Eadie Case Study

1241 Words5 Pages
1 Introduction The defense of non-pathological incapacity due to provocation or emotional stress has an intricate history and has caused much confusion to legal writers and in case law. Interpretations of the defense have varied from the Roman-Dutch view that emotions, justified by provocation, can solely be used to mitigate a sentence, to the Rumpff Commission’s view that emotions cannot be regarded as relevant to criminal capacity, to the Transkeian Penal Code of 1886’s view of a policy-based partial excuse rule stating that provocation leading to murder can be reduced to culpable homicide when it is compared to the conduct of an ordinary person, to the “new approach” that regards provocation as relevant to intention and criminal capacity,…show more content…
The acceptance of the accused’s version of his state of mind is described as “too-ready”. Navsa JA emphasized that the accused’s evidence for his ipse dixit should be tested against (a) his “prior and subsequent conduct” and (b) “the court’s experience of human behavior and social interaction”. Thus, the court must look to the surrounding circumstances and societal norms to determine whether the accused lacked capacity, or not at all. This will support the court to not accept the ipse dixit too readily, and the subjective test does not fall away, but there is merely added to…show more content…
The judge explained this by illustrating the fact that courts have varied from certain approaches to decisions because of sympathy for the accused. He emphasized that in the case of an accused who acted “in an aggressive, goal-directed and focused” way, there should be no sympathy from the court when he then claims that he lost his capacity to control his actions. Navsa JA further states that courts have accepted these claims in the past, hinting that it was out of sympathy, and not principle. In the Eadie case Griesel J stated that Mr Eadie had “focused, goal-directed” behavior and his “deceitfulness” was also visible in the manner in which he denied the assault, and his use of a hockey stick to beat the deceased. The reliability of Mr Eadie’s role as a witness was undermined because of this finding and it negatively affected his defence of criminal incapacity. The court’s pragmatic distinction between a “loss of control” and a “loss of temper” was visible in Mr Eadie’s behavior, and this contributed to his unsuccessful reliance on the defence of pathological incapacity due to provocation and emotional stress. According to Professor Shannon Hoctor there is, in principle, “no reason why a court will refuse to entertain a plea of non-pathological incapacity predicated upon the provocation associated with road rage”, explaining that if the principle is applied correctly, with no sympathy involved, the
Open Document