Lorenzo Wakefield, a researcher at the Children’s Rights Project at the Community Law Centre at the University of the Western Cape, believes it is unfortunate that the first test case for the Child Justice Act, involving the 15-year-old boy arrested for the murder of Eugene Terre’Blanche, should be a case so fraught with politics.
His concern is that the Act might come across as being “soft” on a child in conflict with the law, as its objectives are focused on rehabilitation and the reintegration of the child into the community. However, he points out that the Child Justice Act offers many different sentencing options, ranging from community-based sentences to a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.
Around the country magistrates, prosecutors and court clerks are reporting for training in the Child Justice Act. While nobody disputes that it would have been preferable to have concluded the training before the Act was implemented, all seem relieved it is in force.
Among others, the Child Justice Act provides that:
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