In June 2005, Faizel Hendricks shoved a revolver into his partner Rochelle Naidoo’s mouth and pulled the trigger. However, the DPP declined to prosecute and in 2006 withdrew the matter after an inquest delivered an ‘undecided’ verdict.

Naidoo’s parents, Yusuf and Sara Asmall, opted to prosecute Hendricks privately and hired Advocate Gideon Scheltema SC to lead the matter.

Earlier this month, Western Cape High Court Judges Deidre Kusevitsky and Chantel Fortuin found that a trial court in 2015 had been correct in convicting Hendricks of the murder (See Judicial nod for SA’s first private prosecution).

‘SA’s first successful private prosecution for murder is significant,’ says Daily Maverick legal writer Marianne Thamm, noting that there are two types of private prosecution available to South Africans seeking justice.

The first is by invoking section seven of the Criminal Procedure Act on the issuance of a nolle prosequi by the DPP, and the second is by applying section eight of the Act of private prosecution by statutory right.

Following this most recent judgment, which Thamm notes is the first successful private prosecution for murder in SA – Scheltema wrote:

‘What has just happened hasn’t been a victory that calls for congratulations or celebrations. Instead, it has been a mere vindication of a mother’s love for her daughter and her belief that she did not commit suicide.'

He added that the Asmalls should be ‘respected’ for their role in taking on a case of this magnitude and their efforts to stamp out gender-based violence.

‘The importance of this prosecution will be felt for a long way to come. ... violence against defenceless women strikes at the soul of a nation.’

Full analysis on the Daily Maverick site