Jean-Jacques Cornish

Oscar sentencing testimony wraps up

Both the state and the defence present their final arguments in the Pretoria High Court today on how Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius should be punished for unlawfully killing his lover Reeva Steenkamp.

After a week of hearing sentencing testimony, the judge will take at least a few more days to hand down her decision.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel’s pressing for a 15 year custodial sentence for the man found guilty of culpable homicide. He produces the acting head of South Africa’s prison services Zach Modise.

The chief warder says South African prisons are perfectly capable of accommodating someone like Pistorius, who is a double amputee.

Defence counsel Barry Roux extracts an undertaking from Modise that, if jailed, Pistorius will be housed in the prison hospital.

Steenkamp’s cousin Kim Martin testifies that Reeva’s death has destroyed her family.

She says they’re not seeking revenge but Pistorius should be made to pay for negligently shooting Steenkamp.

The headlines are grabbed by events in the public gallery.

Self-confessed killer Mikey Schulz sits in seats reserved for the Pistorius family.

When asked to leave he mouths an obscenity at the accused’s sister Aimee before being escorted out by police.

Schulz, who’s supporting a friend who might have been called to testify about a barroom argument with Pistorius, denies this saying Aimee is a liar like her brother.



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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.