October 3 2015
In an unprecedented move, the 5 man appeal panel chairman, Mr Justice Lorimer Leach in the Appeal Court in Bloemfontein read out their written verdict that Oscar Pistorius’ manslaughter conviction was now upgraded to one of murder, as Judge Masipa’s original decision had been confusing and flawed. She had incorrectly applied the rule of ‘dolus eventualis’.
Furthermore, they also said that circumstantial evidence, including some messages and ballistics, was not properly considered.
It represents a full justification of the Prosecutor’s application.
The one fly in the ointment is though that Judge Masipa gets to do the resentencing with Pistorius’ lawyers allowed to plead mitigating circumstances – to what can now be seen to be her over sympathetic ears. We can expect Masipa to give him the ‘minimum’ sentence she can get away with, don’t you think?
The Supreme Court of Appeal’s judgement on this will be a devastating blow to Masipa’s legal reputation, and mar the standing of the South African justice system, particularly in light of the worldwide high profile of the case.
Because the High Court is now in recess for the holiday period, Pistorius (unlike Reeva Steenkamp) gets to spend Christmas with his family instead of going straight back to jail, where many observers think he belongs, eh?
October 2 2015
The ongoing justice fate of now disgraceful Oscar Pistorius (how does he have the affrontry to still maintain his own website?) has been awaited from the South African Supreme Court of Appeal for over a month, since their five-strong panel of most senior judges heard the case, but reserved their ruling. Why do Appeal Courts keep doing that? The news on the wires though is that we should get the result this week, even perhaps tomorrow – not before time, eh? That country’s peoples and the world’s observers have been impatiently awaiting a final decision on the Prosecutor’s case for a conviction replacement, haven’t they?
Certainly many legal observers in SA are predicting that the State Prosecutor Gerrie Nel’s appeal has a ‘fair chance’ of success. Therefore Pistorius faces a real threat of returning to jail hanging over him. If now found guilty of murder, he must return to the High Court for resentencing in the New Year, which will finally seal matters, as a murder conviction carries a minimum 15-year jail sentence in South Africa (and has to be served). The Paralympian star has only served just 11 months jail time for killing Reeva Steenkamp, and is currently on house arrest at his uncle’s luxury palatial villa in the capital Pretoria, to serve the remainder of his lenient 5 year sentence set by the Trial Judge Thokozile Masipa. She has been heavily criticised as gravely misapplying the law in acquitting Pistorius of murder (she since has thrown in the towel – now retired, but nevertheless, she herself will resentence the athlete if he is found guilty of the more serious crime – bizarre, don’t you think?).
At the end of the appeal hearing, Pistorius’s defence lawyer Barry Roux was accidently caught on microphone speaking to his prosecutor rival in Afrikaans, saying “that I am going to lose is a fact” (but nobody will say what he was actually talking about, eh?).
Pistorius’s jail time has been surprisingly cushy, as he was kept in a hospital unit cell and even given the en-suite facilities he demanded as a disabled person, and his own special food – but this is a man remember who has lived a totally normal life in the able bodied world, regularly travelling around the globe and even competing against non-disabled athletes in the 400m semi-finals of the Summer London Olympics 2012 and was another 400m semi-finalist at the 2011 World Championships.
Pistorius is also required to do community service and has reported at a local police station to start carrying it out with cleaning tasks and odd jobs – but out of the public eye for some reason (more special treatment, eh?).
[It beggars belief that Oscar Pistorius has been treated with unbelievable leniency and given special privileges since he slaughtered Reeva Steenkamp in 2013 – it has to stop, surely?].