Justice must be served in k-word case - State

2014-12-12 18:33
Gavel (File, Shutterstock)

Gavel (File, Shutterstock)

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Cape Town - Race-based attacks are very serious and should be dealt with in a manner that inspires confidence in citizens, the Cape Town Magistrate's Court heard on Friday.

"Our past is our past and we need to live and see into our future. There is a need for the court to consider this and a need for the court to protect the community against people like the accused," said prosecutor Andy Hess.

She was arguing in aggravation of the sentencing of 36-year-old Andre van Deventer, who was convicted last month of assaulting domestic worker Gloria Kente, and calling her a "kaffir".

She said the sentence should be considered in light of an attack on race, and him committing a similar offence against Kente in 2008.

"We have different types of racial issues in our country. The accused clearly has an issue with black people and women."

Not making an example

The court heard that its role was not to make an example of Van Deventer but to make sure justice was seen to be done.

He had admitted he had a problem with alcohol and aggression, especially against women, but did not admit to having a problem with black people.

"I would submit, that he needs to go out in the community and show and learn from them that this is not a country where everybody is racist or uses words," Hess said.

She said an appropriate sentence would be house arrest, community service and a prohibition on using alcohol or any drugs.

Correctional services would then set out the appropriate programmes for him.

The recommended sentence was in accordance with section 276(1)(h) of the Criminal Procedure Act, which offered correctional supervision after a correctional officer had placed a report before the court.

The supervision could not exceed three years.

Hess said this was not an easy option and 90% of people who received this sentence returned to court to say they could not uphold the conditions anymore.

Alternative imprisonment

She also offered an alternative option of periodical imprisonment, which would see him working in the week and spending the weekend at Pollsmoor Prison.

"But if the court wants to look at his sentence with an element of mercy, then maybe correctional supervision is an option," she directed at Magistrate Alta le Roux.

Besides leading his client on the stand, Henry van der Westhuizen did not address the court in mitigation of sentence.

Hess said the correctional report was not ready because Van Deventer had apparently not co-operated with the official to secure a visit at his home address.

But Van der Westhuizen said his client had only been called two days ago and would take a day's leave as necessary to offer his assistance.

Hess threatened that if he did not co-operate with the officer, she would ask the court to consider periodical imprisonment.

The case was postponed until 28 January to allow for the completion of the report and possible sentencing.

Read more on:    cape town  |  racism  |  crime

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