October 21, 2014
Well the waiting is finally over (or so you might think), and after an extensive preamble about evidence & other judgement stuff, Judge Masipa has pronounced sentence on Oscar Pistorius – he got five years imprisonment imposed on him.
What he faced: culpable homicide – maximum 15 years jail; discharging a firearm in public – a fine or maximum 5 years jail
[What he SHOULD have faced? Sentence for Murder – 25 years jail?].
The reason justice has not been served in this case is that the Court made two bad choices.
Firstly, it decided to skim over and ignore important & damming witness testimony, particularly that of neighbours and notably before he killed her, that Reeva Steenkamp was frightened of Pistorius (the Judge determined that ‘relationships are dynamic’ so seems to think such scaredness is ‘normal’ between a woman and her boyfriend – not outside SA, Lady Judge!).
Secondly, the Court decreed that Pistorius’ account of events should have status and be treated as if true, and this seems totally ‘unreasonable’ under the circumstances. At no stage was he required to demonstrate that his account was possible, let alone true. Certainly the State did not accept his story, nor that did it give him a legitimate excuse for killing Reeva, or anyone else for that matter..
The Court went on to accept Pistorius’ assertion that his initial anxiety on ’hearing a sound’ had then rocketed into blind terror, and a grim determination to fight-off ‘perceived’ armed intruders. He approached a locked bathroom door, which posed no threat obviously, pointing a pistol loaded with illegal ‘zombie stopper’ bullets, safety catch off, and without any verbal warning fired four grouped shots through the door to purge the adjudged threat behind it?. Most reasonable people would conclude that he fired purposely to eliminate whatsoever threat, no matter what human -being was behind the door, wouldn’t they? THAT is murder even in South Africa.
Oh no, the Court concluded that when he fired, he intended to neither hurt anyone, nor did he foresee the death of a human being – he was grossly negligent but only reckless and guilty of a manslaughter. That is so irrational that it just can’t be true, can it? OK then, exactly what did he intend? He MUST have had a purpose? No answer at the verdict hearing from the Court on that one of course was there, a critical question nevertheless?
The Court seems to accept that Pistorius’ sudden progression into panic was driven by his peculiar character defects, but there was no suggestion in the Court that he was mentally incapacitated when he actually fired shots (despite an abortive attempt by Pistorius to imply he might have had state of mind difficulties).
The Court determined that Pistorius lied on oath about his intensions when firing shots, and was evasive, but nevertheless not guilty of murder – a very strange type of conclusion to the majority of normal people, don’t you think?
Many people in SA itself are appalled by the verdict, and many of those that accept the verdict still wanted him to serve a substantial custodial sentence – countless feared that jail-time would be evaded and indeed the time to be served is unacceptably & manifestly short in most eyes.
The Defence now expect the athlete to serve only ten months of his sentence behind bars, and the remainder under house arrest. How will Reeva’s family feel when they see Pistorius driving around Johannesburg & Pretoria in his upmarket 4×4 with his next conquest, and probably off to Party, next summer, we ask? [ah, the prosecutors claim that his jail time could be as long as about a year and a half –wow!]. What is the betting that he gets a very cushy jail, single cell, hospital ward, and totally lax restrictions (like his bail) to boot?
However, will the Prosecution, with undoubted widespread public support, now challenge the ‘non-guilty of murder’ verdict to get decent justice for Reeva Steenkamp? [Any appeal has to be on a point of law, not facts].
[June Steenkamp, mother of aughtered Reeva, said previously Oscar Pistorius will not “pay properly for killing our daughter”. Her disappointment and extreme anger then will also reverberate around the World now where millions of others don’t feel or believe that justice has been done today]
to be continued perhaps