South African LGBT Organisation Leads Evidence in the Sentencing Of a Hate Crime

OUT LGBT Well-Being – represented by Webber Wentzel Attorneys – will lead further evidence in aggravation of sentence, in a hate crime trial at the Germiston Magistrates Court.

The trial in the State vs. Madubaduba and two others has spanned more than three years.

In December 2011, the accused were found guilty of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm after attacking a young, black, gay man in a bar. The offence is a typical hate crime as the gay man was targeted as a result of his sexual orientation.

In delivering judgment, the magistrate specifically noted that the accused were motivated by hatred and disrespect for gay people, which was particularly degrading for the complainant.

On January 27, OUT intends leading two additional witnesses to provide the court with further information on homophobic discrimination in South Africa and the particularly detrimental impact of hate crimes on victims, survivors, LGBT communities and society at large.

OUT set a ground-breaking precedent in being successfully admitted as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the sentencing phase of the trial. OUT’s successful amicus application was historic on at least two fronts:
• OUT is the first organisation to be successfully admitted as amicus curiae in a criminal trial in the magistrates courts; and
• It is the first time a Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender (LGBT) rights organisation will be leading expert evidence to ensure that sentencing in homophobia-motivated crimes takes into account the hate element in the commissioning of these crimes.

OUT is hopeful that the successful admission of the organisation as a friend of the court may enable other civil society organisations to offer their expertise to the lower courts on a range of issues, including those affecting the LGBT community.

The Court Hearing details are as follows:
Court: Germiston Magistrate Court
Date: 27 January 2012
Time: 9:00

Source – Behind The Mask