A Guide to Bail Applications

April 1st, 2019

By Mabowa Thomas Mokoena

Cape Town: Juta

(2018) 2nd edition

Price R 475 (incl VAT)

247 pages (soft cover)

In this book, Professor Mokoena analyses the jurisprudence regarding the administration of bail and concludes that it has remained relatively, unchanged over the past few years.

The second and latest edition, however, elaborates and in his own words, ‘… includes new insights on counsel’s general preparation for the bail application’. The author skilfully examines the countervailing interests regarding bail as correctly pointed out in the foreword to the book, by means of applicable case law and legislation. The book deals with the issue from a practical perspective and the author shows how – even in the present time – more value is placed on a person’s liberty, in comparison to a decade or two ago. The limitations of s 60 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977, are noted and the reasons for such limitations are also critically analysed. The author arrives at the comforting conclusion that the bail system in South Africa is, although not perfect, at least practical and workable.

This edition, with its novel approach to a very old matter, should be read with interest by every legal practitioner and it will certainly stimulate and broaden their knowledge. The title of the reviewed book heralds a very welcome addition to our legal literature. There have been numerous previous works relating to bail, but this book, being a practical guide, deals fully with the law on the rather off-beat subject matter at universities these days. It will prove to be of inestimable value to all who are interested in this aspect of the law. The work has appeared at a most opportune moment, almost simultaneously to recent mind-boggling evidence provided at many Commissions of Inquiries when criminal charges and/or arrests will probably follow in due course.

Lastly, the usefulness of this edition is greatly enhanced by the practical examples.

The only criticism I could find, was the numerous, often lengthy, extracts from the applicable legislation, however, useful they may be. I found same to be rather irksome and it tends to disturb the continuity of the discussion. Refreshing, however, are the extensive quotations from case law, which are employed to stress a point or principle, and which are explained in simple language.

Dr Llewelyn Gray Curlewis is a legal practitioner at Pieterse & Curlewis and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Pretoria.

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2019 (April) DR 40.