Explainer: New bill seeks to expunge admission of guilt records

Explainer: New bill seeks to expunge admission of guilt records

- Citizens with a criminal record after paying an admission of guilt fine may be provided with some relief

- The government is currently working on a bill seeking to protect those who pay these fines from their life-altering implications

- Briefly.co.za explores what is known about this possible amendment to SA law to date

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South African citizens who are concerned about incurring a criminal record after paying an admission of guilt for less serious offences may be relieved to hear that a new bill is in the pipeline seeking to change this.

Justice Minister Ronald Lamola is looking to introduce the Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill which aims to expunge certain criminal records that result from paying these fines.

Responding to ACDP MP Steve Swart on when these legislative changes can be expected, the minister explained that the Covid-19 pandemic has seen some delays.

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The bill will be released for public consultation within the next few weeks. Image: GCIS/ Flickr
Source: UGC

Lamola explained that procedure, at present, provides for the admission of guilt in respect of the offence and for the payment of a stipulated fine without appearing in court.

Once the fine is paid, it is considered that the citizen has been convicted and sentenced by the court for the relevant charge.

The draft proposal will revise the current fine as 'provided for in the CPA', this new bill will seek to provide for:

  • The payment of fines that don't give rise to a previous conviction
  • The payment of admission of guilt fines that do give rise to previous convictions The expungement of certain criminal records that result from admission of guilt fines
  • The expungement of criminal records that result from admission of guilt fines that have been paid in respect of trivial offences
  • A process to identify and prescribe the offences, if approved, that will be subject to the payment of fines that do not give rise to a previous conviction
  • An improved process in respect of paying these fines that do give rise to previous conviction.
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News24 reports that this legislative proposal was at an advanced stage and will be released for public consultation in October.

Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that Police Minister Bheki Cele says that farm attacks and murders will not be classified as priority crimes.

The minister explained that this is because these attacks usually involve incidents classified as aggravated robbery on a farm or dwelling.

While the minister says that these crimes will not be made a priority, he did confirm that they include the most 'serious crimes' that the SAPS investigates:

"The crimes associated with farm attacks are, therefore, included in the most serious category of crimes SAPS reports on."

The minister has been responding to a parliamentary question posed by DA MP Andrew Whitfield over the plan to adopt a national rural safety strategy to curb crime in these communities.

Cele explained that the plan will be implemented over the course of the next five years, set to draw to a close in 2025.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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