- A KwaZulu-Natal Grade 11 pupil accused of assault has been jailed for three months for failing to appear in court.
- The court sentenced her after she failed to provide reasons for her absence.
- The provincial education department welcomed the court's decision, hoping it would serve as a deterrent to would-be bullies.
A 16-year-old high school pupil has been sent to jail for three months after she failed to appear in court for her assault case.
KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu welcomed the court's ruling.
"We have had a number of cases involving learners that are bullying others in schools. Despite our spirited campaigns to plead with our learners to desist from this behaviour, it appears that some continue to disregard our call," Mshengu said in a statement.
"We hope that this sentence and the likelihood of another one for assault will serve as a deterrent and a harsh lesson to all other wayward learners. We therefore welcome the sentence."
The Grade 11 pupil is on trial for assault after a video depicting a female pupil severely assaulting another female pupil went viral in September last year. The family of the assaulted pupil, aged 20, opened a case at the local Mahlabathini police station.
The accused teenager was charged with assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
The court released her on a warning and under the care of her parents, as she was a minor.
She failed to appear in court in February, and her parents said they did not know her whereabouts.
The matter was then postponed to 9 March for the court to establish the reasons for her non-attendance. She failed to provide reasons for her absence and the court found her guilty. She was sentenced to three months imprisonment.
According to police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele, the teenager tried to commit suicide after her arrest.
The family of the victim said their child had been subjected to teasing at school and was unable to concentrate ever since the video went viral on social media platforms.
Shezi said his department had embarked on its own processes to have the accused pupil expelled from school.
The pupil is expected to appear again before court on 31 March.
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