The Value of Human Life


Today we learned that the value of human life in South Africa is 5 short years, of which, 1/6 will be sufficient.

Judge Masipa said a long sentence would lack “mercy”…

Where was the mercy for Reeva?

Where is the mercy for every woman in South Africa?

The time for transcendence is now!

OP jail

OP van

OP van 2

94 Replies to “The Value of Human Life”

  1. Disappointing, yes, but more or less on expected lines, isn’t it? Today, the judge was a little more careful than on September 11, so it did not sound as incoherent as her verdict; still at the end of it all, when she mentioned she is handing out a sentence of five years, invoking a section that allows eligibility for parole after just 10 months (she did not make it explicit, picked it up later on WS forum) – most of what she said prior to that about gross negligence, intending to shoot whoever was there, firing four shots, defence making a big deal of his vulnerability etc sounded hollow.

    To me, Masipa’s verdict and sentencing have had multiple `versions’. much like OP’s testimony in the case. Verdict said he did not intend to kill whoever was there in the toilet, didn’t even foresee the possibility him/her being killed. Today she said he intended to shoot the intruder, fired four shots, and admitted he was well trained in using firearms. These are clearly two different versions coming out from her. You got to be joking if you claim that intending to shoot someone four times in that tiny cubicle is different from intending to kill.

    I sincerely hope the State appeals.

    1. Akpee, you are correct, but the standard for Dolus Eventualis was ‘subjective’ and that is almost impossible to prove…being that i still would have opted for 10 years and that would be showing mercy to the convicted accused, since the max is 15 years for Culp homicide.

  2. I read somewhere that rhino poachers in SA got 77 years in jail. So for a human its only 5, that can end in only 10mnths? If thats true, i dnt know whether to laugh or cry! I give up…

  3. This just has to be the worse thing ever how can he not foresee the effect it will have if he ends up firing shots in the cubicle knowing darn well it will kill who is behind the door. The defense suck so bad always bringing vulnerability up no threat to his life he intended to kill.

    This judges verdict is one I’ll never believe just like the accused she mixed herself up verdict says didn’t intend to kill I am sorry but please someone needs to show her captain Mangena’s testimony he showed clearly how it all happened. He knows the firearms law Masipa has confused everyone with her versions IMO. She is thick that if you fire four bullets into a tiny confined space which in this case was a toilet its spells murder first degree.

    I too hope the State appeals and overrule this trash who has no idea of what justice means.

  4. Judge Masipa accepted that OP believed that ‘someone’ was behind the toilet door and if he meant to kill he would have shot higher. In my view this is a nonsense Shooting higher would enable the victim to crouch or duck and avoid impact, whereas shooting mid height as he did would increase the likelihood of hitting the target. OP was a gun enthusiast and a trained shooter so I believe he was well aware of this.

    1. Mark, any trained shooter knows that when you shoot to kill you air for the midchest or to the head area, agree with Masipa on that but my take is that OP’s 4 shots trajectory indicates he was aiming at a person sitting on a toilet.(the woodmoving noise he heard was from that area..and that is intent to hit the target and kill.

      1. The 4th shot hit directly her head. Although, Pistorius did not know where exactly Steenkamp was behind the door (more to the left or more to the right, he hit her with a very good accuracy: 3 shots of 4.

        The toilet room is small, but it is highly improbable that someone could hit someone else behind a door without knowing exactly where this person stays. A good shooter is as good as his sight and hearing senses are, both allow him a mental projection of his target. You cannot just locate a target by noises, you have to add visual information too.

        Any trained shooter knows that it is harder to shot the head first, it is a small zone. So first you shot at a large zone from thorax to pelvis, the chances are higher to hit the target. When the target is no more moving you finish the job by targeting a small zone, the head, when your sight is so good that you can hit the target with an 100% accuracy. Hunters generally do the same when hunting bigger animals with a rifle without telescopic sight.

        Thus, if we look on all parameters, this is how he did with a high probability:

        He did not have a good sight contact to Reeva, the door was closed, so a direct head shot was highly to fail. He probably knew where Reeva was standing, looking through keyhole, or space between floor and the under edge of the toilet door, he was able to locate her approximately, shot first in her hip a large zone. Steenkamp fall down on or next to the magazine rack. Mr. Pistorius looked again through small bullet-hole, keyhole or space between floor and the under edge of the toilet door, or more probably hearing the magazine rack moving, he locates quickly her new position, shots second bullet, that one missed Reeva: 50% shot accuracy. Remember the circumstancial evidence, Stipp woke up around 03:00 by sounds, other sounds at 03:17. Stipp cannot have heard the first gunshot, he was not conscious of the first gunshot, because he was sleeping. But the second gunshot that quickly followed the first and missed Reeva, he heard it, because he was awaken. Then later around 03:17 the two last shots. The sounds produced by Pistorius hitting the door (remember big wood panel) with the bat occurred probably between 03:00 and 03:17 during Reevas bloodcurdling screams. Remember the witnesses discrepancies about bangs and bang rhythms, you have to put them in context.

