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Monday, March 11, 2013

Day 322: The Price Of Justice

http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/oscar-s-trial-set-to-cost-a-fortune-1.1483789#.UT4e6lcvlI0

Durban - Oscar Pistorius’s trial for the premeditated murder of Reeva Steenkamp is likely to cost the State more than R50 million, say experts.
The gold medallist’s next court appearance is on June 4. He shot and killed his girlfriend in his Pretoria East home on Valentine’s Day.
The Blade Runner maintains that Steenkamp’s death was a tragic accident, insisting that he thought she was a burglar. She died at the scene after she was shot three times through a locked bathroom door.
Pistorius, who faces life imprisonment if he is found guilty, has been released on R1m bail with strict conditions.
The athlete has engaged top legal council and expert witnesses in a desperate attempt to secure his freedom. 
...
“From the outset this will not be a straightforward matter, chiefly because the legal issues at play are complicated.
“This is compounded by the fact that there is mounting attention from local and international media, which makes the case difficult to manage,” he said.
“The legal cost from the bail application alone has exceeded R1m, if one considers the resources that the State has devoted to the case, in terms of counsel, expert witnesses and forensic testing.
“This cost will be dwarfed by the total price of the trial, which may rise above R50m,” he added.
Another independent source within the NPA, who wished to remain anonymous, verified that this figure was plausible.
The source insisted that while Pistorius was to appear again in June, the matter would probably only be set down for trial next year.
“I don’t expect this matter to be heard this year. The challenges which force this process to be extended is obviously finding space in the justice’s calendar and then allowing sufficient time for the State and the defence to prepare their cases, essentially doing all of the prep work.
“The trial itself will probably take at least 30 court days, and with scheduling and adjournments could potentially be spread out longer than six months,” he added. - IOL

What is the purpose of our justice system?
What was it designed to accomplish?
Is it fulfilling its requirements without bias?
Is there corruption within the system? If so, why is it allowed?
Does the correctional system rehabilitate those who dishonour society's agreements and guidelines?
Is the rehabilitation effective and complete?
Is the justice system involved in researching permanent and global solutions to crime?
Does the justice system and its representatives value life and uphold rights above all else?
Is it the law that determines the verdict, or is it the amount of money one is able to spend on a lawyer?

The answers to these questions should give an indication as to the current nature of our justice system. In reality, our justice system is not concerned with justice at all.

Consider the law in action: there are a few guidelines laid out, from which judges will make decisions which will form a base for precedents for other judges to base their own decisions on - now the interesting part is that these decisions are based on the opinions and interpretations of the law by those parties involved - not on the law itself.

Should the justice system not function in such a way that each and every person feels confident that they will be treated fairly, without bias or prejudice and equitably? Should the justice system not function according to principles and honour? Should the representatives of the justice system not choose their profession out of a love of helping others, as opposed to making lots of money?

It is clear that our justice system is dysfunctional - why do we accept it to go on like this? There is currently no guarantee that the law will come down on the side of the injured party due to the extreme corruption, bigotry and greed that is allowed to exist.

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