Journal for Juridical Science 2016: 41(1)

Title Author(s) pp.
Prosecuting “hate”: An overview of problem areas relating to hate crimes and challenges to criminal litigation
Me/Mr K Naidoo
Ms M Karels
65-82

Several calls, from a wide spectrum of sectors for the enactment of hate-crime legislation in South Africa, suggest that there is limited knowledge about the theoretical underpinnings of this area of criminal law and of the practical problems associated with the implementation of hate-crime laws. This submission briefly examines the origins of hate-crime laws and attempts, by using existing American sources, to provide a conceptual framework for hate crimes. The different models of hate-crime laws, definitional issues and the controversies associated with hatecrime laws are considered. These controversies include disagreements about the use of the term ‘hate’, the inclusion of victim categories, and the consideration of motive as a requirement of hate crimes. The article also considers practical problems associated with the implementation of hate-crime laws. These problems could commence at the complaint stage when evidence of bias has to be established by law-enforcement officers, and extend to the trial stage, when the role of victims must be considered, when plea bargaining is a possibility and when bias has to be proved in court.

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