To establish a criminal justice process for children accused of committing offences which aims to protect the rights of children entrenched in the Constitution and provided for in international instruments; to provide for the minimum age of criminal capacity of such children; to delineate the powers and responsibilities of members of the South African Police Service and probation officers in relation to such children; to provide for the detention of such children and their release from detention; to incorporate diversion of cases away from formal court procedures as a central feature of the process; to establish assessment of children and a preliminary inquiry as compulsory procedures in the new process; to create special rules for a child justice court; to extend the sentencing options available in respect of such children; to entrench the notion of restorative justice; to establish appeal and review procedures; to provide for legal representation of children; to create monitoring mechanisms to ensure the effective operation of this legislation; and to provide for matters incidental thereto.
INTRODUCED BY THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
BE IT ENACTED by the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, as follows: -
TABLE OF CONTENTS
2.Application of this Act
3.Application of this Act in relation to the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977
AGE, CRIMINAL CAPACITY AND AGE DETERMINATION
6.Age and criminal capacity
7.Duties of police officials in relation to age estimation
8.Age estimation by probation officer
9.Age determination to be effected by inquiry magistrate
10.Age assessment and determination by officer presiding in criminal court
POLICE POWERS AND DUTIES
11.Methods of securing attendance of child at preliminary inquiry
12.Cautioning by police
13.Warrant of arrest
14.Duties of police official upon arrest, use of alternative to arrest or issue of summons
15.Time limits pursuant to arrest, alternatives to arrest and summons
16.Duty of police to notify parent or appropriate adult
17.Pre-trial procedures and requirement that parent or an appropriate adult be present
DETENTION OF CHILDREN AND RELEASE FROM DETENTION
19.Principles relating to release of children from detention
20.Treatment and rights of children in detention in police custody
21.Duties of police relating to cell register
22.Time limits relating to detention of children in police custody prior to preliminary inquiry
23.Duties of police relating to reporting on detention of children
24.Powers of police to release child from detention in police custody prior to preliminary inquiry
25.Power of Director of Public Prosecutions to authorise release of children from detention in police custody
26.Duties of police upon release of child and persons into whose care child is released
27.Detention in place of safety in lieu of detention in police custody
28.Police may not release children accused of certain offences
29.Release of children accused of certain offences on bail prior to appearance at preliminary inquiry
30.Release of child at preliminary inquiry or by a court into care of parent or an appropriate adult
31.Factors to be considered at preliminary inquiry or by court prior to decision to release or detain a child
32.Conditions that may be imposed upon release of child into care of parent or appropriate adult or on bail
33.Non-detained children appearing at preliminary inquiry
34.Release of child on own recognisance
35.Release of child on bail by inquiry magistrate or court
36.Detention of child after first appearance
37.Application for release from detention
38.Purposes of assessment
39.Place where assessment is to be conducted
40.Persons who must attend assessment
41.Persons who may attend assessment
42.Child to be assessed prior to preliminary inquiry
43.Parent or appropriate adult to attend assessment
44.Powers and duties of probation officer prior to assessment
45.Powers and duties of probation officer at assessment
46.Powers of probation officer in relation to child below the age of ten years
47.Failure of child below the age of ten years to attend assessment or to comply with obligations
48.Purposes of diversion
49.Minimum standards applicable to diversion and diversion options
50.Availability of diversion options and the keeping of records
51.Diversion only to occur in certain circumstances
53.Family group conference
54.Victim-offender mediation or other restorative justice process
55.Powers of prosecution
56.Nature and objectives of preliminary inquiry
57.Persons who must attend preliminary inquiry
58.Persons who may attend preliminary inquiry
59.Procedure relating to holding of preliminary inquiry
60.Powers and duties of inquiry magistrate
61.Decisions regarding diversion, prosecution or transfer to a children’s court
62.Release or placement of child by inquiry magistrate
