Wed | Dec 8, 2021

Questionable motives for murder

Published:Friday | April 12, 2019 | 12:17 AM


Your newspaper carried a story which stated that a man was accused of murdering another man who had recently posted bail for him. After hearing his side of the story, the court reduced the charge to manslaughter, assuming that he had been ‘provoked’.

Decades ago, a wealthy gay man I knew formed a romantic relationship with a poor, uneducated young man. The relationship continued for years, during which time, this young man was showered with expensive gifts.

One day, he stole the family heirloom. An altercation ensued, during which the lover/benefactor was murdered by him. The young man’s defence was that this man made sexual advances to him. He was freed.

On this occasion, the accused claims that the victim made sexual advances to him. So he stabbed him 25 times, stole his car and household goods and left. The court decided that the sexual request was sufficient provocation for what transpired thereafter and reduced the charge.

But I wonder. These victims are no longer alive to give their side of the story. Is this a good reason to kill the other party? Or steal their belongings?

I was in court once and heard the judge tell an accused man, “... When you are provoked, remove yourself. Run away ...”.

If I were in a similar position, I would indicate firmly that I am not interested and leave the man’s home. What is wrong with that?

Is the justice system unwittingly sending a message that it is OK to ‘teef’ people’s things and use the ‘sexual advance’ excuse successfully as long as the victim is silenced?