A Constitutional Court judgment made available yesterday outlaws the canning of juvenile offenders. According to the judgment corporal punishment is “inhuman and degrading punishment”.
The Constitutional Court judgment is for a case referred by the High Court where a 15-year-old boy was sentenced to 6 strokes of the cane for raping a 14-year-old girl. The boy’s lawyers appealed the sentence and in 2014 High Court judge ruled that the sentence was unconstitutional but referred the case to the Constitutional Court.
Part of yesterday’s ruling reads:
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The court holds that judicial corporal punishment is, by nature, intent and effect, an inhuman and degrading punishment within the meaning of Section 53 of the Constitution. The court also holds in respect of the main question that Section 353 of the Act is inconsistent with Section 53 of the Constitution.
The order of the High Court concerning constitutional invalidity of Section 353 of the Act is hereby confirmed.
With effect from 3 April 2019, no male juvenile convicted of any offence, shall be sentenced to receive moderate corporal punishment.
The prohibition shall apply to juveniles already sentenced but awaiting execution.
Caning invades the integrity of the human body. It is an inhuman punishment which blocks the way to understanding the pathology of crime. It has been abolished in many countries of the world as being incompatible with the contemporary concepts of humanity, decency and fundamental fairness.
More: The Herald