By Jehoshaphat (John) Njau                                                     30 March 2022


Does Will Smith actions of smacking Chris Rock across the face constitute a crime of assault? As a point of departure regardless of which side of the proverbial fence you lean on this theatrical slap, provocation does not constitute a general defence in criminal cases. However, it can be used as a mitigating factor to reduce the severity of the crime and the consequences of the crime.

South African criminal law, is primarily found in common law derived from historical sources of law and developed through courts over a period of time.

In terms of our common law, assault is defined as the unlawful and intentional act or omission which results in another’s bodily integrity being directly or indirectly impaired or infringed.

By: William Mogale Sekgala                                              7 March 2022



Every person has the right to freedom and security of her person which right includes the right not to be deprived of freedom / liberty arbitrarily or without just cause. Section 35 of the Constitution provides for the rights of the arrested, detained and accused persons including the right to be released if the interests of justice permit and upon reasonable conditions and to human conditions of detention.

When a person is arrested, the aforementioned human rights are affected and the question that follows is whether the conduct of the person effecting the arrest is lawful and within the bounds of the law.

The police have extensive powers that the courts must be astute in standing judiciously resolute against any abuse thereof.