Modise slated over claims made during Oscar testimony

2014-10-17 05:00
Zach Modise (AFP)

Zach Modise (AFP)

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Oscar's trial - day 4 sentencing summary

2014-10-16 16:03

On day four of sentencing arguments for Oscar Pistorius in the North Gauteng High Court, Brett Kebble's killer Mikey Schultz caused a stir by insulting the Pistorius family with profanity. Watch.WATCH

Johannesburg - The Wits Justice Project on Thursday accused acting national correctional services commissioner Zach Modise of making "unfounded allegations" against it.

"Numerous allegations were made against the Wits Justice Project by acting commissioner Modise, and we exercise our right to refute such unfounded and incorrect statements," it said in a statement, referring to Modise's testimony in aggravation of sentencing for Oscar Pistorius.

The project denied the allegation that it was run by two journalists.

It said it was part of the journalism department at Wits University, headed by Professor Anton Harber and was governed by a board of advisers.

The justice project said the second allegation that it only wrote stories that put the correctional service department in a negative light was also rejected.

"The Wits Justice Project writes about correctional facilities and aims to expose human rights abuses, as well as miscarriages of justice.

"While our stories expose rights violations, we are also quick to point out that the criminal justice system is part of a cluster of departments with responsibilities towards offenders and remand detainees," it said.

The third allegation it denied was that the Wits Justice Project published unsubstantiated and unverified facts.

It said it did not go to print without hard evidence. This included official and medical documents, eye-witness accounts and other forms of corroboration.

The project said it also practised a right of reply policy.

"We strongly resent any implication that we respond or buy into any agenda other than the one we set ourselves: that of investigating miscarriages of justice, human rights violations, and working towards the goal of a justice system that works better for all," it said.

Modise was called as the second witness for the State in the aggravation of sentencing for Pistorius.

On 12 September, Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide for the Valentine's Day 2013 shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse.

The court found him not guilty of murdering Steenkamp. Pistorius shot Steenkamp through the locked door of the toilet, apparently thinking she was an intruder about to emerge and attack him. She was hit in the hip, arm, and head.

Read more on:    reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  pistorius trial

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