Oscar Pistorius’ Trial – ON again & South Africa Justice ON Trial as well? UPDATE – Adjournment update July 21

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Reeva Steenkamp killed by Oscar Pistorius

Reeva Steenkamp killed by Oscar Pistorius

 

The ‘under world scrutiny’ South African Justice System will have already puzzled many casual observers, but that cannot be matched by the disturbing information that Oscar Pistorius has been out nightclubbing at the backend of his trial (just a week after adjournment). Not only that but he was involved in a physical altercation with another man at the swanky watering hole.

This is a rich & world famous celebrity, an admitted & undisputed killer of a beautiful young woman, facing the end of his trial for her murder; charged also with other serious offences, who has been given unbelievably lax  bail conditions for over a year, and now he has been allowed to go out on the town at night partying, and drink in the trendy VIP Room. In any other country he would have been kept in Jail until a court came up with a verdict surely? Any other potential convict would have thanked their lucky stars for liberty, not gone into a public place, and kept their head down, wouldn’t they?

The South African ‘Sunday Times’ now reports that Pistorius was at a party drinking and trying to hit on a woman, less then two monys after slaying Reeva

Other stories are surfacing of his public relations engineered persona hiding a concealed reputation as an individual known to be a hostile & volatile firebrand. Mr Pistorius can expect his life to be completely changed in a couple of week’s time whatever decision is announced by the Judge.

[Inexplicably to most of the civilised world, his original bail conditions that prohibited drinking & required him to be supervised were dropped – why? South African prisons are awash with remanded pre-trial prisoners, but Pistorius avoided the crush – why?]

 

 

DAY 39 July 8

The trial is heading towards a close, at long last – the Defence has completed its evidence but has thrown another spanner in the works by claiming that it has other evidence but some people won’t appear because testimony is broadcast. So here we have a major murder trial, under international scrutiny, where apparently individuals can refuse to give evidence – doesn’t look good does it? Sceptics say the claim is a ploy to create grounds for appeal.

There is now a further month’s adjournment before closing arguments are read out in Court. It is difficult to see how justice can be served, after more than a year,  by such a long trial and constant delays – with about half of the four months since 3rd March  lost already.

[The one thing that remains constant is that a young innocent woman has been slain]

 

DAY 38 July 7

The trial won’t end today, but will the Defence finally finish their evidence? Anyone’s guess!

Towards the end of the day the defence wanted to ‘consult’ with the prosecutor’s appointed psychiatrist, despite having their own appointee (rejected by the Judge – but what is all that about though?)

The prosecutor has ‘testily’ challenged the Defense’s final medical witness and his report about Pistorius. The professor ‘physician’ is accused of not being able to be objective, being biased, and being unwilling to give any answer not of benefit to the defence because of his close relationship with the accused; he was criticized as well of not being technically or professionally competent to comment on Pistorius’ psychological status and anxiety assessment.

The other bone of contention is the medics’ previous testimony on ‘flight or fight responses, and Pistorius’ supposedly vulnerability to attack as a disabled person (as Pistorius has unique support & facilities!).

When the professor’s was pressed on claims that Pistorius was ‘startled’ by sounds before the killing, he admitted strangely that his memory was fuzzy which is probably not the best response for a person appearing as an expert witness surely?

[Puzzlingly, he wouldn’t say if he concluded that Pistorius is a danger to society]


DAY 38 July 7

Today, at the end yet another adjournment to allow the Prosecutor to deal again with unannounced Defence evidence – back on Monday July 7 they say.

Thrust of the Defence argument through their Professor witness seems to be that physical disability results in some mental incapacity –that will be a bit of a surprise to a lot of families who have experience disability! That makes physically disabled people potential killers does it? Should a professional really be giving ‘expert’ evidence to a murder court based on a Defence ‘brief’ rather than simply a ‘character reference’ about a patient he has a long term close relationship with?