64.Separation and joinder of proceedings of preliminary inquiry
65.Remanding of preliminary inquiry
66.Remanding of preliminary inquiry for detailed assessment
67.Failure to appear at preliminary inquiry
68.Failure to comply with diversion orders
69.Procedure upon referral of matter to court
70.Referral to a children’s court inquiry
CHILD JUSTICE COURT
71.Designation and jurisdiction of child justice court
72.Establishment and jurisdiction of One-Stop Child Justice Centres
73.Proceedings in terms of this Act by a court other than a child justice court
74.Child to plead in child justice court on instructions of Director of Public Prosecutions
75.Parent or an appropriate adult to attend proceedings
77.Conduct of proceedings in court
78.Children in detention at court
79.Establishment of criminal capacity
80.Separation and joinder of trials involving children and adults
81.Time limits relating to the conclusion of trials
82.Court may divert matter
83.Privacy and confidentiality
84.Convicted children to be sentenced in terms of this Chapter
85.Pre-sentence reports required
86.Purposes of sentencing
88.Restorative justice sentences
89.Sentences involving correctional supervision
90.Sentences with a compulsory residential requirement
91.Referral to a residential facility
92.Referral to a prison
93.Postponement or suspension
95.Prohibition on certain forms of punishment
96.Requirements to be complied with by legal representatives
97.Access to legal representation
98.Child to be provided with legal representation at State expense in certain instances
99.Means of securing legal representation at State expense
100.Child may not waive legal representation in some circumstances
101.Accreditation of legal representatives
AUTOMATIC REVIEW OF CERTAIN CONVICTIONS AND SENTENCES
102.Automatic review in certain cases decided by court
103.Suspension of execution of sentence
MONITORING OF CHILD JUSTICE
104.Establishment and regulation of Child Justice Committees at district level
105.Duties and role of Child Justice Committees
106.Powers of Child Justice Committees
107.Report to Provincial Office for Child Justice
109.Establishment of Provincial Office for Child Justice
110.Establishment of the National Office for Child Justice
111.Other functions conferred on National Office for Child Justice
112.Submission of annual report
113.Establishment of National Committee for Child Justice
114.Functions of National Committee for Child Justice
RECORDS OF CONVICTIONS AND SENTENCE
115.Expungement of records
116.Liability for patrimonial loss arising from performance of community service
117.Offences and penalties
120.Short title and commencement
CHAPTER 1: GENERAL
1.In this Act, unless the context otherwise indicates -
(i)“an appropriate adult” means a member of a child’s family; a custodian; a guardian who is not a parent or a primary care-giver as defined in section 1 of the Social Assistance Act, 1992 (Act No. 59 of 1992);
(ii)“assessment” means an evaluation by a probation officer of a child for purposes of section 38, and includes an evaluation by an assistant probation officer or a social worker;
(iii)“child” means any person who is subject to the provisions of this Act in terms of section 2;
(iv)“child justice court” means the court described in section 71;
(v)“children’s court” means the court described in section 5 of the Child Care Act, 1983 (Act No. 74 of 1983);
(vi)“community service” means compulsory work, without payment, for a community organisation or other compulsory work of value to the community, performed by a child;
(vii)“court” means a child justice court or any other court acting in terms of the provisions of this Act;
(viii)“correctional supervision” means a form of community correction provided for in Chapter 6 of the Correctional Services Act, 1998 (Act No. 111 of 1998);
(ix)“detention” means the deprivation of liberty of a child including confinement in a police cell, lock-up, place of safety, secure care facility, prison or other residential facility;
(x)“Director of Public Prosecutions” means a Director of Public Prosecutions appointed in terms of section 13 of the National Prosecuting Authority Act, 1998 (Act No. 32 of 1998) and “National Director of Public Prosecutions” means the person appointed in terms of section 10 of that Act;
(xi)“diversion” means the referral of cases of children alleged to have committed offences away from formal court procedures with or without conditions;
(xii)“diversion option” means a plan, programme or prescribed order with a specified content and of specified duration and includes an option which has been approved, in terms of the regulations to this Act, by the Office for Child Justice;
(xiii)“family group conference” means a gathering convened by a probation officer as a diversion or sentencing option to devise a restorative justice response to the child’s offending;
