wolverine_nun (wolverine_nun) wrote,

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Murderers, shirts and toddler leashes

The Steve Tladi - Professor Hahn thing is essentially over now. We are now allowed to publicise stuff, as we weren't during the trial. Something called subjudicae, although the lawyer who came to talk to us in the dept yesterday snorted over subjudicae, muttering stuff about Zuma...

Background: Steve Tladi was a postgraduate student and research fellow of some description in the maths dept here at UCT for several years. At the end of 2004 he got his doctorate (that's a whole kettle of fish all by itself) and was denied a permanent position in the dept. He wasn't charmed. He was/is an odd man. Let's leave it at that.
In late Jan 2005, he was leaving the secretaries' office in the maths dept, Prof Hahn (one of the nicest men you could ever hope to meet) was approaching the office with some supp papers. Steve attacked him, with never a word spoken. Prof Hahn had no warning and raised no hand to defend himself. Steve hit him on the head, hard, several times with an umbrella, Prof Hahn fell over backwards, cracking (literally) his skull on the ground, and then Steve put the boot into his face, several times. All this was witnessed close up by DL, a senior secretary, and MR, the network administrator. All in silence and "with a face like stone" (direct quote). DL was unable to pull the large Steve off Prof Hahn, but MR rushed to help and pulled Steve off. If Prof Hahn had lived, it would have been thanks to MR. Know that. Prof Hahn went to hospital where he died of his injuries a few days later. The attack was a few metres outside my office door. I heard DL crying out, over and over, and heard the smashing sounds. I rushed out to see Prof Hahn lying bleeding on the floor, although by that time, MR had pulled Steve down the passage and out of sight.

The case has dragged on for 2 years, to huge amounts of angst in the dept, but what has finally happened is this: Utterances of Steve's in court, and responses to questions posed to him by the magistrate, suggested to the magistrate that he was mentally incapable of understanding what was going on in the court case. Something called Section 77 of the ?Criminal Code? (d_hofryn will know) kicked in which means that the magistrate sent Steve off to a mental institution where he was assessed by three physchologists/psychiatrists all chosen by different bodies. All three came away with a unanimous and free of doubt verdict of paranoid schizophrenia, getting worse, and totally unfit to stand trial. Result: sent to a mental institution until he can (a) convince a judge that he is mentally fit and (b) get the institution to back him up in that claim. Then, he can come out, and actually stand trial, although (there's a catch) chances are he'd just come out and wander the streets until someone pushed for the case to be reopened. He'd have to be recharged, and the trial would start anew. There is no charge, there is no trial. He has not been found either guilty or not guilty of the murder, it never came to that. He cannot be tried, as it stands, the whole thing is essentially cancelled. The newspapers said he'd been found not guilty. They were wrong.

The lawyer's practical view from personal experience: he's in a mental institution for life. Due to the severity and unarguable nature of the crime, the mental institution in question is situated in a prison (Pollsmoor at first, but he has requested to be moved to Limpopo to be nearer his family). I understand that it's a pretty grotty place to be, really rough, not a cushy therapy situation at all. Chances are there'll be no recovery. So. Full stop.

* pause *

Right! So, shirts. P wants a couple of shirts to fight in, and I don't want to make them. We are hoping that, somewhere in CT, we can find nice plain (linen? cotton? hemp??) shirts that look sufficiently medievaloid that he can wear them to fight in and not look modern when he takes his armour off. They'd have to be collarless, definitely, and no pockets would also be good. No cuffs would be even better, but I don't think they'd mess with the picture that much. Ideas? Please, all rush at once.

My toddler needs a leash! When I was little my mum had a harnessy sort of thing that went around my torso and had a leash attached. I recall rather liking it. It was green, I think, with a dog on the front ... Anyway, does anyone know where I can get such a thing? She's a wild animal and needs controlling! Don't make me have to use a choke chain!

Oh! And good news the one: my thesis is essentially finished. I need to read one more reference that a supervisor is insisting on, create one more appendix from a bunch of graphs that already exist in excel, and check a bunch of refs for page numbers and stuff. (Of course, once my supervisors read the final draft, they might say "No! This is rubbish, change every other chapter really rather a lot! So, "essentially finished" might be an exaggeration). Chatting with librsa it turns out that the 200 page limit is not a general doctoral board thing (although the 80 000 words is), but it's required by my Faculty. Sigh.
Good news the two: the carpets are in, I am packing boxes and bags all day today, and tomorrow morning I shake the dust of the maths dept from my feet and start collecting engineering dust instead ... Hmm, the metaphor loses something in the extension. I might lose connectivity for a while, but I'm so erratic at posting you won't notice :)
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