        Finally, he had to see her to get the shot into the head, the more bullets he would had spent, the more people would not have believed him his planned burglar story. So, he went back to his bedroom, wore his prosthesis, took his cricket bat, then he managed to break the first bigger wood panel, look carefully at the 3 marks below bullet hole A and the two horizontal marks above on the bigger wood panel
        It would not have been possible for him to do this without wearing his prosthesis, otherwise he would not had been in equilibrium.

        He could know clearly see his victim screaming in pain, bloodcurdling screams, begging for her life. Had free sight and good hearing of his target. Shots 2 more time and hits her twice: 100% shot accuracy. Then breaks the remaining wood with the two last bullet-holes C&D. Opens the door. All of this in about 15-20 minutes.

      2. “He probably knew where Reeva was standing, looking through keyhole, or space between floor and the under edge of the toilet door, he was able to locate her approximately, shot first in her hip a large zone.”

        But where would the visibility be coming from? Surely there would need to be light inside the toilet cubicle for Oscar to see her position under the edge of the door or through the key hole?

        And if there was light from the toilet cubicle is the edge under the door visible and is the “through the keyhole space” viewable from where Oscar was positioned? I don’t think any evidence was brought up in court that indicated Oscar would have been able to see Reeva from behind the toilet. So I worry this part is speculation that cannot be progressed further..

      3. Jason, yes that was just my opinion on how Pistorius did. When you look at his target hit accuracy it is just amazing 75% and he was supposedly not seeing her. Even if the toilet room is a small room Reeva could move inside. So, he had to approximate her location in the toilet room.
        He had enough light to see someone in that toilet room. You can see where the foots are located if there is a small free space between the under edge of a door and the floor. Or, when looking through the keyhole or the small bullet-holes you can exclude either she is more to the left or to right of toilet room.

        What is in my opinion no speculation is that he had to see and to hear his victim to have that shot accuracy. That is how our brain works, you cannot explain it that it happened just by luck. He could not have build a mental projection of the victim behind the door such as he could had hit her 3 times just by hearing the magazine rack moving.
        That is what Prof Derman did tell. But, Prof Derman is such a bad scientist, actually a charlatan or a fraud, that it even became clear to people who don’t have any notion about flight or flight theory that this guy adapted this theory to fit Mr Pistorius’ actions.

        In my opinion when he fired the first shot he had already made the plan about how to kill her. But, the second shot which was higher than the first missed Steenkamp, it is not an easy technique especially when you cannot see your target. Remember the double tap Barry Roux mentionned, that was in deed his first two shots. The two last shots were an controlled pair, that what he did not mention.

      4. Also Rita by firing four times even at an intruder it would increase the likelihood of the person to fall into the path of further bullets – as in fact happened. I’m sure there must be a “parity” in shooting terms between four targeted to a waist height in a sequence as compared to just one targeted higher up. Sure, one bullet deliberately into the foot is probably not an attempted murder lol but four into what could be first intestines (or groin) and then other vital organs as they fell – that could clearly, easily, kill as they fell. Limb paralysis is also extremely likely. One bullet lower down is easier to defend than four. Judgement leaves me wondering what would happen if he fired 17 rounds. The same outcome? lol.

  5. The five year sentence was very carefully chosen in that anything more than that would not have allowed him probation prior to serving half of the sentence. Now he may be out under house arrest after only ten months.
    If the State decides to appeal it will be so this case cannot be used in the future. Masipa may have erred as far as the law is concerned and the verdict can be overturned. I believe regardless of the decision of a higher court his sentencing can not be changed. Am I right? Does anyone know?

    1. Originally Judge Greenland had indicated that, but later let me know that he spoke in error. It does appear that the appeals court would also deal with an appropriate sentence, should an appeal win.

  6. @Juror13. Hey Lisa, I just wrote a statement here and I have a massive favour to ask (!!). I have been dying to post a “final statement” on feelings about trial to Digital Spy as I left when under a lot of stress. I made a self-imposed exile from DS, deliberately breaking a rule to make it a permanent ban as it was so addictive. I don’t want to go back on but i DO want to make one “closing” statement now the trial has finished. It will just help me to feel there is closure with that strange part of my life on there.

    Unfortunately customer services does not reply to messages.

    They can’t discuss “banned” members or may get banned themselves so I just wondered if you would be able to copy the statement with a title like “From a previous forum member – see link for details.”

    And then if they do bother to come here they can read it and also realize not to mention who wrote it. 😉

    Would be massively grateful if possible! OK – here goes (it’s short). I want to be “restorative” to make it a proper closure…:

      1. Thank you! I suspect most of my ramblings disappeared without a trace by now since they were always too lengthy, so many people did not read them anyway lol! 😉 I just wanted to link in after sentencing because it became fossilized contents before we even knew the verdict.

