Teen killer avoids jail with hard criminals

2009-10-30 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG high court Judge Pete Koen yesterday gave a teen k iller “another chance” with an effective 10-year jail sentence, which will enable him to serve his imprisonment in a juvenile facility at Durban-Westville prison.

After the sentencing, the judge addressed the youth, who was found guilty of kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and the murder of Dambuza teacher Arnold Thenjwayo on July 3. He was stabbed numerous times after he was hijacked by the teen and two companions.

The judge told the youth he hopes that he understands he has been given another chance in life and will not disappoint him, but will emerge from jail having studied further and become a meaningful member of society.

“You will have to live with your conscience that you were part of a gang that killed another humanbeing,” he said.

The judge said he was mindful that no sentence could ever restore the murder victim to his loved ones, and said he hoped the sentence would sufficiently express to the accused the “disgust” society feels for his crimes, while also affording him hope and the chance to mend his ways.

It emerged during the evidence of a senior Correctional Services official, Dominic Zulu, that if sentenced to more than 10 years, even juveniles are detained in maximum security sections with hardened criminals.

“In my view, that would have a detrimental effect on the accused and his future prospects in life,” Koen said yesterday.

He said the teen’s past association with the wrong company sent him on an incorrect path.

His mother and teacher told a probation officer that until 2008, he was “normal and obedient” and did well at school. He was younger than most pupils in grade 12.

Then he started drinking alcohol and changed his friends and “problems started to pour in”.

In the juvenile prison at Westville the teen could study, take part in rehabilitation programmes and hopefully prepare to be reintegrate­d into society.

He sentenced him to 10 years’ imprisonment for Thenjwayo’s murder, to eight years for kidnapping and 10 years (wholly suspended) for robbery with aggravating circumstances.

The judge ordered that the jail sentences must run concurrently and that the teen must serve his sentence in the juvenile prison.

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