In his latest recently lodged Constitutional Court appeal papers, Oscar Pistorius claims that the South African Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in finding him guilty of murder, was discriminating against him because of his ‘disability’ – this is a little bit rich coming from someone who has fought, and indeed won, against World authorities to be treated as not disabled, eh? He further asserts that the Court’s discrimination included that against his ‘vulnerability’ and ‘anxiety’ (and such discriminations are ‘unlawful’ under the Constitution of course). Some will say any port in a storm, won’t they?
Most world observers have been astounded, if not dismayed, at the bizarre level of positive discrimination indulged to Pistorius in this case by the SA legal system up until now, wouldn’t you say?
Like being a defendant, charged with violent murder and other most serious offences carrying substantial prison sentences, who isn’t immediately banged up (a poor black man’s feet wouldn’t have touched the ground, eh?), but is granted unprecedented lax bail for more than a year, that even allowed him to travel the world, both before and during his trial, and even ‘after’ while he was awaiting sentencing for the initial guilty verdicts. His trial was allowed to become a media circus with Pistorius centre stage, and was overseen by a previously respected black female judge Judge Masipa who probably feared (whether or not subconsciously) being accused or racialism against a white, rich, world famous, South African hero athlete. Whatever, she bent over backwards in terms of accommodating his unbelievable defences, his lying under oath (her own conclusion), ending-up coming to a unfathomable legal conclusion as to his guilt, and then giving him a derisory custodial sentence – pretending that it was significant (exactly five years so he would actually only have to serve 10 months).
The positive discrimination in Pistorius’ favour. didn’t end there though, did it? No, he spent his time inside in a cushy ‘hospital’ jail unit (other disabled people don’t tend to expect as Pistorius did, to spend their lives in a medical unit, do they?), together with special jail facilities and privileges (including having his own food), and even having an en-suite built especially for him, as well. Now he has actually been convicted of murder, is he back in jail? Of course not, he is back out on even further bail (at a derisory amount to add insult to injury), and will be living in luxury and out of jail again for seven months, for goodness sake? Where else in the wide World would a convicted murderer be free on bail, allowed out and about, permitted to use the internet and the like, for months on end, when simply awaiting a minimum 15 year jail sentence (though you’ll expect him to argue that there is substantial and compelling reasons to deviate from that, wont you?)?
This positive discrimination ‘still’ goes on-and-on, notwithstanding the fact that many still don’t believe his story about what happened that fateful Valentine’s night three years ago, do they? That is despite his various, changing, all encompassing, contradictory, conflicting versions, as he has changed his story time and time again, to tailor his evidence and deal with the immerging evidence and the charges against him. There have been strong indications that Pistorius knew precisely who was hiding behind that toilet door when he shot through it, but his murder conviction doesn’t depend on that unproven contentious issue, does it? (No, the identity of the person behind the door was irrelevant in determining the murder verdict).
Certainly, Pistorius testified that he shot Reeva Steenkamp ‘by terrible mistake’, taking her for a hiding intruder, and furthermore that she was alive, and struggling to breathe, when he eventually knocked-down the locked toilet door using a cricket bat, and then dragged her out. That could not really be true; because (apart from other evidence), she could not have been alive (on his own account of matters) as that is inconsistent with the medical fact of almost immediate death after the shot to the head, so she only breathed a few times; this the defence itself has already accepted.
In this current attempt by Pistorius to escape justice, his expensive legal team also argues that the SCA exceeded its powers in dealing with Judge Masipa’s trial court’s factual findings, which seems to ignore that they were in fact rightly trying the prosecution’s case ‘on a point of law’ about the Trial Judges’ application of SA law. That seems to be unjust to Pistorius who has come to expect ongoing positive discrimination in his sole favour, eh? The Defence indicates that Pistorius isn’t a rational person – some of us would probably agree with that (but not as a valid defence, perhaps?). The Defence insist that the SCA had no right to have set aside the conviction of culpable homicide and substituted it with murder (if they are right then the most senior set of judges in South Africa are a bunch of incompetent wallies, surely?).
It has previously been suggested by legal eagles in SA that Pistorius might persist that he hadn’t realised at the time that it was ‘illegal’ to kill someone just because they were an intruder (a valid defence). He still might replay that one further and specifically in this appeal of course, but then he could still never explain how he ‘passed’ the Police test to get a firearm, whereby he recorded that he fully understood the law on that issue? Moreover, the SCA has already found Pistorius did not “entertain an honest and genuine belief that he was acting lawfully”, so that might be difficult to really challenge now (however rightfully fearful & anxious he was at the time, wouldn’t you think?).
The apologists for Pistorius’ murder are numerous of course, and they justify his actions on the basis of the dreadfully lawless, violent society situation, and incidents of killer intruders, that persist in South Africa [that is the kind of defence any half decent lawyer would come up with, wouldn’t they?]. But that doesn’t cut any ice when you consider previous actions in conjunction this particular man’s attitude, behaviour, psychology, and history of obscene attachment and misuse of firearms (in the absence of any intruder) as well as other matters, does it? Some Pistorius advocates deem to claim that the Judiciary is now in fact legitimising discrimination against disabled people, and demonstrating a total ignorance of the nature of disability – when all we can see is that his treatment has been abominably soft, don’t you think? They also say that as Reeva’s murder had nothing to do with ‘violence against women’ (prevalent in SA) so those campaigning about that matter had unfairly influenced sentencing events – how exactly? Furthermore, it is claimed that some others in South Africa got off lightly with their killings, so why not Pistorius. The answer to that one is simple, isn’t it? They shouldn’t have, and that has to be put right immediately and forever , doesn’t it?
[The World’s observers are impatiently awaiting the legal outcome now. Is the South African legal system going to continue making a pigs earl out of this particular killing? Does Reeva Steenkamp get any justice, eh? ]