As the country continues to process the shocking daylight shooting that accounted for the first homicide of the year, the 16-year-old boy accused of the murder was remanded to prison yesterday, after being arrested and subsequently charged.
The victim, 26-year-old Syrian national Roudi Shmali, was gunned down inside a superette on DeSouza Road on Monday.
Two individuals, according to police sources, were questioned in connection with the crime, before the charges were laid against the youngster who cannot be named for legal reasons.
The accused, said to be from Upper Fort Road, made his first appearance before the court – via the Child Justice Board – on Thursday.
And on his next court appearance, the young boy will appear before the Juvenile Court for committal proceedings to the High Court.
According to the Child Justice (Amendment) Act 2018, minors under the age of 12 cannot be held liable for criminal offences.
Minors over 14 are liable to spend no more than three years in prison if “the offence for which the child is convicted is an offence listed under Schedule III, or murder or treason” and if “substantial and compelling reasons exist for imposing a sentence of imprisonment, which may include a previous failure to respond to alternative sentences, including sentences with a residential element and where the court imposing the sentence considers that no other sentence is appropriate”.
Children aged 12 and 13 cannot receive jail time, but are liable to receive other types of sentences such as referral to counselling.
The government has previously expressed its intention to review current legislation.
The hope though is that the measures being taken at the social level will be sufficient to prevent cases of delinquency reaching that point.