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Justice Delayed Is Still Welcome

Thursday, December 3, 2015 7:02
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Former Ambassador, Human Rights Activist

In general I am not a fan of the power of the state, and take a Rumpolesque view of the justice system. But I think nevertheless that justice has been well served by today’s Supreme Court verdict in the Pistorius case. Plainly, at the very least, he intended murderous violence towards whoever was locked in the toilet, and that person could not in any rational sense be said to have been posing an immediate threat to him.

I happened to watch the entire original trial – I cannot recall what on earth was going on in my own life then that I could find the time to do that. Today’s Supreme Court judgement was not allowed to query the finding that Pistorius did bot know it was Steenkamp in the toilet, but I must say I had thought that finding to be astonishing given the evidence. The Supreme Court’s ruling that in any event Pistorius murderously was aware he was killing someone, could be reached without questioning that.

I have no doubt the original Judge Maripa acted conscientiously and was motivated by consideration of making every possible allowance for Pistorius’ disability and its effect on his state of mind. I would much rather judges are too susceptible to compassion than the opposite. But the signals sent – about violence towards women and about the implied right of the wealthy to shoot to defend their property even when obviously not threatened – were awful. This was a much needed correction.


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