South Africa: Judge rejects plea bargain for man accused of killing student

- in World News


An agreed sentence for a man accused of killing Stellenbosch University student Robyn Pearce has been rejected by a judge.

Judge Mark Sher said the sentence agreed between Wasief Buxey’s lawyer and the state was too low. He told the High Court in Cape Town on Monday that a sentence which did not include life imprisonment was not in the interests of justice.

Buxey‚ from Ottery‚ will now face trial for allegedly murdering the 20-year-old student in her mother’s Sea Point flat in December 2016. He is accused of stabbing Pearce with a kitchen knife after breaking in.

Pearce’s aunt‚ Bronwyn Pearce‚ said the student’s mother‚ Bernadette‚ was also unhappy with the agreed sentence.

“We don’t agree that whatever the plea bargain is is actually fair. This was a gruesome‚ violent murder. It’s not something that was accidental‚ he intended to kill her‚ that’s clear from the evidence we have‚” she said.

“For us it’s not just getting him behind bars‚ it’s about raising the profile of cases like this. Cases against young women who are abused‚ who are murdered‚ and [ensuring] that people are getting life sentences for it.”

Pearce said the “fight” was about elevating the issue in South Africa so that sentences not only fitted the crime but also so that the punishment acted as a deterrent to would-be “rapists‚ murderers‚ and abusers”.

Robyn Pearce’s father died a few years ago when he was knocked off his bicycle and her aunt said she had only just recovered from her father’s death when she was killed.

“She was coming in to her own as a young woman … Someone that really wants to go out there and make a difference in the world. I think to have that crushed is very tragic‚” she said.

“Robyn herself was very aware of the injustices in society and she really wanted to fight for those who don’t have a voice.”

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