15 Dec 2012

Machel Montano… and leniency

I peruse the news every so often; not as often as I did prior to June 2012 (go back to the archives), but sufficient enough to keep tabs on things going on apace… and without getting bogged down in the process.

I had predicted Machel Montano would be found not guilty of 5 charges slapped on him in 2007, following the fracas outside Zen nightclub. As readers will recall, Machel and several other persons, including Zen bouncers, accosted, assaulted and battered several persons, including some visitors from England, resulting in the hospitalisation of two… one with severe trauma to the head.

This is one time I am glad to be wrong, as the court found Machel guilty. Sentencing is on January 17th, 2013 (if the world does not end first, eh?).

I am however, appalled that several persons, including a Professor of Education, are actually pleading for leniency for Machel due to his status as a ‘black man’, as an ‘icon’… and because it was  ‘a manly altercation’ ‘that drew no blood’ and ‘was not serious enough to get out of magistrates' court into high court’.

I do have a problem with such misguided thinking. Perhaps they all forget that Russell Pollanais was found bleeding from the head and was unconscious for days.

First of all, as many commentators already pointed out, Machel as an ‘icon’, ‘superstar’, etc is to be held to a higher standard as an exemplar… he has influence over many young minds. This I agree with.

Secondly, from my point of view, he has not shown, throughout the past 5 years of court proceedings (during which time trial dates were fixed around his touring schedule) any remorse. Till now, he has not made one attempt to apologise for his behaviour, apologise to his victims, or try to make amends (financial or otherwise). That, in my opinion, is not the behaviour of one who deserves mercy.

The perplexing question I sought to answer was under which sections of the Offences Against the Person Act was he charged. I found no information online. This is important because under section 12, he can be given a mandatory 5 years imprisonment sentence, no discretion allowed by the magistrate. Under section 30, the sentence is 15 years, again without discretion. I await with anticipation, the final sentence and reasoning of the magistrate.

Oh, and for those who argue he is not a criminal, let me assure you that once he is convicted of a crime, yes… he is a criminal.