Law Quadrangle (formerly Law Quad Notes)


The article is an edited version of a chapter from Professor Katz's book, Bad Acts and Guilty Minds: Conundrums of the Criminal Law, © 1987, The University of Chicago Press; reprinted by permission.

"I have nothing to say. I deny it." But by being stubborn and taciturn, the woman only strengthened the prosecution's case against her. Puna was an African native, a member of the Shona tribe, who had been charged with violating Southern Rhodesia's Witchcraft Suppression Act, first passed in 1899 but still actively enforced in 1948, the year of her trial. Contrary to its name, the act was not intended to punish witches. It was intended to punish those who engaged in witchhunts or those who invited witch-hunts by pretending to be witches. Puna was in the former category.