Pretoria - A defence advocate has called on a judge to show compassion to the killers of a Pretoria businessman “because they had been disadvantaged by apartheid”.
Paul Shapiro was appealing to North Gauteng High Court judge Tshifiwa Maumela on behalf of Marabe Talane, 35 and Rodney Masemola, 32, who were convicted of shooting Dawie Maree dead in front of his wife and two young children after breaking into their home in Meyerspark in May 2008.
The two are due to be sentenced in November.
Shapiro made a passionate plea to the judge on Tuesday to bear in mind that the pair grew up under a repressive system and had fewer opportunities in life, and should therefore receive a lighter sentence.
But the judge questioned what kind of message he would send out if he allowed the fact that the two grew up under apartheid to act as a mitigating factor, reminding the court that it was now 20 years since the demise of apartheid.
But Shapiro insisted that the court should not forget history, and should handle people who had been “victimised” more gently.
He said the idea was to create a society which respected all. Even those who had done terrible things were entitled to compassion.
He told the judge that any sentence of more than 25 years in jail would be excessive.
Prosecutor Theo Moetaesi, on the other hand, called for life and said the two could not hide behind apartheid, although he did concede that he understood where Shapiro was coming from with the race issue.
Moetaesi asked how Talane had suffered under repression, as he had his matric and even obtained a diploma.
Judge Maumela said that everyone had suffered under the previous regime in different ways.
He said it would be wrong to send out a message which would encourage people to commit crime, simply because they know they could get off lighter if they were previously disadvantaged.