oa Article 40 - The Supreme Court of Appeal lays down rules concerning children under 14 years

Volume 11, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1562-4382



The Supreme Court of Appeal (the "SCA") recently handed down a judgment in SPM v State [2009] ZASCA 65 wherein the requirements of a plea of guilty in terms of section 112 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 were restated. This judgment followed an appeal by a 17-year-old boy (the "appellant") who was 13 years old when he was charged and convicted for the murder of a 14-year-old. According to the section 112(2) statement (a statement admitting guilt) handed in at the Regional Court, the appellant had stabbed the deceased once in the chest, which resulted in the death of the deceased. The Regional Court sentenced the appellant to 8 years imprisonment. The appellant appealed against both the conviction and the sentence in the Pietermaritzburg High Court. However, only the sentence (and not the conviction) was set aside by the High Court. The matter was sent back to the Regional Court for a fresh sentence to be handed down - upon which the Regional Court sentenced the appellant to 3 years imprisonment, wholly suspended on certain conditions.

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