Procedure at the juvenile court
The juvenile court is relatively more relaxed than the adult court. The following procedure is adopted at the juvenile court:
- The magistrate will explain in simple language the substance of the alleged offence to the defendant.
- The juvenile is asked whether the charged is admitted or denied. When taking plea, the juvenile has to stand, but at other times the defendant remains seated.
- If the offence is not admitted, the court will hear the evidence of the prosecution witnesses. During the examination of witnesses, the court may intervene and put to witnesses such questions as appear to be necessary in the interest of justice.
- At the end of the evidence in chief of each prosecution witness, the court will ask the juvenile or parent or guardian whether they wish to question the witness if the juvenile is not legally represented. If instead of asking questions, the court can also allow the juvenile to make a statement.
- At the end of the prosecution case, if it appears to the court that there is a prima facie case, the juvenile may give evidence and call its own witnesses if it chooses to do so.
- If the offence is proved or the juvenile has admitted to the offence, it can then proceed to mitigation of sentence.
- If it is necessary to adjourn the proceedings against a juvenile, the juvenile may be remanded in custody. In the case of a child, he or she is remanded in a place of detention, and for a young person he or she will be remanded in a place of detention or a training centre.