Independent Online

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

Lady justice feeling weight of her scales

The writer says the scales represent the weighing of evidence, but does the balance always reflect the true picture, or only the one we perceive it to be? Picture: IOL

The writer says the scales represent the weighing of evidence, but does the balance always reflect the true picture, or only the one we perceive it to be? Picture: IOL

Published Sep 1, 2020

Share

Zelda Venter

Pretoria - As women’s Month came to an end, my thoughts turned to the personification of Lady Justice. Why does a blindfolded woman carry a sword and scales?

Story continues below Advertisement

Those in the know say the sword stands for authority while the blindfold represents impartiality: the fair and equal administration of the law, without corruption, favour, greed or prejudice.

The scales represent the weighing of evidence, but does the balance always reflect the true picture, or only the one we perceive it to be?

After more than two decades of frequenting the corridors of our courts, it is not a question I can easily answer.

Story continues below Advertisement

But it must be said that Lady Justice does not always have an easy task, sometimes, perhaps, because often she is lied to. She needs to be a strong woman to see through it all. On occasion, she may fail.

Lady Justice’s patience is sometimes tested, and often, she is asked to choose the side of right under extremely difficult circumstances.

Yet, I do want to believe that, more often than not, she is fair, as she plays an important role in bringing closure to many aggrieved families.

Story continues below Advertisement

I saw this again recently when the family of murdered couple Anisha and Joey van Niekerk said the murder convictions of the four killers was the first step towards their being able to find closure.

The family sat through some of the most hair-raising evidence, hearing how their loved ones were tortured, raped and eventually hanged from meat hooks.

While the killers were adamant that they were not involved, the scales of Lady Justice more than tipped over from the start, to the side of the prosecution.

Story continues below Advertisement

She will have to conclude her journey next month, when the court is due to sentence the four.

Another task that lies ahead is to find justice for the family of Alexandra resident Collins Khosa who was killed on April 10 this year, allegedly at the hands of the armed forces.

While the wheels of justice grind slowly and there is no criminal prosecution in the case, his family are preparing to sue the State for damages. This is for the financial loss of their breadwinner, as well as for their emotional loss.

Let us hope that Lady Justice will also find justice for whoever is responsible for the death of Nathaniel Julies.

While two police officers appeared in court on Monday after the 16-year-old was shot dead in Eldorado Park last week, it will be a lengthy process before it will be determined to which side her scales will tip.

It was good that Lady Justice concluded Women’s Month by sending girlfriend killer Jim Phago to jail for life.

He had cut his former girlfriend’s throat with a kitchen knife, because she had ended their relationship.

He then dumped her bloody body near a military base in the north of the city.

Shortly before her death, Mosidi Kopanye posted on Facebook that, “If a relationship is not working out, people should call it quits and move on”.

I often think back about the Cape Town woman who is claiming R9.1 million in damages from her husband after he had told her days before their sixth wedding anniversary that he was gay.

Her claim was based on allegations that her husband “misrepresented to her prior to their marriage that he was a heterosexual male”.

The case, which was heard two years ago, was not concluded at the time and I can’t help but wonder, in whose favour the scales tipped.

Pretoria News

Related Topics:

Crime and courts

Share