Should we let shoplifters steal court time?

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Should we let shoplifters steal court time?

FREE TO READ | It’s a question at the centre of a special review to consider encouraging offenders to just plead guilty

Journalist

Should a person who has stolen three People magazines be encouraged to plead guilty to shoplifting to save time in the courts, even if it means a potentially damaging criminal record?

The magazine pinching is a real example that was used as one of the case studies in a special review at the Durban High Court, where a panel of judges was asked to determine if the way the Durban Magistrates’ Court handled shoplifting cases was just.

The review, concluded earlier this month, came just a few months after the 2019 crime statistics recorded 60,000 cases of shoplifting, with such cases often filling the rolls at the lower courts...

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