Extenuating Circumstances in Murder Cases: A Comparative Study Between the Zambian and South African Criminal Justice Systems

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Mwale, Chenela
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The purpose of this dissertation was to examine the law governing extenuating circumstances in the Zambian and the South African Criminal Justice Systems. It attempted to establish what amount to extenuating circumstances and what does not amount to extenuating circumstances in both the Zambian and the South African Criminal Justice Systems.The research primarily relied on desk research and field research of which the latter entailed the conducting of interviews with eminent advocates and scholars on the subject matter. Through the research, it was found that witchcraft, drunkenness and youth of a person are some of the circumstances which have been considered to be extenuating circumstances in the Zambian Criminal Justice System and it has been found that the Penal Code Chapter 88 Of the Laws of Zambia expressly provides that extenuating circumstances will not apply in the case of aggravated robbery. It was also found that in the South African Criminal Justice System, witchcraft and deindividuation used to amount to extenuating circumstances, while the youth of a person was not considered to be an extenuating circumstance. However it was also found that this doctrine of extenuating circumstances has some short falls and this can lead to discrepancies in the way the doctrine is applied. Considering the fact that this doctrine was brought in to reduce the moral blameworthiness of the accused, the dissertation recommends that there should be some law enacted which will contain all the circumstances which are considered to be extenuating circumstances.
Criminal Justice System-Zambia , Murder-Zambia