This Thursday 11th September, Judge Masipa will announce her verdict in the Pretoria High Court on Oscar Pistorius’ murder charge. The trial has been ongoing since March – with substantial delays and adjournments.
The killer has been granted unprecedented & lax bail conditions by the South African courts for more than a year.
The Judge has kept the cards very close to her chest and has let nothing slip about her opinions about the case.
Pistorius could be convicted of the ‘premeditated’ murder of Reeva Steenkamp, or simple murder, or even a lesser killing type charge; if at the top end he would get an automatic life sentence and go to prison for a very long time, but otherwise the learned Judge would determine any sentence. If the man is acquitted, then of course he goes free – simply as a known killer (with a troubled conscience?).
To casual trial observers, not privy to the actual Court proceedings, it beggars belief that a man can blast a woman to death with a handgun by ‘mistake’. A man who is not a firearms novice, but an arm enthusiast and an experienced gun handler, who apparently carried his pistol everywhere he went. He is also a man who has run thousands of races started by a blank gunshot, so he is used to close sudden gunfire (but somehow his gun in some way fired four shots by itself).
To the average person it is also strange, isn’t it, that a young woman, supposedly in bed with her boyfriend, ended up being shot four times in a ‘locked’ toilet, in the middle of the night, dressed in day clothes, having taken her mobile phone with her, and not screaming & calling out when the gun attack first happened?
Mr Pistorius, as a rich man, assembled a strong experienced expensive Defence team of lawyers headed by counsel Barry Roux. But you don’t always get what you pay for do you? They let him down badly. The Prosecution cleverly included three minor charges involving firearms, and Pistorius pleaded ‘not guilty’ to these (as well as the serious murder charge) – this denial allowed the Prosecution to introduce evidence into the trial about the Accused’s suspect reckless behaviour with firearms, dubious treatment of women, and even contemptuousness of authority (such evidence would not normally be simply allowed in such a murder trial). Then he was put on the stand to give evidence for five days, but was unable to cope with the intensive questioning from the Rottweiler clinical Prosecutor Gerrie Nel. He lost much credibility because on key matters he was tentative, vague, confused, confrontational, inconsistent, and many say blatantly evasive.
The base problem in this trial (as in many murder trials no doubt) is that the ONLY person who actually KNOWS what went on that fateful killing night was Oscar Pistorius – and he is unwilling or unable to give up a proper account. It has then been up to others to surmise and guess from other evidence what went on and how he behaved – much doubt has been generated about that, by his obvious ‘guilt & responsibility’ dodging answers. There is only ONE fact that we can be certain of, and that is that Pistorius slaughtered a young woman that night in his home – the rest is simply conjecture, so subject to challenge, though that has been somewhat rebuffed.
His strident showing of grief in the Court included vomiting, sobbing, and head holding, eye covering and the like – leaving many to accuse him of crocodile tears and having been trained in playacting.
Was his evidence really ‘devoid of any truth’ as claimed?
Will Oscar Pistorius escape true justice because he is a rich white international celebrity and disabled? Will he be adjudged completely innocent? Will it all be over by the end of this week or will events march on? Will we all forget that the trial has been all about the killer Oscar Pistorius and little about the victim Reeva Steenkamp?
[Only Judge Masipa can decide].