Brittany Mitchell, the KwaZulu-Natal teenager who was arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit murder after she tried to have the mother of her former boyfriend killed, will not face a trial, instead she will have to go to Anger Management classes, a life skills course and do 100 hours of community work.
Now it must be noted that the withdrawal, or diversion, of charges is used to prevent minors or adults with minor offences from going through court procedures and rather receive rehabilitative assistance.
So what exactly is classified as a “minor offence” these days if conspiracy to commit murder falls in that category?
This worrying court decision is quite rampant in the UK these days, where so many people have been pretty much “let off” without barely a slap on the wrist. The result of this in the UK has been a rise in crime, particularly amongst the youth. These young offenders have grown up knowing that nothing will be done to them, regardless of the crime committed.
We can already see this attitude amongst the youth of South Africa. Over the past ten years we have seen a massive rise in serious youth crime, including murder, rape and violence. It is court decisions such as this that can only fuel this “untouchable” belief amongst the youth and further fuel this out-of-control behaviour.
My personal feeling is that we need to bring back firm discipline to the schools and homes, as well as firm action by the courts. Kids need to know that there are boundaries and that when they cross them, there are severe consequences!