Tag Archives: justice

Oscar Pistorius: Murderer

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South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal has accepted the State’s appeal and changed the conviction that was handed down to Oscar Pistorius from manslaughter to murder.

Eric Leach spent just under 30 minutes reading the unanimous ruling which was agreed upon by all of the five judges.

Leach said that having armed himself with a high-calibre weapon, Pistorius must have foreseen that whoever was behind the door might die, especially given his firearms training.  Of course he should.  He killed Reeva because he was angry and because he felt he could.

The Supreme Court ruling comes as a relief to many people who thought Oscar had evaded justice and literally ‘got away with murder’.  Pistorius had given unconvincing testimony at his trial with him being referred to as a ‘poor witness’.  Many, including me, watched the trial at times with disbelief as Oscar’s defence team trotted out one questionable expert after another – it really  was nearly laughable – but it wasn’t, because a young woman was brutally murdered on valentines day by the very person who should of protected her.

Anyone, and there were thousands, who sat through the court case was left in no doubt that Oscar was an angry young man who always got what he wanted and was prone to violent outbursts – usually, but not always vocally.  It seems he was a ticking time-bomb waiting to go off.  Unfortunately, Reeva Steenkamp took the full impact of his explosion.

 

Reeva Steenkamp
Reeva Steenkamp

So, how did he manage to get off with it first time around?  Well, like most, if not all justice systems around the world – money and the ability to afford the best lawyers seem to have played its part.  Had Oscar been a black poor kid and Reeva been the same – this wouldn’t of even been a footnote in history and Oscar would be serving a life sentence in some unforsaken prison – where he would be unknown and forgotten about by all but a few close relatives.

The UK court has a system of juries which has its positives when faced with straight forward cases – however, can fall down when things are complicated and be swayed by good witnesses or defendants.  No system is, or can be, the perfect system.

I hope that the Steenkamps can now feel some sense that justice, from their home country, has finally came down on their side.

9 New Prisons & 3,000 New Homes Announced

New Prison Template

Chancellor George Osborne and Justice Secretary Michael Gove have today unveiled plans to build 9 new prisons in England and Wales.

The new prisons should allow the government to close old Victorian prisons in city centres and sell the sites for housing.

The Government estimates that over 3,000 new homes can be built, boosting house building in urban areas and helping thousands of working people achieve their dream of owning a home. The Victorian prison site at Reading will be the first to be sold.

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Ministry of Justice, Justice Secretary Michael Gove

The Justice Secretary said that around 10,000 prison places will move from outdated sites to the new prisons, significantly improving rehabilitation, and saving around £80 million per year due to the reduced costs of modern facilities.

Speaking from his office in the Ministry of Justice, Michael Gove said:

This investment will mean we can replace ageing and ineffective Victorian prisons with new facilities fit for the modern world.

We will be able to design out the dark corners which too often facilitate violence and drug-taking.

And we will be able to build a prison estate which allows prisoners to be rehabilitated, so they turn away from crime.

It is only through better rehabilitation that we will reduce reoffending, cut crime and make our streets safer.

Chancellor George Osborne
Chancellor George Osborne

In a joint statement the Chancellor George Osborne said:

This spending review is about reform as much as it is about making savings.

One important step will be to modernise the prison estate. So many of our jails are relics from Victorian times on prime real estate in our inner cities.

So we are going to reform the infrastructure of our prison system, building new institutions which are modern, suitable and rehabilitative. And we will close old, outdated prisons in city centres, and sell the sites to build thousands of much-needed new homes.

This will save money, reform an outdated public service and create opportunity by boosting construction jobs and offering more people homes to buy.

Five of the new prisons will be open before the end of this parliament. The government will also complete the new prison being built at Wrexham, and expand existing prisons in Stocken and Rye Hill.

Accused of genocide? Better get here quick….

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We have a peculiar set up in 21st century Britain whereby If I was to say or write something derogatory about someone in another country – if they were to protest and take me to court – chances are I’d be hauled in front of a Judge to defend my words.  It seems, however, if someone abroad commits horrendous acts of slaughter, rape or genocide and then flees to our country, our Government is rendered incapacitated to extradite them back to their country of origin by our Courts – in case to do so leads to their torture or death.

And so, they flood here, knowing that our strong humanist beliefs will shelter them from their past indiscretions and enable them, sometimes people who have killed many, to share the same bus or restaurant as our unsuspecting non-murderous citizens who’d be affronted if they knew the true unpleasant history of the person(s) that shares their space.

We wonder why our country has such a bad reputation the further East one sails – we are seen to espouse standards and export morals that we ourselves do not abide by.  If you live in Africa, Iran, Afghanistan or Iraq and know, or even simply suspect, that a man who’d killed, tortured and maimed many people – including some of your own relatives, was walking free and protected by England and English law you’d be sick to your stomach.  You’d wonder at the double standards that doesn’t allow this man who’d brutalised your friends, neighbours, your children to be brought back to your country and account for the crimes committed.

And they are right.  We often condemn Russia for protecting known hitmen and I’m sure there would be absolute outrage in this country if a person killed hundreds of our citizens, fled to Iran and was then protected by the state.  Yes, you can argue that once returned we would not torture and we would not executed. However, with regard to the latter these are our standards that are not universally excepted.

Human rights are crucial and come from one of the worst moments in our history on this planet – Hitler and the Nazi’s.  We must not forget the circumstances that brought in these laws, however, must not allow the continual reinterpretation between different generations of judges and lawyers to decimate credibility in what is about protecting the innocent – not harbouring the guilty.