In the 2009 case of S v Tabethe ZAGPHC 23 the High Court of South Africa determined that although the offence was of a serious nature, sexual assault, restorative justice was an appropriate sentence that would punish the accused, restore the victim, help heal the damage done and benefit society (para. 40).

The court stressed at (para. 39)

If restorative justice is to be recognized in South Africa – and in the light of serious challenges faced by our country’s criminal justice system and the perennial overcrowding of our correctional institutions there can be little doubt that its application and integration into our law is essential – then it must find application not only in respect of minor offences, but also, in appropriate circumstances, in suitable matters of a grave nature.


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