        Compliments on the website by the way: The message section is a very calm place to chat about evidence, and the quality of discussion is good here! 🙂

      2. I agree… the quality of discussion has been fantastic. I’m so impressed by all of you, and have learned so much. Thank you for making it a rich experience for me 🙂

      3. Thanks as well for organizing the evidence and especially the documents. It’s so much better to actually be able to check the data. Now there’s another recommendation for TV trials: To be fair to the public, if there are reports in court, and it’s open justice, the reports should be released no? Sometimes the cross-examinations do not give the whole picture available to the judge. I think we were running a race at a handicap there. Maybe not in the broad outlines but most definitely in the details…

      4. I am a huge supporter of all trials being televised and evidence being made available to the public. Trials are public affairs. I could go to my local courthouse today and sit in on any trial I wanted to, provided there was room available. We absolutely have the right to observe the proceedings. It helps to keep the system honest and it helps to keep us informed about what is happening in our communities.

      5. I agree with the right but in a court room while observing there is a certain decorum which does not exist in comments feeds on the internet. Watching at home on a computer and sitting in a gallery are not at all the same thing due to all the other “live” interactions that’s possible! It’s this latter part that I am interested in. Also, of course, there might arguments for terrestrial broadcast of justice but not necessarily international: I’m not sure the citizens of UK has a right, say, to see what is happening in a court room in Russia – or vice-versa. When there are millions of cases in progress around the world at a given time, including in ones own country, or locality, it seems strange for people to be focused so much intently on one person – this of course being the downside to being a celebrity, but still.

      6. You are absolutely right, that the people inside the courtroom do have a different level of decorum and perspective. And you raise an interesting point about whether or not we should be able to see other country’s trials. You have me thinking on that one now.

      7. Yeah, it’s interesting. I suppose some countries has to trail blaze the whole TV trial concept. We had Italy, US, South Africa so far, but mainly in US. The judges never pays a blind bit of notice to the fact there are airwaves with fascinated individuals at the other end of their computer or smartphone monitors, or perhaps just headsets. In the event of a retrial the pervasive debates might make jury selection quite difficult. So one wonders whether there ought to be a “sub judice” rule with the exception of specific registered “portals” for debate. With some actual rules to increase the decorum. I’m just shooting the breeze here….

  7. Personal Statement by TIMM (shhhhh – don’t get banned :)).

    Used to debate this case all over the shop on this site (June – August). Always bought Nel’s line that his version is “so improbable it cannot reasonably possibly be true”. Apparently it was not so but maybe probability is in the eye of the beholder. 😉 Nonetheless Reeva’s parents just seem relieved to be able to move on now. I wish them peace for the future.

    Yes, the sentence is short even for culpable homicide with 4 bullets, but it will feel like a lifetime to Oscar due to his recent rise to stardom and back down again. Prisons are rough places especially first time. Once adapted to this shock factor, and accepting of it, many more years won’t make much difference – it just becomes a routine then.

    Haven’t made up my mind about Oscar, I guess the word I would use finally is “troubled”. It’s easy to throw adjectives about but equally easy to be misled by assumptions.

    There’s more normal ways to live a life without being so very iconic so hope he too finds a purpose again perhaps just more straightforward (??) and it might result in no more disasters. How’s about do something for love of it not fame or adulation. Become an anti-gun campaigner perhaps. And work with disabled kids. Or animals.

    Perhaps he should forget all the “sponsors” … they want your soul in exchange for a photo op.

    Very mixed feelings about the TV element as murder trial is too sensational. It’s like tumbling down the rabbit hole into the “inner workings” of some terrible yet compellingly interesting event and you wind up too engrossed by far. Or at least I did. I wasn’t happy with how things panned out at times in terms of my thought processes becoming narrower due to addictive actions. This aspect becomes a painful reminder to a near personal crisis period – as bitter reflections about past experiences intermingled with the tension of the unfolding trial drama, and became exhausting and soul-destroying for a time.

    I’m happy to stick with Columbo from now on as it does not involve real tragedies.

    Nonetheless this televising has been a good legal educator [at least in some respects] & widespread education at least into the “mechanics” of adversarial law could be one positive to take away from this.

    Yet in the age of social media it is something that seems ill advised to me.

    And finally it goes almost without saying, but I hope all those personally touched by these events will recover their lives in time.

    OK – thanks for reading – just wanted to say G’bye properly. Best wishes everyone!

  8. P.S. Lest the conclusion sounds glib let me just add, i do mean it for real.

    If it was exhausting at a safe distance. imagine what it must be like for those actually involved in such high legal and media drama day to day.

    Although it clearly cannot be escaped for celebrity stories in general, I just hope that whole “media” dimension dies away now as I am sure most of these people could seriously do with a rest…

    I think we, the public, should give them their lives and privacy back and stop lapping up articles about any of these people unless it is really something very pressing.

    Trial over. Time for calm.

    1. Hi Moniker, I am not part of the DS clan but would just like to comment on something you mentioned in passing to say It is a real issue when dealing with issues of public thought and democracy and it has been called “the tyranny of the masses”. With the internet it could be the “tyranny of a vocal minority”. Just to say this is a general issue and I say this as something entirely separate from the Oscar Pistorius – Reeva Steenkamp, a direct message from me to you having read your well balanced comment.

