Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Reeva Steenkamp: Sorry, still no justice for your murder

The rebuke and the circus
The greatest rebuke one can ever receive is one given to you by your professional peers when they question the decisions you have made and advise you to review your original conclusions.
Nowhere is this more obvious than to have the decisions of a judge firstly reversed on appeal, but to have the same case sent back to the same judge for reflection, review, and reconsideration.
The popular circus of Oscar Pistorius and the bit-player wielding the gavel in the person of Judge Thokozile Masipa returned to the glare of global media again today.
When the circus first came to town, it was incredulous that having had an introduction to Latin on the spectrum of offence resulting in the death of a victim and we need not go over that, Oscar Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide and a few minor offences resulting in a five-year jail term and a probationary period of three years for the other offences.
The appeal for justice
Oscar Pistorius did not languish in jail, he was out in about a year and fighting to stay free. Meanwhile, one can only commend the tenacity of the National Prosecution Agency that would not give up on the case, but appeal the judgment to a higher court.
When the court returned a judgement on appeal, it suggested Judge Masipa erred in her reading of the issue and concluded, Oscar Pistorius could not have been oblivious of the consequences of his actions, therefore, it could not have been culpable homicide, but murder. Oscar Pistorius’ appeal to the constitutional court failed and he returned to the court of Judge Masipa for sentencing. [Independent][CriminalLawZA]
Now, Oscar Pistorius has been sent to jail for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp for six years, just a year more than what he originally got for culpable homicide and nine years short of the recommended prison term for murder.
Mercifully unjust
It is clear that Judge Masipa has in many ways been sympathetic to Oscar Pistorius, in both the first case and this new sentencing, serving the needs for justice in her conception for Oscar Pistorius and seriously at the expense of the victim Reeva Steenkamp who died a horrific violent death at the hands of her boyfriend.
Justice, in order to retain its humanity, must be tempered with mercy, however, where the victim has no voice to state their case or grievance, it behoves the judge to give the greatest consideration to the voiceless, especially where the perpetrator has hired the best legal guns to shoot down the prosecution's case to smithereens.
For whatever Oscar Pistorius might have lost in career, in earnings, in freedom and much else, it cannot come close to having deprived a young woman with all to live for of her life in what was essentially an evil domestic violence situation. I have no cause to believe Oscar Pistorius’ explanation of the events of that fateful Valentine’s Day of 2013, everything he did was reckless in the extreme to be completely unforgivable.
We mourn still
However, for whatever reason yet unfathomable, he finds favour, grace, mercy and compassion at the actions of Judge Masipa, it feels like Reeva Steenkamp has become a side issue when the whole reason why we have had this odious circus was because Reeva Steenkamp was mercilessly slaughtered.
For the kind of justice that Oscar Pistorius has received, we might well say Reeva Steenkamp has now for a third time suffered an injustice, first at the hands of her boyfriend and twice at the hands of Justice Masipa.
We in our hearts mourn Reeva Steenkamp knowing she has been wronged again, just as many other women in South Africa and beyond have suffered fatalities in a domestic setting and are literally invisible as their murderers traipse off into the sunset getting away with murder.
Reeva Steenkamp – Rest in peace, it seems we would never get the justice you deserve and that is a deeply sad shame.


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