Northern Cape Judge President Frans Kgomo was listening to mitigating evidence in the sentencing procedures of the 17-year-old boy found guilty of three murders.
“It seems the boy adapted well socially and formed good relationships with friends,” criminologist Eon Sonnekus said.
Riaan Bode, for the boy, called Sonnekus as the first witness for the defence in arguing for mitigating circumstances.
The court has found the boy guilty of the murders of Griekwastad farmer Deon Steenkamp, 44, his wife Christel, 43, and their daughter Marthella, 14. They were shot dead on their farm Naauwhoek on April 6, 2012.
The boy was also found guilty on a charge of raping the girl and lying to the police.
Sonnekus testified that one of the boy’s girlfriends explained that he had always treated her and her friends with chivalry.
Sonnekus said the girl spent much time with the boy, over a period of some 10 weekends, and at times was alone with him in the fields.
“He treated her as a lady. The girl was not scared of the boy,” Sonnekus said.
He also testified about the boy’s character, saying evidence indicated he was a typical farmboy.
The court heard the boy never played rough or bullied other children. He was a restless child who constantly wanted to be busy.
Other children were never scared when he handled firearms. He acted in a safe manner at all times.
Sonnekus testified that, according to the boy’s grandparents, he had a beautiful personality.
“The grandparents have testified to good character qualities.”
Sonnekus testified that the boy’s good character was confirmed by long-time friends. He said the boy was still in his early adolescent development and not a hardened criminal.
“The programmes of correctional services must be given a chance to reform the boy’s behaviour.”
Sonnekus cited documented evidence pertaining to the boy’s behaviour since the murders. He testified about witnesses who referred to the boy showing emotions and sorrow.
The trial continues.