Woman with 20 shoplifting convictions back in court

2010-10-29 15:43

A woman with 20 previous convictions for theft who shoplifted four cans of body spray from Edgars in Parow will be referred to the Valkenberg psychiatric hospital for assessment.

Dana Davids (33), who stole the body spray worth R155 in June, was found guilty of theft in August when she appeared in the Bellville District Court.

However, because her history of shoplifting called for a sentence in excess of the three-year maximum that may be imposed in the district court for any specific offence, her case was referred to the Bellville Regional Court for sentencing.

Davids appeared in the regional court today before Magistrate Deon Oosthuysen, who said she was currently serving a jail sentence for another theft.

Oosthuysen said Davids was intellectually challenged, according to a report handed to the court by probation officer Janine Ding.

The report recommended that Davids be sent for 30 days’ psychiatric assessment to establish whether she was able to distinguish between right and wrong, and to act accordingly.

The hospital would also determine whether she had diminished criminal capacity due to her intellectual disablement, Oosthuysen said.

He said Davids had been jailed without any inquiry about her criminal capacity, and it was possible that she lacked insight into what was right and wrong.

If she had diminished criminal capacity, which only a psychiatric assessment could establish, it would have to be taken into account in the sentencing proceedings.

Legal aid attorney Haylee McGee told the court that Davids was currently serving the second month of a two-year prison sentence.

Although the charge sheet cites her as Dana Davids, this is an alias. Her real name is Cheryl Cornelius, according to the probation report.

The case was postponed to November 26.

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