did not suffer any bruises or injuries on her genital area considering that she was too young compared to the accused she gave no response inspite of several attempts to elicit an answer from her. The accused further asked the child to explain if there was any reason for the tearing of the trouser with a knife considering that her version was that when she was asked to lie down facing upwards she allegedly did so.
I am required because of the age of the child to exercise caution in accordance with the
cautionary rules when assessing the evidence of the child. "The cautionary rules have
been evolved because the collective wisdom and experience of judges has found that
certain kinds of evidence cannot be safely relied upon unless accompanied by some.
satisfactory indication of trustworthiness. Corroboration may be sufficient indication of
trustworthiness but there are may others. There is no closed category of pointers to truth;
if the court is satisfied upon rational grounds that a witness is reliable, it is not obliged to
reject his evidence because those grounds have not yet been mentioned in any decided
case" see HOFFMAN & ZEFFERT, THE S.A. LAW OF EVIDENCE 3rd edition
page 450. At page 455 HOFFMAN & ZEFFERT supra make the following
observation, namely, that
"Experience has shown that it is very dangerous to rely upon the uncorroborated evidence of the complainant unless there is some other factor reducing the risk of a wrong conviction in cases which involve a sexual element - a view that is currently enraging feminists and which has, as a result, led to the rejection of the need for caution by some lawyers, who should know better than to pander to trendy and emotional protests, but which, nevertheless, seems to have been justified from as early as Joseph's troubles with Potiphar's wife. The bringing of the charge may have been motivated by spite, sexual frustration or other unpredictable emotional causes. "
However as HOLMES J.A. in S V. ARTMAN 1968 930 SA 339A at 341B a case
where the only witness implicating the accused was a girl of 16, remarked that
"While there is always a need for caution in such cases, the ultimate requirement is proof beyond reasonable doubt; and courts must guard against their reasoning tending to become stifled by formalism. In other words, the exercise of caution must not be allowed to displace common sense. "
The dicta of DE VILLIERS JP in R V. MOKOENA which has been quoted with approval in a number of latter cases dealing with the subject is significant because of the requirement that before any such evidence is relied upon to support a conviction it must be satisfactory in all material respects and the evidence ought not to be relied upon where