Jean-Jacques Cornish

Prosecution wants longer jail sentence for Pistorius

South Africa prosecuting authority’s in the Appeal Court today (Wednesday) trying to get a longer prison sentence for Oscar Pistorius who murdered his model lover Reeva Steenkamp in 2013

The paralympic star was sentenced to six years when the lesser sentence for culpable homicide was overturned by the Appeal Court in July 2016 and replaced by murder.

The state’s case will be argued by Andrea Johnson. She  was the assistant to Gerrie Nel who became a household name for his aggressive  prosecution of Oscar Pistorius.

Nel, who now works for a right wing pressure group used the phrase “shockingly low” for the five year sentence handed down when Pistorius was found guilty of the South African equivalent of manslaughter.

Nel was still with the prosecution service when the Appeal Court found Pistorius guilty of murder and ordered the trial judge Thokozile Masipa to re-sentence him.

He baulked at the judge sending Pistorius down for six years.

Johnson will argue that the minimum sentence  for murder in South Africa is 15 years.

Defence counsel will argue that Masipa correctly found substantial and compelling circumstances justifying her handing Pistorius a lesser sentence.

Pistorius will not be court today. He’s in a special prison in Pretoria accommodating his physically disability. He has no legs below the knees .

The appeal judges will hand down their ruling at a later date.

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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.