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November 25, 2004

Child sex court in crisis

News24 reports that most of the daily hearings in the child s ex court unit at the Pretoria Regional Court are being postponed because of a shortage of magistrates. The courts were established four years ago in accordance with the Constitution, which stipulates that hearings involving child victims get priority. However, because of a shortage of magistrates, an average of 20 cases on each of the three court rolls have been postponed until April. The shortage comes after magistrates refused last month to preside over these courts on a full-time basis. Reasons given were that they refused to hear 'soul-destroying and exhausting' testimonies on an ongoing basis. This follows an altercation that developed between the National Prosecutions Authority (NPA) and Regional Court President Willem Pruis. The NPA was upset that Pruis earlier had decided that the 500-plus cases on this court's roll be distributed evenly among all regional courts so that no one magistrate had to hear all the cases.
Full report on News24 site


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