24, 2019
    ...239ff; Snyman op cit (n2) 107ff.67S v Engelbrecht supra (n1) at para 426.68Jack Bob supra (n10); R v Zikalala 1953 (2) SA 568 (A); RvK1956 (3) SA 353 (A).69Patel supra (n9); S v Jackson 1963 (2) SA 626 (A).70S v Engelbrecht supra (n1) at paras 448-9.71See previous discussion .14 SACJ *(2007......
  • Battered woman syndrome: Some reflections on the utility of this 'syndrome' to South African women who kill their abusers
    • South Africa
    • South African Criminal Law Journal No. , August 2019
    • August 16, 2019
    ...their relative strengths are issues that would be carefully considered by the court in assessing whether the killing was a 70 R v K 1956 (3) SA 353 (A); R v Patel supra (n60); S v Ntuli 1975 (1) SA 429 at 437D-F where Holmes JA stated: ‘In applying these formulations to the f‌l esh-and-bloo......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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