Cape Town - Former social worker and journalist Judge Thokozile Matilda Masipa, who will this week hand down judgment in the high-profile Oscar Pistorius murder trial, has a history of dealing harshly with men found guilty of domestic abuse, rape and the murder of women.
Thursday is judgment day for Pistorius, who killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp when he shot her through a toilet door. He claimed he mistook her for an intruder.
Pistorius has meanwhile been advised to stay out of the public eye until Thursday. He shouldn’t tweet, eat out at a restaurant, and should definitely not get involved in any kind of altercation, prominent Cape Town attorney William Booth said of how Pistorius’s team was likely to prepare him for the outcome.
“I am sure (the Pistorius) team are hoping for an acquittal, in which case he will walk out of court on Thursday a free man. But that is unlikely. The fact is, he killed (Reeva). Whether it was premeditated or not, she is dead. There will be consequences. His team will have told him that,” Booth said.
But he added that it was imperative that Pistorius not get involved in any activity that could see him make news headlines before his sentencing.
“I always say to my clients, ‘don’t say anything, I will do the talking’. I know that Pistorius is on Twitter and he has been on there a few times during the trial. But my advice would be not to do it now. Until he is sentenced, he should refrain from having a presence on social media. I hope his team will advise him of this.”
Booth expected the court to postpone the case for a week, or possibly even a month, for sentencing procedures once judgment was handed down.
Judge Masipa, meanwhile, is described by those who know her as knowledgeable and reserved.
In one previous case, she gave a policeman a life sentence for shooting and killing his estranged wife in an argument over their divorce settlement.