Condemn vitriolic and personal attack on Judge Masipa

2014-09-18 03:44

WE AS CIVIL SOCIETY THAT UPHOLDS AND RESPECTS THE CONSTITUTION AND RULE OF LAW MUST CONDEMN THE PERSONAL ATTACK ON THE INTEGRITY OF THE HONORABLE JUSTICE MASIPA. WE MUST APOLOGISE TO HER AND TO THE JUDICIARY WHO UPHOLD THE VERY EDIFICE OF OUR CONSTITUTION WITHOUT WHICH WE CRUMBLE AS A DEMOCRACY.

Despite my blog piece last week, explaining the Oscar Pistorius judgment in part, the vitriolic amongst us, nameless and shameless continue to vent their ignorance and prejudice in the comments section especially, which I find cowardly and unfortunate.

To those who responded as they did, you condemn your own prejudice and phobia.

Criticising a judge is normal and healthy in our democracy but the personal and racist broadsides that I have been reading online and elsewhere by faceless and nameless and yes, shameless people condemns them for what they are.

The critical and valid comments on the substance of the judgment are necessary and healthy in a democratic society. It shows that people are engaged in civc society.

I personally, as a lawyer, however, am totally opposed to the types of unprecedented criticisms which are aimed to attack the personal integrity of the Judge Masipa in particular and the Judiciary in general.

I find these sort of the attacks to Judge to be problematic because the Judge cannot be expected to come out defending herself in media.

I found it to be totally disturbing and unacceptable that those who do not agree with the judgment of Judge Masipa went to the extent of allegedly threatening to physically harm her.

The use of irresponsible statements from what ever source which label her as a “moron” cannot in a way be justified as a fair criticism and must be condemned in the strongest terms possible for they amount to contempt of court and that they do not have a space in our democracy.

Unfounded suggestions that Judge Masipa has been bribed in order for her to the decision she did is a serious accusation which undermines our justice system. Someone posted a photo on a social media site showing her sitting with a pile of money in front of her.

What sickness of the mind is that. Does SA in general support his atrocious behaviour?

Such actions are irresponsible and criminal and undesirable as they compromise the integrity of the judge and our juduciary.

It is unacceptable that the criticism should be aimed to or result in the undermining of the administration of Justice.

I call upon the all your erudite readers and subscribers of this blog as well as those sections of the South African population who feel aggrieved by the judgment by Judge Masipa to wait for the cause of Justice to fully unfold.

We have mechanisms in place. Members of public should be reminded that our judicial system puts in place the mechanism through which the decision of a Judge or Court may be appealed or reviewed to a higher court.

In this instance it is the National Prosecution Authority (NPA), no doubt will consider its case in the light of the judgment that will be handed down and decide if, on the point of Law (interpretation of dolus eventualis by Judge Masipa), they have a strong case which justifies their application of leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Really. Insults and threats to the judge by members of public through social media and other forms of media do not assist in building the independence of judiciary, which is the corner stone of our democracy, but only instigate unwarranted attacks on Judge Masipa.

Personally and as a lawyer I deem it important to counter these attacks levelled against Judge Masipa and the judiciary because Oscar Pistorious case is a high profile case and all the unwarranted attacks linked with it may result in disregard of the judiciary and such memory will linger longer in the public perception about our courts.

Our Constitutional Court's ruling, in the much acknowledged Makwanyana case should not be forgootten. There 11 judges held that a" Court cannot allow itself to be diverted from its duty to act as an independent arbiter of the fact by making choices on the basis that they will find favour with the public”.

We can't expect the media and the public to expect the Courts to substitute their “opinion” for the Court's judgments and if the courts rule contrary to what they expected they should respect the rule of law.

Apologise to Judge Masipa who should be respected for applying the law without fear or prejudice. We laud Thuli Madonsela for her role in fighting corruption.

So we too should be proud to have black female Judges, in our country, of Judge Masipa's calibre who are ready to tackle any case irrespective of the attention it attracts. Their courage and dedication dispels the unacceptable backward thinking notions or suggestions that black women lawyers are used as “window dressing”.

If you want to continue your vitriol.....SHOW US WHO YOU ARE. DONT HIDE YOURSELF BEHIND NOM DEPLUMES.

Saber Ahmed Jazbhay

18.9.2014

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