News 24 reports that in December 2012, Magistrate Brian Nemavhidi sentenced Maarohanyye and Tshabalala each to 27 years in prison in total in the Protea Magistrate’s Court in Soweto.
The murder convictions were replaced with convictions of culpable homicide and the 20-year sentences for murder were replaced by prison terms of eight years, with two of those suspended. They will be given credit for time already served.
According to Business Day Live in June, the pair’s second appeal revolved around the disgraced gospel star claiming the reason why his conviction should be altered is because he wasn’t in control of his faculties because he was high.
Maarohanye and Tshabalala, were found guilty on four counts of murder after ploughing into a group of pedestrians travelling through Protea Glen four years ago, killing four schoolchildren.
News24 reported that at the time of the appeal, Maarohanye’s lawyer, Willie Vermeulen, argued that his client had been convicted of murder; dolus eventualis. This means that the court found Maarohanye and Tshabalala had an understanding of the damage they could cause by their behaviour, and therefore had indirect intention to kill.
“Those kids left home in the morning to go to school to better their lives and the lives of their families. As they were upstanding citizens, they did not go to town. They decided to go straight home. They did not arrive home that day,” Mr Nemavhidi told the accused men.
However, Vermeulen insisted that because of his client’s use of drugs on the day of the race, the dolus eventualis argument no longer stood.
Judge George Maluleke and his team of appeal judges seemed to agree with this argument, saying the dolus eventualis charges could not stand.
He altered the four counts of murder to four counts of culpable homicide and set aside the driving under the influence and attempted murder charges. He sentenced the pair to 10 years, with two years suspended, and insisted that the sentence be back dated to when the pair were originally sentenced in October 2012.
After the new sentence was handed down there was much public outcry with social networks going abuzz. People were discussing whether the ruling the previous week of Oscar Pistorius would affect any other cases that had already been concluded.
As the South African justice system loses credibility in the eyes of the public eyes now shift to the Dewani case.
by Siyanda Cingco