      1. I mean in the sense that where using a “TV trial” as a tool to make a more transparent justice, that the judge should address the public in the same way as if she would address the jury, the court officials, or the gallery. It’s like then the “gallery” is much larger all of a sudden with 99.9% of observers being “remote spectators”. As soon as this dynamic happens, where 10,000s random people become part of the audience, it would be prudent for judge to work on assumption they are not all familiar with legal mores and norms, and therefore to give out certain “instructions” as to how he or she advises people to participate. I think this simple remedy could have a HUGE impact on the quality of the public discussion. Be interested whether that proposal sounds like a good one or not? 🙂

    2. Hey Jason,

      In principle I think it’s a very good idea to connect what happens in the law courts to the debates taking place in people’s living rooms – as predicted, there has been a surge in uptake of law courses in South Africa because of it. Engagement in the legal process is a good thing, and like many others, I had a far more limited understanding before this trial, but now became quite fascinated by it. And yes, it goes much more general than the Oscar and Reeva story.

      I think there’s a problem in that the public lacks “jury guidelines” which could advise them on how to participate in the process in the right ways. It might be advisable for judges presiding over such trials to periodically restate some of the principles of jurisprudence to assist the public in managing their comments more in the spirit of a jury. Reminders at certain points would definitely not go amiss.

      One thing I am sure of is that the “vocal minority” that are engaged enough to follow a story closely would like to participate well even if they do not yet know how to do so because the environment is too cutting-edge so therefore poorly understood, or suffers from too many distortions in content – so this field deserves more attention in general.

      Down to small details of their perspectives, 90% is formed rapidly and the remaining 10% is what is moving as a result of coming into contact with others’ opinions. So in practice each of us has a very limited impact on others’ actual beliefs or belief systems. The problem is that because the state case comes first there is a bias to that information, and then no doubt there was a massive spike in “belief in guilt” during the cross-exam, but this belief proved resilient beyond what was objective in the second half of the case.

      There are many confounding factors, for example the fact Nel was charismatic and confident, or the fact the defense produced many experts and reports late in the day. It’s almost impossible to generalize from something so specific but i think we have to at least have a go.

      I work as a mathematician/computer guy and it occurs to me there could be some really interesting statistical analyses to come out of this. I predict the majority of the “signal” in terms of people’s “beliefs” does not vary once it becomes fixed, so in that case, the “risk factor” to a sensationalized trial event is that those early forming “beliefs” turn out to be in error such that significant fraction of the audience forms the wrong impression – and becomes certain of that.

      Somewhere down the line will have a clearer picture of things and this is most certainly deserving of research. More open justice would be a positive in any parts of the world for which corruption prevails…this must not be done with a total disregard to consequences however!

  9. Hi TIMM. Good to hear from you and thank you for finding a way to get in touch with the DS forum. Hope all is well with you. Best wishes.

    1. Hey Imogen! Thanks for saying hello. Yes this seemed the best idea really – for me, very active forums are as addictive and also as destructive as a heroine habit would be. So i thought i’d just drop a line here as it’s much safer. 😉

      It’s not unique: There are places on the internet where the same 20 people has been discussing a topic for literally 5 or more years now…

      I hope things are well in general!

      Oscar’s life will have long since gone back to normal – he’ll probably be working as an UNESCO ambassador for disability and never put another foot wrong – yet people will still be trapped in bubbles on the internet debating whether Mrs Van der Merwe heard him crying after the first or the second bangs….

      I’ve gotten interested in the way the public interacts with a trial as there is some debate in the UK at the moment about it. Hence, i wondered if i might be able to turn this strange experience into good with a bit of freelance work on the risks and the benefits. I happen to know a guy from school that works for the Ministry of Justice. If you have any thoughts about it feel free to message to the following account:

      Great to here from you anyway! 🙂

    2. P.S. A particular risk of ongoing saga lol in light of the possibility of a state “legal” appeal, with inevitable defense cross-appeals on variety of issues if so.

      This will not reverse the identity of the person Oscar had in mind while firing.

      I’m concerned the state can see only faults in the judgement and not any of the wider precariousness.

      Part of me says to leave a sleeping dog to lie, except for the case of the ammunition charge ruling since that just makes it plain silly to have a license system for the stuff in your safe!

  10. Carl & Aimee gave an interview the day before sentencing. Carl described Oscar as follows … “He’s bold, he’s brave, he’s got courage, …” I could not help to immediately think, NO he’s not … None of that is true … not in reality anyway … NONE of those those words fit to describe Oscar based upon his actions of that night alone. BOLD = not hesitating or fearful in the face of actual or possible danger. BRAVE = having or displaying courage, resolution, or daring; not cowardly or timid. COURAGE = the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery. All of the above definitions were taken from a dictionary. In reality Oscar is quite the opposite of Carl’s description. Wondering what it is like living in their perception of reality ??

