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Judicial CP - January 1956

Corpun file 7245

The News, Adelaide, Australia, 12 January 1956

Doug Easom tells of S. African canings

Boys are striped for life

CORPORAL punishment ordered by the courts in children's cases here is child's play compared with South African procedure.

I say that with due respect to the distress a parental hiding causes to all parties concerned when it does happen here.

cuttingCanings here are rare. But they are so frequently ordered in South African courts that they rate only the space taken up by the cutting reproduced here from a Johannesburg paper.

This particular cutting applies only to Johannesburg courts and mentions only colored, native, and Indian boys.

But the cane knows no apartheid -- white boys are equally liable.

An eyewitness invited to watch a caning described the scene to me.

The offender, a white boy aged 13, had his trousers lowered, was held down by three policemen over a low stool, and the cane was wielded on his bare buttocks by a policeman, who wound himself up in much the same style as a baseball pitcher.

The cane made a penetrating, bleeding cut at the first stroke.

My witness walked away to vomit with the boy's hysterical screaming following him.

He learnt later the youngster spent the next two weeks in bed.

I was shown a photograph of a 17-year-old after five strokes and felt sick. He, like most of the others, will wear those stripes for the rest of his life.

Canings -- for adults the cane is heavier -- are compulsory for such crimes as car stealing, stealing from locked cars, receiving stolen property, housebreaking, robbery, rape, robbery with violence.

Some of the offences for which canings are ordered are for actions which Australians would regard as boyish exuberance, and for which the culprits would never see the inside of a courtroom.

I think there'd be a riot if anyone ever attempted it in Australia.

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