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Bring back the Death Penalty?

12 February 2013, 15:00

I decided to avoid the New24 section for a few weeks and be more like an Ostrich with its head in the sand for the first time in years. My blinkered approach to the News was that maybe all these negative happenings will ‘just go away’ if I don’t know about them.

Then the story broke about Anene Booysen last week and the atrocities that were done to her.

I cried about the children out there undergoing brutal attacks on their innocence daily and that more had to be done. I found myself swept up with the rest of the Nation and shouting very loudly in support of the Death Penalty.

Today, I stopped myself and gave myself a good hard talking to and realised that we are not ready.

As a country, South Africa is still very young. Our Judicial system is still aspiring to the level that it needs to be. Daily we see courts fail to prosecute the murderers and rapists in our midst.

The Police open investigations and submit all the gathered evidence which either turns out to be illegally obtained or missing the vital steps that need to be taken in order for any investigation to grant a successful prosecution.

The same can be said of the reverse. The police have the smallest thread of evidence, no forensics to support and the ‘alleged criminal’ is put behind bars – everyone is happy.

Now apply this same scenario to a regular case of ‘Who Dunnit’, in a case of Rape or Murder in South Africa. Any form of bungling could result in the wrong person being imprisoned. For those naysayers out there – just look around you, delve into the details of just how many people have been unlawfully arrested and detained, awaiting trial to see what a mess the current system is.

Introduce the ‘Death Penalty’ which hypothetically speaking per referendum and overall demand of the South African Public, has now been added to the Laws that Govern our Stat . Don’t forget to consider all the bungling of the police, lawyers and courts – the end result being that it is very possible that the wrong person is executed.

If the Death Penalty returns we cannot be selective and say ‘let that one hang/be electrocuted’ but ‘that one we are not sure about so he/she can just go to prison’. Once the precedence has been set folks – that’s it and innocent people may die. Bear in mind, that  every lawyer with a case of Murder and Rape, would be pressured to argue for the maximum sentence – Death.

And if it goes wrong – you cannot ‘unkill’ somebody. There are sufficient cases worldwide of exactly where this error has occurred.

Our country and our courts of law have a long way to go before reaching full maturity in order to take on such a monumental decision such as this.

I for one will not have the blood of innocent people on my hands.

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