A SENTENCE of life imprisonment is not appropriate in the case of Morné Harmse who has been convicted of killing a fellow student with a sword.
His defence lawyer, Dolph Jonker, told the South Gauteng high court yesterday: "The minimum sentence of life doesn't fit ... long-term prison is what should be given."
Harmse was convicted of killing Jacques Pretorius with a samurai sword and wounding three others during an attack last August at the Nic Diederichs Technical High School in Krugersdorp, west of Joburg.
Jonker said Harmse's youthfulness, he is now 19, should be taken into account.
"Life-long punishment for a young man is a different punishment than a 50-year-old".
Jonker said a psychologist and social worker had noted that Harmse was immature for his age.
"Is he a young man or an old child?" he asked, submitting that Harmse's "dysfunctional" family circumstances, with a history of family violence, be taken into account.
He said Harmse needed to go to a prison like Leeuwkop where he could receive therapy.
"This young man with personality problems, if he gets 25 years ... what monster will we get out of prison then?" Jonker asked the court.
He recommended a sentence of between 18 and 20 years, which would give Harmse a chance to come out when he was 30 and "go on with his life".
Jonker said Harmse had told him he wanted to "better himself" by finishing matric. - Sapa