n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Implementation of preliminary inquiries at the Mangaung One-stop Child Justice Centre

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The new Child Justice Act 75 of 2008 makes provision for preliminary inquiries as an initiative to speed up the criminal justice process for children. These inquiries are compulsory and aim to ensure that important decisions regarding children in conflict with the law are taken within 48 hours of arrest. This process was piloted at the Mangaung One-stop Child Justice Centre in Bloemfontein before the new Act came into operation on 1 April 2010. In this article, the reasons for the introduction of the preliminary inquiry, the process before the preliminary inquiry and the process at the preliminary inquiry are discussed. Since the success of this inquiry is dependent on the input of the different role-players, special attention is given to the functions of those involved in the process. In addition, a case study of a specific child's experience in the child justice system and the impact of the preliminary inquiry on the outcome of the case are discussed. From the discussion on the preliminary inquiry, it is clear that this addition to the child justice system truly contributes to the showcasing of such system. The main features of this are the streamlined process in which the child is managed much quicker than before and can in addition stay in school. Since all the role-players are involved during the preliminary inquiry, informed decisions can be made regarding the child. This makes it possible to make quick decisions regarding diversion or prosecution.


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