oa Article 40 - Minimum sentences declared invalid for 16- and 17-year-olds

Volume 11, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1562-4382



On 15 July 2009, the Constitutional Court handed down a judgment declaring minimum sentences invalid for 16- and 17-year-olds. The judgment is the culmination of efforts that started a few years ago when the Criminal Law Amendment Act 105 of 1997 was introduced into Parliament. The initial version of the Act did not exclude children from being subject to minimum sentences. However, lobbying from civil society advocates saw the exclusion of children below the age of 16 from its operation. Nevertheless, 16- and 17-year-olds were included in the ambit of the Act, though the procedure for them was different from the procedure for adults.

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