This Handbook is intended to give guidance to legal practitioners representing clients who are charged with criminal offences. It is particularly aimed at newly qualified legal practitioners, but it also contains reference material that will be useful for more experienced practitioners. It covers selective aspects of criminal procedure, evidence, substantive law and sentencing.  


The following abbreviations are used throughout this work:

CPEA — Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act [Chapter 9:07]

CLCA — Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23]

MCA —Magistrates Court Act [Chapter 7:10]

HCA — High Court Act [Chapter 7:06]

SCA — Supreme Court Act [Chapter 7:13]


The accused person will normally be referred to as “X” but the term “the accused” will be used where the use of the abbreviation “X” might be confusing.


Before the establishment of the office of the Prosecutor-General the Attorney-General used to perform the functions now being performed by the Prosecutor-General. Thus in case law decided prior to the establishment of the office of the Prosecutor-General, the reference to “Attorney-General” in respect of prosecution matters should now be understood as a reference to the “Prosecutor-General.”





Frequent reference is made throughout this work to the Prosecutors Handbook by John Reid-Rowland 3rd Edition 1992 published by the Legal Resources Foundation.


Other books referred to in this handbook include:

James Morton Handling Criminal Cases A guide to preparation and defence (1986 Waterlow) (This will be referred to as Handling of Criminal Cases.)

Storry Rhodesian Criminal Practice (1978 Rhodesia Law Journal)

Purver, Young, Davis and Kerper The Trial Lawyer's Book Preparing and Winning Cases (Lawyers Cooperative Publishing, New York, 1990)

Feltoe A Guide to Zimbabwean Criminal Law

Feltoe Commentary on Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act

Feltoe A Guide to Sentencing in Zimbabwe

Hoffmann and Zeffertt The South African Law of Evidence (4 ed)