The current defence claim is that Pistorius had a justifiable fear of being a victim of crime because of his disability – all people (not just disabled) in South Africa might have such a fear surely, because it is currently such a crime ridden society?

It is claimed that Pistorius’ condition results in ‘fear of flying’ – yet he nevertheless routinely takes many hundreds of flights? Then it is said that it is a paradox that he is supremely able but severely disabled – yes he is disabled from birth because of a physical congeniality but surely that shouldn’t be used to justify actions?

The credibility, impartiality, and reliability of the Defence’s expert witness might have been harmed by his claim not to have made consultation notes about meetings with Pistorius after the killing, and then having to admit he DID, and that things in the record of the incident in which Miss Reeva was killed didn’t make sense to him, as well as also dodging Prosecutor’s questions.

Are the Defence scraping the barrell – who knows?

DAY 36 July 2
Today was expected to be the Defence’s last day of evidence, but it is not yet concluded and we are seeing seemingly obscure facts forthcoming on mental evaluation, with also a focus on character, attitude and temper. A brain biology teach-in is underway on ‘flight or flee’, following-on from a report of attacks on disabled people in London after the Olympics & Paralympics – strange relevance to a killing in Pretoria South Africa six months later isn’t it?

Reported today that Pistorius is suffering from depression & post traumatic stress; well, having horrifically shot and killed a young women, being prosecuted for premeditated murder, and possibly facing life in jail, it would be highly surprising if he was NOT so suffering surely?

[A Defence attempt was made to include hearsay evidence from two other disabled people – ruled irrelevant by the Judge]

DAY 35 July 1

Well, earlier posts pointed out that Mr. Oscar Pistorius’ trial was inevitably under the microscope, with much of the World watching, and undoubtedly thereafter there will be widespread adjudication on the whole justice system in South Africa. It was also commented that there have been worrying elements already. The sooner this sorry saga is brought to an end the better we think!

The Prosecution has finished its evidence of course, so the Defence is having its day now (well quite a lot of days to be precise). The trail Judge suspended the trial over a month ago when the Defence team suddenly presented the argument that Pistorius suffered from a long standing acute mental incapacity that rendered him not criminally responsible for his actions in killing Reeva Steenkamp. It was an amazing claim as far as the casual observer was concerned, knowing that a person has to have an unusually strong mental capability to become an Olympic athlete (unbelievably so if you are also disabled), and also confront & take on (and win against) the World’s athletics authorities over competing against able-bodied runners.

The Judge ordered that this claim be examined by State hospital doctors. Three psychiatrists have now assessed Pistorius and sent a psychological report to the Court that they apparently unanimously reject the Defence’s psychiatrist’s assessment – in fact he had no mental disorder (and knew right from wrong). This begs the question as to how the Defence lawyers managed to stumble across a particular psychiatrist (paid privately by them one assumes?) who came up with such a disputed theory? Also, why did the Defence waited so late in putting this forward, and why did they simply spring it on the Prosecution unannounced? Makes you wonder, makes you think, doesn’t it?

The Defence continued on another tack yesterday suggesting that Pistorius had major mobility problems – while everyone knows he has below the knee leg amputations & uses prosthetic leg attachments – he is nevertheless an outstanding international runner and athlete, so it seems a bizarre factor that he also has basic mobility problems affecting his killing actions.

The other issue raised by the Defence’s own acoustic expert, who threw doubt on the four witnesses’ evidence of hearing a woman emotionally screaming on the night of the killing. He did though subsequently admit that he had only tested a technical scenario given him by the Defence and not one where windows were open.

Today the defence brought on another ‘surprise’ witness, Pistorius’ manager, causing yet another adjournment (there have been so many already) to allow the Prosecution further time to deal with it.

[Murder & violence in South Africa is at a endemic level, and Miss Reeva Steenkamp (29), was indisputably killed by Oscar Pistorius (then 26), but was it intentional or irresponsible? The Judge alone in Pistorius’ trial will decide, but apart from the verdict, you can be certain that her judgement statement will be analysed extensively].

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