�Death penalty� dodger to linger longer in prison

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Murder convict Rodney Masoko, who sensationally made headlines two years ago when the High Court judge handling his case appeared to declare the law on the death penalty unconstitutional, will cool his heels in prison a little longer, following yesterday’s stay of judgement by the Court of Appeal.

In 2013, the High Court convicted Masoko of murdering his ex-girlfriend in 2006 and injuring the deceased’s boyfriend. He received four years for the assault on the boyfriend – but in a legal rarity – was not sentenced for the murder itself. Justice Tshepo Motswagole declined to sentence him for murder declaring that the death penalty was unconstitutional.

As a result of the decision, Masoko has sat in prison for eight years and seven months, completing his assault term, but pushing on pending finalisation of the legal dilemma. Yesterday the state approached the Court of Appeal (CoA) asking for the remission of the case back to the High Court for sentencing and determination of the Section in the Penal Code that Motswagole declared unconstitutional. State attorney, Nomsa Moatswi asked the CoA bench to declare that the High Court erred by declaring Section 203 of the Penal Code unconstitutional. She said the High Court had used the very same section to find that there were no extenuating circumstances in the matter.

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