WHEN IS ITSELF-DEFENCE?
Two years ago an Eastern Cape mom took on three men who were allegedly raping her daughter, killing one and injuring the others.
The woman, dubbed Lion Mama, was arrested but set free when the state dropped charges against her.
Advocate Samuel Modau, a practising advocate of the high court, says the charges were likely dropped because it was self-defence. Also known as private defence, it is the protection or defence of yourself, property, neighbour or a family member.
“The act of private defence is directed only towards the attacker in a bid to protect yourself or those around you,” Modau says.
“Any harm inflicted on the perpetrator in private defence isn’t unlawful but will be judged on merit and you would have to justify your actions before the court of law.”
The attack would have to be in progress for it to qualify as a primary defence.
“If the perpetrator fell to the ground, for example, and there was no further harm, then there is no danger and self-defence cannot be used.”