The opening & closing paragraphs of a blog published here sixteen months ago are reproduced below:
“Any hope and prayers we might have had for Judge Masipa to do what is right to administer justice for Reeva Steenkamp, were dashed again today when once more she has shown scant regard for South African law. This is a judge who not only has been exposed by the highest criminal court in SA as not correctly applying the law, but also had invoked excessive leniency in his previous sentencing. The fact that she has been charged with this responsibility for sentencing Pistorius, simply makes a mockery of the SA justice system, and makes it a laughing stock across the World, doesn’t it? [Without compelling reasons (and there aren’t ANY), the MANDATORY minimum sentence is 15 years, but that has been ignored, and the judge has now given him only one more year for the ‘murder’ than she decided on when she originally found him guilty of ‘manslaughter’ – a MUCH less serious conviction. Her justification is that he had shown ‘remorse’ when nothing is further from the truth, since he has NEVER admitted ANY responsibility and consistently insisted in court that it was simply an accident that could have happened to anybody, no less?”
“In the past, numerous world sporting icons indeed have bitten the dust because of their excessively bad behaviour or illegal actions, so Pistorius is no different, just worse – with luck he will rot away in jail, so we won’t have to write about him here ever again, and Reeva will safely be with her maker, eh?
Well, the wheels of South African justice may have turned slowly, but it has finally got there now, eh? The credit for that outcome must be fully taken by the admirable diligence of the prosecution led by advocate Gerrie Nel, who wouldn’t let sleeping dogs lie, and continued their fight for natural justice for murdered Reeva Steenkamp.
Yes, the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein [SCA] in a panel of five judges has now unanimously handed down the minimum 15 years jail sentence, as prescribed for murder in South Africa, to Oscar Pistorius – as he “displays a lack of remorse, and does not appreciate the gravity of his actions.” and NO compelling and substantial circumstances existed to waiver the minimum, as we all knew?. Many of us will remember that he had originally got just 5 years for manslaughter, which required him to serve only 10 months incarceration in a cushy prison – now he is going to be banged-up for a long time, and rightly so.
Prosecutors had argued that Pistorius’ six-year term for murdering Reeva Steenkamp was “shockingly light”, and indeed that reflected the common view. He had shot his model girlfriend four times through a locked toilet door at his home in the capital Pretoria. Trial Judge Thokozile Masipa dismissed in August 2016 a request by Nel to appeal Pistorius’ sentence, saying she was not persuaded that there was a reasonable prospect of success at another court, but Nel launched the case at the SCA anyway.
No doubt Pistorius will continue to benefit from his status as an international celebrity [due to his disability (double-amputee) and prowess as an athlete (a multiple Paralympic champion)], garnered by great family wealth, so although he might well continue to receive preferential treatment compared to non-whites, at least he will still be in jail [hopefully a high security facility, eh?].
[Oh yes, this may indeed not be the welcome end of the Pistorius saga, because he has the money available to appeal to the ‘Constitutional Court’, the highest court in South Africa, even though he is likely to fail there].