  11. Among the hatred and nonsense spewed by online commentators, one sometimes finds a gem, like a breath of fresh air. This excellent summary from “Zodiac Legend” on –

    “I followed every word of this trial – mainly because I was so certain that his story did not add up and also because I know some of the players.

    There is no jury in South African law, the judge with her two assessors makes the final decision on guilt or innocence and on sentence. Ultimately, It is purely her decision, she does not need to take their advice.

    There were 4 possible outcomes in this trial:

    1. innocence and acquittal (not possible as he admitted to shooting into the toilet door)

    2. Culpable Homicide (death caused by accident – a stray bullet, a ricochet, a pedestrian hit by a car on the highway etc.)

    3. Murder – Dolus Eventualis (death caused by the reasonable man’s ability to foresee that an action COULD cause death – and still following that course of action despite that knowledge – like firing four bullets into a tiny enclosed space where you know someone is hiding)

    4. Pre-meditated murder – Dolus Directus – (embarking on a path of action with the INTENT of causing death – keeping in mind that intent may only be formed minutes before the event and even if the person killed is not necessarily the person you intended to kill – ie an intruder vs Reeva)

    There was more than enough evidence to prove Dolus Eventualis – when you fire four explosive missiles into a 1.5m2 closed cubicle knowing that there is a person inside (no matter their identity) the outcome is unquestionably DEATH. Especially as when asked why he did not fire a warning shot into the adjacent shower, OP replied “but it could have ricocheted and hit me”. He had enough foresight to keep himself safe, but did not apply that same logic to the
    person in the cubicle? Unlikely.

    I believe that Oscar HIMSELF proved murder. The state failed to prove premeditated murder beyond a reasonable doubt as the Judge decided to disregard, in total, all evidence from professional, learned and respected neighbours and ear witnesses which created the logical circumstantial case for the state. Keeping in mind that the only physical witnesses to this event were Oscar and Reeva and she did not live to tell the tale and he would not….

    He should have received 15 to 20 years for murder in a correctional facility without possibility of parole for the charge of murder.

    Instead, despite OP’s admission of Dolus Eventualis, she handed down a 5 year Culpable Homicide conviction under Section 276 of the CPA (where the 5 years are the limit under which a convicted criminal’s sentence can be converted to a non-custodial sentence (house arrest and community service) after 1/6th of the sentence has been served in a correctional facility) and therefore being given the option (at the judge’s discretion) of only having to effectively serve 10 months of his sentence in a correctional facility.

    Oscar effectively received a 10 month direct incarceration sentence, and then, although he is banned from the 2016 Paralympics, he will be free to compete again after his release (and note that NO ONE has said he cannot compete in the able bodied Olympics)

    A family lost a precious daughter, society lost a productive and ambitious woman – who fought against the very abuses that killed her. It is a travesty of justice and I believe that an appeal would succeed. At the very least he should not be granted parole after 10 months, but made to serve EVERYDAY of his 5 year sentence in his jail cell in Kgosi Mampuru 11. I do not wish upon him to be raped and assaulted in prison, but I do expect that he has taken from him a measure of what he took from Reeva and her family – the freedom of choice.

    When he chose to point that gun at the door and shoot 4 bullets through it KNOWING that there was someone behind it (and it neither matters who nor what occurred before or after the action) only that he consciously and knowingly shot with intent in the direction of a trapped human being, he made the choice to remove
    all further choices for Reeva and for her family. Incarceration confines him to a very small life, (like a very small cubicle)
    it confines him to himself and dealing with others who have made similar choices, it removes from him the right to live fully, as he removed from Reeva the right to live at all.

    It gives him time to contemplate his space in the world and the feelings and motivations that brought him here. It separates him from those he is a danger to and – according to Zach – separates him from those who would be a danger to him. It serves as a warning and a deterrent to others who believe that abuse of and
    violence toward women is an option and it delivers a DIRE warning about firearms and their access.

    What it does not do is bring back the stolen life taken in the arrogance and violence of a February night, it can’t ever achieve that – not for Reeva or any of the other 3 women murdered every day by their partners in South Africa.

    Judge Masipa had the opportunity to teach this lesson to all abusers, an opportunity to ensure the safety of at least one other abused woman, an opportunity for SA to be seen as tough on women’s abuse and violent crime internationally, instead she focused on Oscar the man, Oscar the personality, Oscar the Celebrity, Oscar the Olympian, Oscar the victim of his disability – the one thing he NEVER refused to accept until this event and then made a great deal of – not Oscar the Narcissist, Oscar the gun slinging, entitled perpetrator with the God complex and she pretty much forgot Reeva completely.

    In your summation Milady, could you not at least have referred to the ‘deceased’ by name? Her name was Reeva Steenkamp and she was murdered by Oscar Pistorius, her lover, on a hot February Valentine’s morning in a guarded and secured enclave in Pretoria…”

    1. Aren’t there several different kinds of offenses that can fall under 2. Culpable homicide? Which is what makes it more difficult.

