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Know right from wrong

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If the judicial system found you guilty of the crime you committed then take the punishment that comes with it

Despite pleading with the court for leniency, Ninow was given the maximum sentence in the high court in Pretoria for raping a seven-year-old in the toilets of a Dros restaurant. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency(ANA)

IT IS amazing how so many excuses can be made when you are caught in the act of doing something you shouldn’t be doing.

I’m sure most of you remember the infamous words uttered by our erstwhile Protea’s captain, Hansie Cronje all those years ago. “The devil made me do it.”

I have sat through numerous court cases and I just want to run into the hills and never come back again when it gets to the time of mitigating circumstances.

If my job didn’t force me to sit through it, trust me I wouldn’t. If I could be a judge for just one day and I could do whatever I wanted to, all I can say is beware those in my courtroom at that very moment. My proceedings would look something like Opening statements, questioning of the witnesses, expert witnesses and then the accused. We would then go on to closing arguments and then straight into the verdict. Once I have delivered the verdict, I would then go straight into sentencing and all of this would be done in a matter of three days at the very most. By going this route I think I would be the darling of the taxpayers. Short and sweet.

I will definitely not waste anybody’s time with extenuating and mitigating arguments. For what?

If the judicial system found you guilty of the crime you committed then take the punishment that comes with it.

The reason I would go this route is that I just fail to understand that anybody can blame external forces for their actions. Nobody told Nicholas Ninow to take drugs – definitely not that little girl who has to live with the scars for the rest of her life.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m just naive I don’t know but I believe that everyone has an inbuilt sense of what is right and wrong, what will influence my behaviour. This is an extremely difficult one for me to comprehend.

You make decisions – you live with them. Nobody told Ninow to go on a drug binge. Nobody held a gun to his head or forced the pills down his throat. Then he has the audacity to stand in court and say, “The drugs made me do it.”

And because ‘the drugs made me do it, I shouldn’t be harshly punished’. Oh woe is me ….

You may not have thought your actions through properly when you popped your first pill. It was all about me the euphoria I would get that feeling I would get to just escape my reality

What about that little girl? She was also ‘escaping her reality’ by having innocent fun. But it was just about you

I had an interesting conversation with somebody just after the incident happened. They told me that if there were more drug rehabilitation centres in South Africa something like this would not have happened. Yes, I totally agree with you. The country has very few drug rehabilitation centres. But is it up to government to take responsibility for the choices you and I make?

Government isn’t forcing you to take that first puff or pop that first pill. That is your choice and you have to live with the consequences of your choices.

I know a lot of people are pointing fingers at me and saying I don’t know the personal circumstances of these people. You are right, I don’t. But what I do know that despite your circumstances, you can still make the right choices.

There have been numerous circumstances where gangsters have turned their lives around. Drug addicts who have cleaned up and are productive members of society.

We all know the difference between right and wrong – and it’s not just me.