The World is watching a major (part televised) murder trial in Pretoria High Court South Africa that started on 3 March 2014. Many have looked on in amazement that a man who admittedly shot his girlfriend at his home in Pretoria at night with a pistol 4 times (using disgustingly lethal & illegal ammunition) is on trial for premeditated murder, but claims to be simply an innocent man.
Reportedly South Africa has a poor record for enacting justice. They no longer have jury trials there – judges now decide on innocence or guilt, as well as determine the sentence (perhaps that is a problem – we know that the legals are a bit of a nightmare don’t we?). Memories of the ‘televised’ USA OJ Simpson criminal murder trial (LA 1995) when he got off, is a stark reminder to everybody how such media circus led events can turn on little issues – subsequently thankfully he was done though for the killings in a civil court (but never paid retribution!) and is currently in prison – a 33 years sentence for unrelated armed robbery and kidnapping felonies.
Mr Pistorius has a powerful legal defence team of course – money talks in South Africa as well, you see. Oscar’s elder brother Carl Pistorius also faced a charge of homicide last year (a traffic accident in which a woman cyclist was killed) – but was acquitted in a botched case, with one of Oscar’s current team defending (Kenny Oldwadge)..
Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius is not a normal bloke though is he? For a start he is a double leg amputee (as a baby – resulting from a congenital problem). But that is not all at all of course. No, at 27 he is an accomplished and renowned white South African sportsman competing as a sprinter in both disabled and standard able bodied athletics, running on prosthetic metal strip legs (below the knee) – hence his nickname ‘blade runner’. He is a Paralympics champion who successful fought a legal battle to be allowed to compete in world track able bodied races – and the first amputee to win a medal there. You don’t get to do that without a lot of guts, determination, resilience, passion, strength and innate ability do you? Certainly he must have an unusually powerful mental status and toughness. Not an oppressed, timid, weak and scaredy-cat type man by any stretch of the imagination surely?
Tragedy struck on Valentine’s Day 2013 when he killed his girlfriend of only 3 months Reeva Steenkamp, a beautiful model, legally trained, from Cape Town, aged 29. She was in the bathroom and was blasted to death through the locked door (one can’t help wondering why the door was locked anyway doesn’t one?) – her head smashed open like a watermelon. Pistorius claims it was an accident, that he thought there was an intruder, that he fired his gun unintentionally and through fear & vulnerability. Strange that he wasn’t fully aware of his actions on firing the first shot with all the noise and smell it would have created in such a confined bedroom space? But there you go that is his recount. Strange that Miss Steenkamp didn’t call out or scream after the first shot hit her (he is adamant about that)? But there you go that is his recount. Strange that he thought she was in bed with him, when clearly she wasn’t? But there you go that is his recount.
One thing is for sure though. Pistorius’ Oscar (pun) nomination performance when he started his testimony in the witness box was an affront to the sad deceased girl. He professed to be making an apology (in public when not a word said in private or in writing in over a year!) to her parents, family, and friends, when he was clearly playing to the gallery with crocodile tears thrown in into the bargain. [The poor girl’s Mum wants ‘truth’ rather than ‘retribution’ (not many of us could take that view could we?) – she apparently was pre-warned by her lawyers that Pistorius would play that disgusting trick!]
The man is portrayed in court as a gun fanatic with a history of irresponsible gun discharges – other matters he is charged with at trial as well. Reportedly he succeeded in obtaining a gun licence by correctly answering questions about illegal gun usage – you are not allowed to fire at intruders who are not a threat!
The Prosecutor has Pistorius under tough cross examination and castigates him as an egoistic liar (the judge has told him not to call the defendant a liar for some reason), a reckless gun owner, tainting and altering his evidence, a person who never admits responsibility for anything, and a man who knew that his girlfriend was behind the door he shot through – something he denies of course.
Whatever happens in the trial, nothing can bring back that lovely girl and nothing can alleviate the unthinkable and horrific fate and mental anguish she suffered at the hands of Oscar Pistorius in that small bathroom cubical, can it? Yet the athlete is strangely quiet about such matters and leaves many people unconvinced by his claims of being haunted about these events.
Miss Steenkamp texted Pistorius once “I’m scared of you sometimes” – a chilling insight wasn’t it?
[Will the truth ever come out?
And Justice for Reeva? Don’t bank on it!}]