(xiv)“independent observer” means a person included in the roster referred to in section 105(i);
(xv)“inquiry magistrate” means the officer presiding in a preliminary inquiry;
(xvi)“Legal Aid Board” means the Legal Aid Board established under section 2 of the Legal Aid Act, 1969 (Act No. 22 of 1969);
(xvii)“Legal Aid Clinic” means an institution providing legal representation at State expense under the auspices of the Legal Aid Board;
(xviii)“One-Stop Child Justice Centre” means a centre established in terms of section 72;
(xix)“place of safety” means a place of safety as defined in section 1 of the Child Care Act, 1983 (Act No. 74 of 1983);
(xx)“police official” means a member of the South African Police Service or of a municipal police service established in terms of the South African Police Service Act, 1995 (Act No. 68 of 1995);
(xxi)“preliminary inquiry” means the compulsory procedure described in Chapter 7 which takes place before plea and trial in a court;
(xxii)“prescribed” means prescribed by regulation to this Act;
(xxiii)“probation officer” means a person appointed under the Probation Services Act, 1991 (Act No. 116 of 1991), and includes a social worker or other suitably qualified person designated as a probation officer or assistant probation officer for tasks to be carried out in terms of this Act;
(xxiv)“residential requirement” means compulsory residence in a residential facility or a place other than the child’s home;
(xxv)“residential facility” means a residential facility established by the Minister of Education or the Minister of Welfare and Population Development which is designated to receive sentenced children;
(xxvi)“restorative justice” means the promotion of reconciliation, restitution and responsibility through the involvement of a child, the child’s parent, family members, victims and communities;
(xxvii) “secure care facility” means a secure care facility as defined in the Child Care Act, 1983 (Act No. 74 of 1983);
(xxviii) “symbolic restitution” means the restitution of an object owned, made or bought by a child to a specified person, persons, group or institution as compensation for the harm caused by that child;
(xxix)“this Act” includes any regulations made under this Act.
Application of this Act
2.(1)This Act applies to any person in the Republic of South Africa, irrespective of nationality, country of origin or immigration status, who is alleged to have committed an offence and who, at the time of the alleged commission of such offence, is or was under the age of 18 years.
(2)The Director of Public Prosecutions or a designated prosecutor may, in exceptional circumstances, direct that proceedings in respect of an individual person must take place in terms of the provisions of this Act: Provided that such person may not be over the age of 21 years.
(3)The circumstances referred to in subsection (2) include those where -
(a)there are several co-accused and the majority of such persons are below the age of 18 years;
(b)the age of a person is not established but there is reason to believe that the person’s age is such that this Act would apply;
(c)a child commits a further offence while serving a residential sentence imposed in terms of the provisions of this Act, despite the fact that such child may be over the age of 18 years at the time of such further offence.
(4)This Act applies to a person in respect of whom proceedings have been instituted in terms of this Act until conclusion of such proceedings, despite the fact that such person may have reached the age of 18 years during the course of such proceedings.
Application of this Act in relation to the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977
3.(1)Where this Act does not provide for any matter or procedure for which the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No. 51 of 1977) provides, the provisions of that Act apply with such changes as may be required by the context.
(2)Where there is any inconsistency between this Act and the Criminal Procedure Act, the former applies.
4.The objectives of this Act are to -
(a)protect the rightsof children who are subject to the provisions of this Act;
(b)promote ubuntu in the child justice system through -
(i)fostering of children’s sense of dignity and worth;
(ii)reinforcing children’s respect for human rights and the fundamental freedoms of others by holding children accountable for their actions and safe-guarding the interests of victims and the community;
(iii)supporting reconciliation by means of a restorative justice response; and
(iv)involving parents, families, victims and communities in child justice processes in order to encourage the reintegration of children who are subject to the provisions of this Act; and
(c)promote co-operation between all government departments, other organisationsand agencies involved in implementing an effective child justice system.
