Leave to appeal in gun case denied

2013-05-21 16:37

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Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court has refused the Justice Alliance of SA (Jasa) leave to appeal a costs order relating to a Firearms Control Act ruling.

There were no exceptional circumstances to justify hearing an appeal only about costs, the court found on Tuesday.

It nonetheless cautioned courts "to be careful not to make costs orders that will inhibit genuine constitutional issues from being raised."

Jasa and the False Bay Gun Club took the ministries of finance and police, the national police commissioner and the Firearms Appeal Board to the Supreme Court of Appeal in November.

They argued that people who handed in their firearms when the Firearms Control Act replaced the Arms and Ammunitions Act in 2004, believed they should be compensated for the weapons.

They claimed they surrendered them when they were unable to obtain licences in time because of problems with the change-over.

The Firearms Control Act made it an offence to possess a firearm without a licence or permit and restricted the number of firearms a person could possess.

Jasa and the gun club argued that section 137 of the act, which dealt with compensation, was ultra vires (beyond power).

The False Bay Gun Club was liquidated on 31 March last year before the SCA judgment.

The SCA found that the law did not provide for compensation for voluntary surrender of a firearm, but only for those seized and retained as part of an investigation, or if they had special value.

Jasa's decided to appeal against the costs order, as it believed the case was in the public interest, and not only for its own financial interest.

The Constitutional Court found the first round of litigation had entailed exceptional circumstances, but ruled that "the same cannot be said of the current litigation".

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  legislation

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