Judge: Teen murder suspect no flight risk

2012-09-03 18:27

Kimberley - The Griekwastad Children's Court on Monday granted bail of R5 000 to a 16-year-old boy arrested in connection with the murders of a local farming family.

Magistrate Oswald Mazwi said that after considering all relevant evidence placed before the court, it would be in the interest of justice for the child to be released on bail.

He said the child was not a flight risk, was receiving schooling and would not interfere with witnesses.

It also appeared that the child would not be a threat to any other person.

He said the State had a prima facie case against him, but continued detention of the child, pending the trial, was not warranted.

After the ruling, the boy was hugged by family and friends attending proceedings.

The teenager was arrested for the murder of Northern Cape farmer Deon Steenkamp, 44, his wife Christelle, 43, and daughter Marthella, 14, who were shot on their family farm Naauwhoek on 6 April.

'No direct evidence'

In the last court appearance, Willem Coetzee, for the boy, told the court the State had no direct evidence to link the boy to the Griekwastad farm murder.

Bail conditions for the boy include that he attends his trial in the Northern Cape High Court when it starts and that he be released in his guardian’s care.

He must further attend school and the investigator must be informed of any change of address.

Delivering judgment, Mazwi said the provisions of the Child Justice Act (CJA) should supersede those of the Criminal Procedure Act otherwise the objectives of the CJA would be rendered futile.

He said a valid argument could be made that the CJA was a call for a mind shift or transformation by all those privileged to be practising law in whatever capacity.

Mazwi said those in law must put in extra effort in the development of criminal justice jurisprudence for children, separate from adults, not just in fancy words not benefiting children but by real effort in understanding the individual child before a court.

He said it would be obvious that in the majority of instances the court’s rulings may be unpopular but that should not serve as a deterrent in the courts from striving to achieve the CJA’s objectives.

In reaction, Northern Cape NPA spokesperson Phaladi Shuping said no decision to appeal had been taken.

He said the prosecutor in the case would discuss the bail judgment with the director of public prosecutions and then a decision would be taken on a possible appeal application.

The State and the boy’s defence indicated that a trial date could be possible in the Northern Cape High court in Kimberley by early December.

  • layla.gunesh - 2012-09-03 19:13

    So what then counts as 'direct evidence' these days? And are psychopaths not usually calm callous and fairly likeable until they explode?

  • henk.vanrensburg.31 - 2012-09-03 19:17

    Another ANC success story!

  • BulletProof. - 2012-09-03 19:31

    Never see bail on a crime like that.Viva fredom!!! Now we can kill and be out on streets even without jugement.

  • sharron.forsyth - 2012-09-03 19:42

    Bail for Murder. What ever next.

  • wilhelm.grobbelaar - 2012-09-03 19:43

    Hmmm. "Interest of Justice". Don't understand. What interest of Justice if he murdered in cold blood.

  • letsekang.masepe - 2012-09-03 20:15

    Magistrate Oswald Mazwi said that after considering all relevant evidence placed before the court, it would be in the interest of justice for the child to be released on bail.this is bulldust murder is murder,crimilals have more rights,what about the relatives of the murdered family?

  • gerda.vanrensburg - 2012-09-03 20:17

    If I was the guardian I would sleep with eyes wide 'shut'. Not a flight risk and no thread to witnesses....... what a joke.

  • annette.vorster.54 - 2012-09-03 20:28

    Your Honour, I spent my life in the Kimberley area. Boys can down a springbok from the age of 12 and drive a vehicle. May I ask one question? At the age of sixteen this youngster is going to be teased. What may happen if he snaps? This sounds more like a good opportinity to justify many previous court rulings as the "colour" suits the regime? . . . .john vorster

  • mandy.robinson.5074 - 2012-09-03 21:28

    Continue his schooling? I would be a very worried parent if I had a kid in that school.

  • emilemyburgh - 2012-09-03 22:23

    Why do they call the magistrate a judge? They are two different offices.

  • roger.kaputnick.90 - 2012-09-04 02:49

    Watch this spot. He will kill again.

  • Yolandi-Louise Labuschagne - 2012-09-04 05:14

    Wow!!Now that he is out on bail and his rights as a child comes first,I reckon other kids in similar positions are taking notes because they can kill and then go back to school and kinda live a normal live.No punishment.

  • rod.baker.376 - 2012-09-04 05:58

    So this is how the justice system works... Hmmm

  • CarolOlivier - 2012-09-04 14:38

    'It also appeared that the child would not be a threat to any other person" - easy to say from the bench. If this magistrate had his child in the same school would he happily send him off to school each day with a "have a nice day!" Another question. Will the suspect be embraced and welcomed back by the other pupils? I think not.

  • les.eberhardt - 2012-09-04 21:35

    My earlier comment has been removed. I wonder why? But I still say it's scary to see what our youths are capable of. How many murders,stabbings and rapes have there been in our schools since the "new system"? And this is how we deal with it. How are they ever going to stop these child crimes if they don't punish them accordingly? South Africa, ex land of milk & honey BYE BYE!!

  • ina.cronje.3 - 2012-09-05 12:39

    Everybody is already judging the child and assuming that he is guilty. He is only out on bail - the case must still continue in December - no judgment on the actual crime has yet been passed. We are all in two minds about this case but let the justice system go its course - everybody is entitled to a fair trial?

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