Courts owe this child

Sentences meted out to criminals or reckless drivers should fit the crimes they have committed.

Sentences meted out to criminals or reckless drivers should fit the crimes they have committed.

Mitigating factors should not always sway the courts to impose lenient sentences and ignore the weight of the crimes and its effects on the victims.

Three-year-old Cassidy Witbooi was a bouncy little child who was looking forward to a positive life with the support of her parents.

These wishes were dashed in October last year when a 16-year-old boy knocked her down near her parents' home in Claremont, Johannesburg.

The culprit, who did not have a driver's licence, was fined only R2500 for reckless and negligent driving by a Johannesburg magistrate.

Cassidy's parents have a right to be angry at the lenient sentence. They have already spent R48000 in medical bills and, sadly, the mother is unemployed.

Without being contemptuous to the court, the sentence goes against the government's tough stance against reckless and speeding motorists.

The only relief for the Witbooi family now is to turn to the courts and file a civil claim for damages.

Cassidy needs the best possible medical treatment to help her grow up like any other normal child.

And this is going to be costly.

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