The Oscar Pistoruis trial is now complete, tried, convicted and sentenced, BUT was justice served?

Rumpff JA – in S v Zinn – “What has to be considered is the triad consisting of the
crime, the offender and the interests of society” the triad in Zinn, read the case here if interested >> http://lawblogsa.com/criminal-law-specific-crimes/  first case.

The crime no doubt was grave, but was culpable homicide the correct verdict? The offender a disabled first time offender.  But what of the interest of society??  There is massive public interest in this case, not only locally but globally.

I am not referring to the interest of the public, but rather whats in the public interest(interest of society).  What is the public interest? What does that mean?  In layman’s terms it means (simple definition) has the public been served? Has the judgment and sentence instilled a sense of faith and confidence in the judiciary? That the Judiciary is capable of administering justice. There is a tangible sense of justice.  Here i do not talk of retribution or revenge, it is not the courts duty to impose a sentence in accordance with what society wants, such as “hang him”, “send him to jail for life” ect… that is not in the public interest.

Yes indeed there is a deterrent factor in sentencing, but this cannot be seen in isolation.  The court cannot sentence based solely on deterring future criminals from doing crime. Retribution too is part of sentencing, but sending someone to prison for 10 years for not paying a tv licence(which has happened) is quite frankly disturbing.  The sentencing regime has evolved over the years to incorporate rehabilitation and “ubuntu”….giving back to the community from which you took, it would seem many are not happy with this, and prefer the “old” approach.  Although sending someone to prison is what people expect, the reality is, is that our prisons are over populated and that needs to be taken into account, and because it costs us hundreds of millions to keep people in jail.  That said, the punishment should fit the crime.

So is it in the interest of society to send an accused like OP to jail for five years under S 276(1)(i) of the Criminal Procedure Act? Taking into account the current circumstances (conviction of Culpable Homicide), taking into account the crime, his personal circumstances and the interests of society. S 276(1)(i) the “section” states basically that once a person has been convicted for 5 years they can get “parole” after 10 months, ie: after one sixth of the sentence has been served.  The “parole” entails house arrest for the rest of the sentence, under strict supervision.  There is no guarantee that he will get released after 10 months.

I am not sure this sentence instills a sense of confidence in the public.  As little as 10 months in jail for culp?  Even for Culp this is a very lenient sentence. I doubt the defense will be appealing this sentence.  Would this sentence deter you from killing your enemy from behind a closed door? I doubt it.

It would seem the learned Judge took to lenient a view on OP, seemed to weigh in heavily on this in sentencing…. what of the crime?  The crime was horrendous!  What of the interests of society? Society is baying for a heavy sentence, to impose a heavy sentence for a culpable homicide of this nature.  And what does society get?  10 MONTHS!  The Judge has a tough job and cant please everyone, but no doubt OP is pleased.  Reeva’s parents are yet to comment as i write this.

I think a sentence of 5 years without the option of parole – (ie: serve a full term of 5 years for this crime) would have been a standard sentence for this crime. BUT such is the law, its not black and white, each decision turns on its facts and even after conviction sentencing is a whole new procedure. Each Judge has his or her own personal nuances that weigh in on their decision.

Crimes against woman have increased in South Africa. I think this too could and should have been pursued with more vigour (the retribution factor).

Either way, the Judgment of the court must be respected.

Will there be an appeal from the State?  14 days…

any thing to say? please comment below




  1. Khuzelihle Ngcelwane · · Reply

    justice is not served. If this is the precedent that the South African Justice system set then our country will face huge problems in future. I fail to understand why they take into consideration his disability when they have to sentence him while the crime he committed is equivalent or the same as to one commitment by an able person. The department of correctional services does cater for disabled criminals I don’t see why there should be a special treatment when it comes to him. The interest of the society at large were ignored by the court it is not acceptable that a man who is capable of killing a human being negligently or either intentionally can get 5 years or let me say 10 months imprisonment. I sometime wonder how do our judges reason sometimes and were did they do their interpretation of statutes.


  2. Harold Ferwood · · Reply

    Any sentence given to OP would seem unjustified and disproportionate as he is innocent of culpable homicide.

    Any legal scholar who actually paid attention in Criminal Law lectures (and not on the payroll of OP’s defence team) will have no doubt that he committed murder based on dolus eventualis.

    It is shocking how Judge Masipa reasoned this matter and not only with regard to the charge of murder. As it now stands you are not guilty of being in possession of unlawful ammunition if you do not consciously decide to possess the ammunition. Prepare yourself to hear hundreds of gangsters and drug dealers use this argument as a defence when being searched or raided. All they have to say that its their father’s and they just keeping it for them and never intended to use or take possession of the items and all this would be placed in an affidavit. Father simply has to refuse to give said affidavit or even better, Father is dead.


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