Terre'Blanche's killer to be tried under new child law

He will be the first in the country to be subjected to new legislation which affords better protection for children.In the past, children were prosecuted in the same way as adults, but the Act on Justice for Children which went into effect on April 1, just three days before the murder, provides for different treatment.

The main difference is that the law makes provision for an evaluation by a social worker and an interim investigation in the presence of a magistrate before the case can begin, according to Ann Skelton, Director of the Centre for Child Rights at the University of Pretoria.

Skelton said the law makes provision for a speedy trial and for the personal circumstances of the accused child to be taken into account. A jails sentence is the last option and even if imposed, must be the shortest possible term.

Skelton said the child accused in this case is better off than his co-accused, Chris Mahlangu, 27, even though the latter is also getting some indirect benefit because the case is being heard in camera because of the child.

The two allegedly killed their employer, the leader of the white supremacist organisation AWB (Afrikaner Resistance Movement) after a wage dispute, sparking huge racial tensions  which were defused by swift police action when they appeared in court yesterday.The trial will resume on 14 April to allow for a social worker's report on the child.

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