Presenting of evidence at criminal proceedings generated by means of drones

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By Brig Dirk Lambrechts

“Drones” are, as far as the prevention and/or combating of crime, maintenance of law and order and/or the investigation of crime are concerned, relatively new in South Africa.

Accordingly, this discussion is about how admissible evidence can be generated by means of “drones” and how such evidence must be presented in criminal courts of law. Phrased differently, where does the use of “drones” fit into criminal law-related issues?

“Drones” are, of course, as far as the criminal law is concerned, one of the “kinds of evidence and the presentation thereof”.
For the sake of completeness, the “kinds of evidence” as far as our criminal law-related issues are concerned, are (1) oral evidence (Afrikaans: “mondelinge getuienis”); (2) real evidence (Afrikaans: “reële getuienis”) of which an exhibit, such as a knife or stick or stolen property are examples; (3) documentary evidence (Afrikaans: “dokumentêre getuienis”) which is subdivided into private documents, such as letters, contracts and wills (Afrikaans: “testamente”), and public documents, such as SAPS pocket books, SAPS registers, identity documents and firearm licences; and (4) machine-generated evidence (Afrikaans: “getuienis voortgebring deur middel van toestelle en apparate”).


[This is only an extract of an article that is published in Servamus: February 2024. This article is available for purchase.]

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