Teen in ET case to be tried as a child

2010-04-07 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — The 15-year-old boy suspected of murdering Eugene Terre’Blanche is one of the first teenagers in the country who won’t be tried as an adult, in accordance with new legislation.

The boy will be tried in accor­dance with the Child Justice Act that took effect on April 1.

In the past, accused children were prosecuted in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Act.

Ann Skelton, director of the Centre for Child Law at the University of Pretoria, said the main difference introduced by the new act is that an evaluation is carried out before the case starts.

The act, which allows for a speedy trial, also allows for the young accused’s personal circumstances to be taken into account, Skelton said.

A prison sentence is the last resort and when a child is sent to prison, the shortest possible sentence is suggested. However, it allows for up to 25 years in prison.

Skelton said the 15-year-old is in a better position thanks to the act. But media reports that he will get off scot-free are “complete nonsense”, she said.

“Suspects are prosecuted according to what they’ve done.”

The Sowetan quoted the boy’s uncle yesterday as saying his nephew is under correctional supervision after being convicted of breaking into a biscuit factory two years ago.

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