KZN teenage girl accused of bullying jailed for no-show in court

A screenshot from a video of an alleged bullying incident at a KZN school.
Image: Screenshot

A 16-year-old girl accused of assaulting another girl has been sentenced to three months in jail for failing to appear in court, the KwaZulu-Natal education department said on Sunday.

The teenage girl was charged with assault with the intention to cause grievous bodily harm after “severely assaulting a fellow girl learner” from Mathole High School in the Zululand district. Footage of the incident was circulated on social media and the family of the victim opened a case against her at the police station in Mahlabathini.

The accused was released into the care of her mother and was supposed to appear in court again on February 23 but she did not show up. At the next appearance, on March 9, she could not offer an explanation for her no-show in February.

“She failed to provide reasons and the magistrate found her guilty for failing to appear in court and she was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment for failure to appear before court.

“The grade 11 learner, who has started serving the three months’ jail term, is expected to appear before the court once again on March 31 where the matter of assault with intention to cause grievous bodily harm will once again be heard,” the department said in a statement.

Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu said he hoped the sentence would serve as a deterrent.

“We have had a number of cases involving learners that are bullying others in schools. Despite our spirited campaigns to plead with our learners to desist from this behaviour, it appears that some continue to disregard our call. We hope that this sentence and the likelihood of another one for assault will serve as a deterrent and a harsh lesson to all other wayward learners,” said Mshengu.

The department has also followed internal processes to deal with the incident which concluded that the pupil should be expelled.

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