      There is:

      2a. Everyday negligence: The stray bullet, the negligent motor vehicle accident, the work place health and safety breach

      2b. Gross negligence: the anaesthetist that uses the wrong dose in spite of professional training (more serious)

      2c. Intentionally hurting someone with the unforeseen result of death (what is called ‘constructive manslaughter’ in English law).

      2d. Sincerely acting in self-defence or putative self-defence but exceeding the bounds of reasonable force.

      All of these are “culpable homicide”. So each one in turn needs to be ruled out in order to establish DE.

      There is also a faulty definition which was suggested in the heads of argument and appears to have been used in the judgement.

      2e. Killing the wrong person who turns out to be a loved one

      (i) The defence asked for (2a), (2d), and (2e).

      (ii) The panel rejected (2a) because of his gun training and foresight he would use it.

      (iii) They instead categorized it as (2c) – which was something Oscar denied (and probably still denies) – and controversially mentioning (2e) in support of the lack of foresight.

      (iv) Supposing the state appeals (2e)-based reasoning and (2c) is upgraded to DE: There is still (2d) as a backup.

      (v) Objectively there is no trouble in calling that scenario a murder. Subjetively is more tricky but also probably a “safe bet” in this case because of the lack of “candour” – which should fail to satisfy the “evidential burden” for bringing a self-defence plea to court. Had Oscar not said a word, DE would have been inferred; so saying words that are not true, OUGHT to have the same consequence; otherwise it would advantage a defendant to take the stand evasively, as a better strategy compared to evading the stand altogether.

      Do we really want that?

      Much of this could perhaps have been resolved by means of common sense but that was sort of hard to get to due to all the emotional distractions in the case lol 😉

      1. “2c. Intentionally hurting someone with the unforeseen result of death (what is called ‘constructive manslaughter’ in English law). …
        (iii) They instead categorized it as (2c) – which was something Oscar denied (and probably still denies) – and controversially mentioning (2e) in support of the lack of foresight. (TIMM)”

        Yes and Yes. What I didn’t understand was why Judge Masipa CONSTRUCTED this defence for OP. It was never OPs defence and hence the State NEVER HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO QUESTION IT! For me this is a critically serious issue as regards the process of law.

      2. @Jason. You could argue the panel DE-constructed it from the “intention to fire at the person in the cubicle”.

        Nel asserted that must be DE “because he fired four shots at the person in the cubicle”, but the panel said “from the angles of the shots” (waist height) it could be the lesser included offense of shooting to injure but without necessarily imagining it might result in death.

        The panel’s point of disagreement is that intention to shoot is not necessarily intention to kill. It’s fair enough because Nel never touched on the argument at all. He only gave them a story about shot angles that is pertinent to RS. Perhaps Mangena should have made another reconstruction for the intruder as well?

        I guess that would have been the fully rigorous way to proceed!

        Something like “Even if he was aiming to disable, by shooting at waist height, he must have expected for the target to fall into the path of more bullets – if a single bullet at chest height suffices for “dolus directus” (see relevant case law), then four bullets at waist height is practically speaking as lethal due to the greatly elevated chance of the person to fall into the path of more bullets – as in fact happened.”

        Something like that?

      3. I think it’s a bit like the Wild West down there. The captain of the National Football team was shot yesterday. Just a few days after another famous S.African sportsman died in a car crash. Also last year there was a gun fight in the magistrates hall where Oscar’s bail hearing took place lol. Maybe our issues are we can’t understand their culture? So that four bullets into the small cubicle might actually only be negligent for some reason that seems not logical but is in fact fairly normal. South African gun owners often lack foresight? I wouldn’t like to say really lol.

      4. @Jason. Just remembered a principle which applies to your comment. It goes like this: If you don’t give a true version then the judge no longer has a duty to consider lesser included charges which might be consistent with the evidence, so if (2c) was set aside the panel could not have been faulted on appeal had they set it aside. However, they may consider it if they wish however this is not a right that the defendant in fact has.

        So we might argue that he ought to have run out of “mercy” since it had already been exercised, in reaching conclusion (2c) – his “lack of candour” had been forgiven in a sense.

        It is most certainly strange if a court applies mercy twice to the same defendant, once for their words, and again for their actions.

        It’s even more strange because to reach the picture in mind of wounding at the waist level on the LEFT of the cubicle, they had to focus in on the bail version of – “a movement IN the cubicle” – to make it as if the aim was responding in order to prevent this “moving” person. So that makes a kind of sense as a picture.

        The problem being this version was abandoned by Oscar a long time ago. How is the “perception” of the door opening and the “wood noise” built into the picture that the panel formed? Where did they go.

        You will not find a word about that in the judgement. Just like if he never did testify words to those effects at all.

      5. @juror13. “Do you think that other countries hear about our constant school shootings and think it’s just a cultural difference? I doubt it.”

