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Pretoria - The Pretoria High Court threw a lifeline to a teenager who was 17 when he repeatedly stabbed his stepfather and was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, in terms of which he had to serve part at a youth care facility before he was placed under correctional supervision.
The problem, however, was that the youth care facility refused to accept him as he had turned 18 when he was sentenced and to the institution, he was no longer a child.
Judges Ronel Tolmay and Cynthia Pretorius wholly suspended the boy’s five-year sentence, but ordered that he had to report to a probation officer over weekends to participate in programmes such as anger management and life orientations skills.
He also has to perform 200 hours of community service for three years, the nature of which should be determined by the probation officer.
The judges also found that where a child was under 18 when committing an offence, but turned 18 during the trial, youth centres may not refuse to admit a child if he or she was referred to it by the court. This is if offenders are over 18, but below 21.
This teenager (who may not be named as he was underage and sentenced in terms of the Child Justice Act) was charged with murder with his mother. He pleaded guilty to killing his stepfather and charges were withdrawn against his mother.
He said in a statement before court that his stepfather was very violent. On the night of the incident – February 19 last year – the deceased and his mother were again fighting. According to the teen he was fed-up with the conduct of the deceased and wanted to teach him a lesson. He fetched a hunting knife and stabbed his stepfather 12 times.
After his conviction of murder, the court called for a probation officer’s report, which shed another light on the events of that night.
He told the officer his mother and stepfather were fighting and he stood in the kitchen and looked. His stepfather had a knife in his hands and threatened to stab his mother.
The teenager said he took the knife from the man and stabbed him as he wanted to protect his mother.
A plea of not guilty was entered on his behalf as his new version raised justification for his conduct.
Pretoria News Weekend