5.Any court or person exercising any power conferred by this Act or by section 20 of the Black Administration Act, 1927 (Act No. 38 of 1927) must be guided by the following principles:
(a)A child who is subject to procedures in terms of this Act must be given an opportunity to respond before any decision affecting him or her is taken.
(b)Every child should be addressed in a manner appropriate to his or her age and intellectual development and should be spoken to and allowed to speak in the language of choice through an interpreter, if necessary.
(c)Children should be treated in a manner which takes into account their cultural values and beliefs.
(d)All procedures in terms of this Act must be conducted and completed speedily.
(e)Every child has the right to maintain contact with family, and to have access to social services.
(f)Parents and families have the right to assist their children in proceedings under this Act and wherever possible to participate in decisions affecting them.
(g)All consequences arising from the commission of an offence by a child must be proportionate to the circumstances of the child, the nature of the offence and the interests of society, and a child must not be treated more severely than an adult would have been in the same circumstances.
(h)A child lacking in family support, or educational or employment opportunities must have equal access to available services and every effort must be made to ensure that children receive equal treatment when having committed similar offences.
CHAPTER 2: AGE, CRIMINAL CAPACITY AND AGE DETERMINATION
Age and criminal capacity
6.(1)A child who, at the time of the alleged commission of an offence, is below the age of ten years cannot be prosecuted.
(2)A child who, at the time of the alleged commission of an offence is at least ten years of age, but not yet 14 years, is presumed not to have had the capacity to appreciate the difference between right and wrong and to act in accordance with that appreciation, unless it is subsequently proved, beyond reasonable doubt, that such child at the time of the alleged commission of an offence had such capacity.
(3)If the prosecution of a child referred to in subsection (2) is contemplated, the Director of Public Prosecutions must issue a certificate confirming an intention to prosecute, which certificate must be issued after a preliminary inquiry.
(4)If the certificate referred to in subsection (3) is not issued within 14 days after the preliminary inquiry, the charges must be withdrawn.
(5)In issuing a certificate referred to in subsection (3) the Director of Public Prosecutions must have regard to -
(a)the appropriateness of diversion of the child alleged to have committed an offence;
(b)the educational level, cognitive ability, domestic and environmental circumstances, age and maturity of such child;
(c)the nature and gravity of the alleged offence;
(d)the impact of the alleged offence upon any victim of such offence;
(e)a probation officer’s assessment report; and
(f)any other relevant information.
(6)The common law pertaining to the criminal capacity of children below the age of 14 years is repealed.
Duties of police officials in relation to age estimation
7.(1)If a police official is uncertain about the age of a person suspected of having committed an offence, but has reason to believe that the age would render that person subject to the provisions of this Act, the official must take such person to a probation officer for estimation of age as soon as is reasonably possible.
(2)Where a police official has reason to believe that a child suspected of having committed an offence is below the age of ten years, he or she may not arrest the child, and must take such child to a probation officer for estimation of age or further action in terms of section 46.
Age estimation by probation officer
8.(1) If the age of a person brought before a probation officer is uncertain, such officer must make an estimation of that person’s age.
(2)For such purposes a probation officer must complete a prescribed form and obtain any relevant information as regards the age of the person concerned.
(3)In making such an estimation, information available must be considered in the following order of cogency -
(a)a previous determination of age by a magistrate under this Act, under the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No. 51 of 1977), or by a Children’s Court Commissioner under the Child Care Act, 1983 (Act No.74 of 1983);
(b)statements from a parent, legal guardian, or person likely to have direct knowledge of the age of the child or a statement made by the child or person who alleges that he or she is a child;
(c)a baptismal certificate, school registration forms, school reports, and other information of a similar nature if relevant to establishing a probable age;
(d)an estimation of age made by a medical practitioner.