        Every time it happens there’s people that are willing to stand up and argue with PASSION in favour of fire arms though? So a significant number of people is unmoved by the high school shootings, because the “fundamental right” is to keep the freedoms. It incites utter hatred of those that speak out against it. I don’t see how you would change that easily, which does suggest to me a cultural issue in both cases? People detest having their freedoms interfered with … and laxity of public safety is the cost of that.

        The situation in South Africa seems to me to be that there really is a lot of violent crime to a degree which perhaps is difficult to appreciate to an outsider. This must have a slightly numbing effect even upon magistrates and judges at times, I would guess.

        Winding up with ridiculous arguments to not criminalise certain acts for quite arbitrary reasons – e.g. sob sob – as there is simply too much lawlessness and the correlate to that – too much taking the law into ones own hands. The case law seems a bit of a pickle in S.A. – did you read any other judgements? Masipa’s is actually relatively objective offering. There are some that are like rambling essays by the judge on all their personal feelings about the case.

        And how can you blame people if the police are often working together with the burglars to split the difference.

        It’s difficult to truly understand the environment except from within I guess. Though I absolutely don’t doubt there are vast majority of people that would arrive at identical concepts independent of country. Just the tolerances on the margins, e.g. for what is “reasonable” home defence, those may differ by locality? This is the part that would be difficult to translate precisely I guess.

      6. We have such violence in south africa because of 2 main reasons, one is because if you treat people like animals they will begin to act like animals , they will also in turn bring their kids up as animals. Even though through no fault of their own in many cases.

        Another is poverty.
        Poverty is not in itself a cause of crime but it increases social and moral decay which leads to high crime, violence and anti social behaviour.

        Rape is a cultural thing here, google ukutwala to get an idea.
        Even our president has been charged with rape and he is a married man with 3 or 4 wives. Yes, the closer you look at our country the less civilised you will see it to be.

      7. “… but the panel said “from the angles of the shots” (waist height) it could be the lesser included offense of shooting to injure but without necessarily imagining it might result in death.”

        No because this assumes OP knew the person behind the door was standing up. Why should the panel assume everything needed to get OP off the murder wrap? They can’t possibly assume that OP knew the person behind the door was standing up.

        Of course IF OP and Reeva were involved in some through the door altercation then he would have known the person behind the door was standing up.

        Would it have still have been culpable homicide if OP knew that Reeva was behind the door and standing up? He could just say – yes I was angry and shot her at waist height – I had no idea this would lead to her death. Judge Masipa would then say okay that’s culpable Homicide – and then there would be a riot …

      8. @Jason. Good point about CH in relation to RS. I just posted this quote to another answer:

        “Moreover, if an accused deliberately takes the risk of giving false evidence in the hope of being convicted of a less serious crime or even, perchance, escaping conviction altogether and his evidence is declared to be false and irreconcilable with the proved facts a court will, in suitable cases, be fully justified in rejecting an argument that, notwithstanding that the accused did not avail himself of the opportunity to mitigate the gravity of the offence, he should nevertheless receive the same benefits as if he had done so”

        Key words being “deliberate” and “in suitable cases”. The case of shooting RS would definitely be one of the suitable ones to be “fully justified in rejecting” any mercy, as the lies would be extremely deliberate and extremely serious.

        The case of shooting the intruder, having been incorrectly accused including on false evidence with shooting RS might not be suitable. It’s more up for debate – all the other factors which then seems harsh or problematic, could invoke the sympathy of the court e.g. Nel showing a photo of her head, depression, PTSD, mourning, media ramifications and rumours, “prosthetic legs” at bail, “screams” during the trial, and a general sense that the accused has been already dragged through the mill in the process of the prosecution, hence, deserves a break?

        I don’t personally agree with that conclusion but I can see how it might be reached.

      9. @Jason. “Advantageous misfortunes”. For a defence lawyer this is NOT an oxymoron. 😉

      10. @Crack, Juror13. Makes a lot of sense. Definitely sounds like it’s a question of breaking cycles.

    2. P.S. Everyone is talking about the errors Masipa’s panel might have made in his favour? But did you notice there are also some errors made against. For example, the panel concluded that “startles” were ruled out:

      (a) due to the shot angles – which is an inference
      (b) due to the psychiatric investigation – which did not consider startles
      (c) due to preparing the gun – which is fair enough

      So if the state appeals, the defence will do so as well and be able to criticize the judgement in other ways e.g. (a) and (b) for which state might be underprepared as they are so focused in on their own objectives.

      Aside from all that: Just wanted to say – thoughtful piece and thanks for sharing it!

      1. I think the startle was ruled out because he fired four times: not once not 17 times. He was trained and he sought out the danger. He heard the window slam open, the toilet door slam shut and then he heard “wood moving”. Basically he knew what to expect (according to his testimony).

        Also I think he lied when he said he pointed the gun but didn’t aim and had his arms bent at the elbows in front of him (not straightened & locked). The way he described it the first shot would have caused rotation around the shoulders – so he would have had to lift his aim again to fire the second shot.

