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Oscar Pistorius gets five years for Reeva Steenkamp death

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has been given five years in jail for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

In court in Pretoria, Judge Thokozile Masipa also gave Pistorius a three-year suspended sentence for a firearms charge. Pistorius has now been taken to the cells.

Prosecutors had called for a minimum 10-year term, and the defence argued for community service and house arrest.

Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide but cleared of murder.

'Feeling of unease'

Defence lawyer Barry Roux said his client was expected to serve 10 months in prison, with the rest under house arrest.

The BBC's Andrew Harding, in court, says the parents of Reeva Steenkamp, Barry and June, tell him they are happy with the sentence and relieved the case is over.

Reacting to the sentence, Dup De Bruyn, a lawyer for the Steenkamp family, told Reuters that "justice was served".

Judge Masipa had begun reading the sentence by saying that, although she had been aided by assessors, the decision was hers and hers alone.

Oscar appeared to wipe away a tear as the sentence was handed out as Judge Masipa said: "For a very good reason a sentence should neither be too light, nor too severe."

"Sentencing is about achieving the right balance. Sentencing is not a perfect exercise."

"The public could lose faith in the justice system if it's too weak. If it's too severe, the sentence could "break" the accused and wouldn't achieve the purpose.

"I have weighed all the relevant factors. I have also taken into account the seriousness of the offence which led to the death of the deceased, the personal circumstances of the accused, and the needs of society.

"A non-custodial sentence would send the wrong message. The following is a sentence that I consider to fair and just."

On count one, culpable homicide he was given five years in prison and on a second gun charge for another incident he was given a suspended three year prison sentence.

Source: BBC News/Mirror (South Africa).

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Tanzania: Rules to check handset promo

FOLLOWING public outcry over what has been described as continuous and annoying phone calls and text messages for various promotions from mobile phone operators, the government is drafting guidelines to curb the malpractice.

A number of clients have even complained that they have been charged fees for the services forced upon them by mobile operators.

However, at the end of the line, there comes the good news that the government has taken notice of the grievances and is currently working on regulations that would restrict service providers from such unsolicited texts and calls. “Over the past two months, we have been working on regulations regarding the matter.

The public will be informed when they come into force,” Deputy Science, Communications and Technology Minister January Makamba, told the ‘Daily News’ on the sidelines of the ‘Capacity Africa’ meeting held in Dar es Salaam last week.

According to the deputy minister, the regulations would be implemented in line with the Electronic and Postal Communications Act (EPOCA) of 2010.

Mr Makamba said that the government has been collaborating with various stakeholders on the regulations following the complaints from mobile phone users.

The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority’s Consumer Consultative Council (TCRA-CCC), said it has been receiving grievances from subscribers regarding the unsolicited services.

“For a long time now, most of the complaints from mobile phone subscribers have centred on unsolicited phone calls and text messages informing them of various promotional drives.

“As a consumer protection entity, we have been consulting with service providers and industry regulator on the said complaints to see what can be done to address them,” the TRCACCC Acting Executive Secretary Mary Msuya told 'Daily News'.

Ms Msuya further explained that the government has been working with stakeholders in the industry, including her institution, towards improvement of quality in service delivery.

“TCRA-CCC and other players were involved during enactment of EPOCA as well as the regulations on unsolicited phone calls and texts messages,” Ms Msuya said in a telephone interview.

In an interview with this newspaper last year, the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) Communications
Manager, Mr Innocent Mungy, said phone operators should provide customers with an option to block unwanted text messages and phone calls.

He pointed that customers, on the other hand, should ensure that they read and understand the terms and conditions set by the companies before subscribing to such services or other offers.

“A good number of subscribers hardly read the terms and conditions set by the firms and this is not proper. They should understand such conditions before joining the service provider of their choice,” Mr Mungy said then.

For some time now, it has been a trend by mobile phone operators to send unsolicited text messages and making phone calls to their customers informing them about new products, services and offers among others.

In June, this year, public outcry prompted Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to ban telecom companies from
sending or making any unsolicited SMS and phone calls.

UCC’s Acting Director Competition and Consumer Affairs Fred Otunu said the ban was on any new promotions as a result of “numerous complaints from consumers.

He also said that Quality of Service (QoS) evaluation conducted by UCC indicated “noncompliance by the telecoms on a number of parameters.”

From the assessment of UCC, the promotions had led to a dip in the quality of voice calls, increased dropped calls and increased SMS from the telecoms, among others.

Source: Daily News (20/10/2014).

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Kenya: Parent sues school for allegedly expelling KCSE candidate over short skirt

A parent of a Form Four student on Friday moved to court over the expulsion of her child for allegedly wearing a short skirt.

The mother of the St Mary’s Langata candidate sued the school and the Education Cabinet secretary following the expulsion of the child on Wednesday.

She asked that her child be allowed to commute from their home in Eastleigh in Nairobi as she sits her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations.

The child was allegedly summoned by the deputy principal of the school — who also chairs the disciplinary council — with two other female teachers in the presence of her mother, on a day set aside for prayers for the forthcoming exams.

The parent’s lawyer, Stephen Mwanza Gachie, told Lady Justice Mumbi Ngugi that the minor’s Kiswahili teacher, Ms Anne Ndinda — who is part of the school’s disciplinary council — had earlier on remarked that she would punish the 17-year-old when she was about to sit for her KCSE because of a grudge between the two.

CHANCE TO BE HEARD

And on the fateful day of the alleged expulsion, the lawyer said, the girl was not given a chance to explain herself yet the disciplinary council resolved to expel her while directing that she sit her papers while commuting from home.

Mr Mwanza said that the school’s action was unfair since it would destabilise the student mentally besides affecting her readiness to sit for her KCSE and wasting her revision time on traffic.

“The short dress being complained of did not warrant the kind of action that was taken by the school and more importantly at this time when she is about to sit for her national exams starting today,” said Mr Mwanza.

Since the student had told her parent about her Kiswahili teacher’s threat, the mother now wants the court to declare that her child’s right to a fair administrative action and education have been infringed.

ALLEGED GRUDGE

“I am informed by the child that teacher Anne, who is her Kiswahili teacher, had made it clear that she would punish my child when she was about to sit her KCSE, due to some grudge between the two of them running for some time and which the minor cannot explain,” said the parent.

Mr Mwanza pleaded with the judge to issue an order declaring that the school acted in an unjustified manner against the Constitution and the child be allowed to sit for her papers without commuting.

But Lady Justice Ngugi said that since St Mary’s School Langata had not entirely barred the minor from doing the exams, the school should be given a chance to explain its actions before she issues a directive.

“Since the school has not barred the student from sitting for the exams, let me hear the school administration explain itself as soon as possible, issue them with the case documents,” said the judge.

The case will be heard next Tuesday.

Source: Daily Nation Kenya (Friday 17/10/2014).


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