Justice on Sale - The Oscar Conviction

2016-07-06 10:57

Good news! Apparently the South African Courts are having a sale this week. It’s the end-of-season for criminals, where for the mind-blowing price of Manslaughter, a judge of your liking will throw in a conviction for Murder, all for the staggering price of 6 years.

It’s almost too good to be true (if killing is your thing).

- Want to murder your girlfriend but don’t have the 15 years to spend in a maximum security prison?

- Want to destroy a family but don’t have the stomach to pay the price?

- Does the thought of taking responsibility for your actions want to make you want to weep publicly on television? And maybe drool a bit for emphasis?

- Is manipulation your thing and are you prepared to look vulnerable on request?

Well then the South African Court system is the place for you. For as little as your dignity and reputation, you will be able to slaughter the girlfriend of your choice by shooting her multiple times and then blame her for not telling you she was going to the bathroom (doesn’t that make you just want to smash something or like discharge a hand-gun when they do that?) And before her lifeless body is even cold, you will be able to resume your normal life having “paid the price.” You would have to be insane to turn down this once-in-her-short-life-time offer (or has the insanity plea thing already been tried?)

Much like the shots you fired at her, this is a deal not to be missed.

South Africa has just received the news that Oscar Pistorius will serve 6 years for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day. Judge Thokozile Masipa found that there were compelling mitigating circumstances that allowed her to deviate from the prescribed 15-year sentence that is set down for convicted murderers, and to sentence him 6 years for the crime of murder. And to be clear, a sentence of 6 years will most likely see him walk free in 3 years. That is less than a year per bullet that he fired through a locked bathroom door at an unarmed vulnerable woman who hadn’t told him (according to the murderer) that she was going to the bathroom. Had he known this, he might have considered firing just 2 shots. That would surely have done the trick.

Given the fact that the Judge had ruled incorrectly by convicting Pistorius of Manslaughter – subsequently overturned by the Court of Appeal, one would have expected a measured and balanced finding with regard to the conviction. And yet, almost unfathomably, the judge awarded him (and indeed it is an award for Pistorius) a sentence that will once again take the country’s breath away. Because once again, South Africans are being sent the message that life, at least according to this court, is cheap.

One can only speculate why Masipa seemed to be more sympathetic to a murderer that to the woman he killed. We will probably never understand what he evoked in her and why she chose to focus on more mitigating than aggravating circumstances.

But whatever the reasons, one can’t help feeling that Oscar has won. That Reeva has lost, and that her family has not seen justice served. Oscar has paid a basement bargain price, an off-the-back-of a- truck, an end of range and a closing down sale price for the murder of his girlfriend. And that that even though the Court of Appeal found him guilty of murder, that the price he is paying is not for murder at all.

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