As identified in an earlier post it is a trial under the World’s microscope, so it isn’t just Mr. Oscar Pistorius Blade Runner on trial in Pretoria – oh no it is South Africa as well, isn’t it? There are worrying elements seen already about their justice system – for example, why was a rich internationally famous icon & celebrity accused of ‘premeditated murder’ given such lax bail conditions for over a year, including uncontrolled international travel? Why does the trial judge admonish the Prosecutor, of an admitted killer, for calling the Accused man in cross examination in the Witness Box a liar (a common allegation in most justice systems surely?)? Why have there been an unusual number of Court adjournments and suspensions of such a major trial under international scrutiny? How can the evidence of any witnesses be relied on if they have previously followed the trial and heard previous evidence?
The Defence is on the last lap to discredit the Prosecution’s case – will they succeed? At the end of all this the Judge will decide on guilt or innocence – no jury trials in South Africa these days of course.
What will the Judge have to weigh-up? For instance is the Defendant’s tale of events at all reasonable or really believable or his actions even understandable? Could a mentally experienced & resilient man like Pistorius, living in a most secure of locations, become so psychologically unbalanced & terrified of a non-existing intruder to become an accidental killer? In firing his gun through the toilet door did Pistorius behave reasonably & responsibly, or was he irrational & negligent? Did he actually plan to shoot at somebody, or did the gun simply go off 4 times?
Pistorius has struggled to remember important things, so to what extent, if at all, has he been economical with the facts, or changed them, in his defence responses in Court? For example he originally said a year ago that he had fired shots aimed at the toilet door – now he claims he didn’t and he doesn’t know how his gun in his hand ‘accidently’ fired the four shots that blew his new girlfriend’s brains out (is that a genuine mistake originally when he was claiming ‘self defence’, or anything to do with the fact that it is illegal to simply shoot at an intruder?). Then there were other claimed mistakes – like his moving onto the bedroom balcony, or his conversation with the girl immediately before the shooting; or inexplicable differences in evidence including challenges to meal eating time, an overheard loud argument, sleeping time discrepancies, girlfriend going into toilet unnoticed (or even the reason for the locked door perhaps?), vehemently denied witnesses evidence of a woman screaming, claim of no vocal utterances from the girl on being shot, suggested significant police interference in the killing scene, worrying evidence that sometimes the girl was frightened of the athlete who was said could be controlling and jealous? What about major gaps in the evidence? Pistorius’ estranged father Henke has been claimed by the defence as the owner of ‘unlicensed’ ammunition found in the athlete’s safe (a firearms offence for which Pistorius is charged) – but the father has refused to confirm that! There was apparently a black male Malawian paid housekeeper in the house at the time of the shooting (who apparently heard absolutely NOTHING at all!) – astonishingly never disclosed to the Court, nor his evidence presented.(HOW CAN JUSTICE TO A KILLED LADY BE SERVED LIKE THIS?)!
How will the Judge view the consistently emotional Court behaviour of Pistorius (particularly under cross-examination) – a person distressed & traumatised or someone clever & playacting? Much has been made by the media of him having been ‘coached’ in evidence giving – you can be absolutely sure he was & was very well rehearsed as well (he was certainly given the maximum opportunity wasn’t he?), but it would be naive of observers not to realise that all important witnesses in major criminal and civilian trials are extensively coached in how to present their ‘truthful evidence’ (what would be utterly wrong of course would be if they were helped to tell lies on oath!).
You can be equally confident that Mr. Pistorius was beside himself with genuine remorse after the killing (whatever the prior circumstances) – anyone having just shot someone to horrific death would have quickly realised the magnitude of their actions and the life changing consequences to themselves, wouldn’t they?
The Defence have, at the twelfth hour played the ‘mentally’ disabled card to catch the Prosecution off guard – that may well backfire as the Prosecutor immediately asked for Pistorius to be assessed by the State (rather than someone selected & paid for by the Defendant). This is the Accused’s 3rd defence for his actions that fateful night? The Judge has agreed so we can expect this trial’s sagas to drag on for an extra month (trial now adjourned until end of June) – before the Judge is faced with her verdict decision,
[South Africa is a very violent society nowadays, with murder particularly prevalent – say fifty a day and well within the worst top twenty homicide rates in the World.<
Sadly Miss Reeva Steenkamp (29), killed by Oscar Pistorius (then 26), is another death to add to the d statistics whatever verdict is reached by the Judge in Pistorius’ trial].