      2. @Jason. Yeah, agree with the mechanics on the shots 2-3-4: C+D especially requires a correction.

        I think Roux realistically was only trying to cover the first one as being “precipitated” by an “unexpected” noise – so that opening fire would have been a startle and stopping would be “recovering his wits”. Defence conceded a court would be “loathed” to consider all four bullets as beyond his conscious control. Damn right a court would. Cheeky to even ask for it IMO.

        So it’s that first shot for which this argument was mooted and for which, in part, Professor Darmen was called, but which the panel did reject. In other words fully conscious intention to shoot at the person, not merely at the door, and certainly not by chance; continuous from and consistent with his other actions: disengaging the safety, having time to reflect, “going to confront”, ordering the “intruder” out, persisting with confrontation even after the person shut themselves in cubicle, raising arm into a firing position and having had plenty of time to “calm down” from the initial “surprise” of the earlier noises and to be in complete control of this situation mentally. Any remaining physiological reflex arguments is annulled by his complete failure to react to the door slam noise, for example.

        And reflection as to a purpose is also consistent with his evidence such as “many many thoughts (about crime) were going through my mind.” Fortunately the panel did NOT swallow the “sinker” on this occasion.

        So this really ought to be the bare minimum for this crime. I think that’s their perspective, reading between the lines. The factors (a) – (c) above is just a couple that Masipa mentioned in passing. And I noticed Oldwage scribble intently when Masipa commented on the “experts” saying he was criminally responsible – I wondered if perhaps they were intending to exploit the loophole that the “experts” (Schultz etc) did not actually consider startles at all. These kinds of minor details has been serving the defence very well as a matter of course throughout the summing up phases to this case.

      3. @Jason. There is a sublime line of argument against “startles by chance striking intruder” anyway. It now means his gun could have been waving almost anyplace between the window and the door which is a large arc of angles when it “went off” – not because of any “intentions” on Oscar’s part but “by chance” in that direction which struck the person he says he feared.

        Previously we only had to consider the probabilities of 3-4 bullets striking RS in the order they did so and then stopping, which was already very low, even when he was actually aiming into the cubicle.

        But NOW we would have to consider the same 3-4 bullets striking RS in that order but GIVEN they could have gone off in a spray practically anywhere in the bathroom.

        And the odds on that happening? It’s millions to one against. 😉

        There’s a reason why courts are “loathed” to allow people accidental violence against the target they have spent time approaching, weapon in hand.

        Millions to one it does not happen that at the critical moment the weapon is used “by accident”.

      4. @Jason. That “millions to one” odds for the 3-4 injuries is in the case he accidentally fired at the intruder without aiming at the door. Which is his actual claim.

        It doesn’t even begin to address the further odds of Reeva being there without him knowing!

      5. @Jason. With these defences where one person is on their own and the other winds up dead it is always more difficult to prosecute as the defendant has admitted most of the forensic evidence so you are then making value judgements about the credibility of their story. Many of these types of trials run to a 2nd or a 3rd attempt because the juries wind up hung as to whether the person is telling the truth.

  12. Checked over at DS – thank you thank you (!) for leaving that comment! The permanent ban for own benefit is great to cut down on a “forum addiction” problem LOL but unfortunately means I couldn’t say a SINGLE word after verdict and sentencing on there. It may only be a moment but it feels better than nothing.

    BTW Juror13 did you read recent remarks there by My_sharona? She is trying to invite a re-discussion of evidence because the verdict is at variance with popular sentiment due to the following reason:

    “Fairness to Oscar Pistorius. His family too, I suppose. He’s had his day in court and the judge and her assessors did not just find that the prosecution did not prove their case but that Oscar was telling the truth on the matter of whether he knew he was shooting at Reeva. It was a strong, clear judgement. And yet the majority of the public voices directed at this public man still implicitly or explicitly call him a premeditated murderer of his girlfriend. That would be a terrible burden to unfairly place on someone, and my belief is that you better be pretty sure of your ideas to be contributing to it. Sure enough maybe to be able to say that you covered every base, and yes, maybe covered those bases just one more time.”

    Just to remark to any passing DS individuals inc. My_sharona, I would be more than happy to discuss this for the very same reasons:

    (I posted that above as – oops).

    I think this would be a great exercise and await any uptake on that.

    OK – cheers. 😉

  13. Question: Is it libel to call OP a murderer given that the SA court found OP innocent of the charge of murder? The British government plan to clamp down on twitter usage, introducing new Law to enable a twitter user to be jailed for two years for behaving in a troll like manner. Libel law still applies separate to this.

    1. @Jason. Good question.

      Murdering the burglar is fairly non-problematic – heck, you can even call someone a murderer for eating meat if you want! As soon as anyone admits some form of violence resulting in the death of a person or other living thing, that word is useable in common parlance. This was intentional shooting at a person, after all. In UK or US Oscar would have to contend with “deadly weapon rule” which essentially imputes intention to anyone that picks up and then uses a gun or a knife and then as a result kills someone. You would have to be sold on the validity of “defending yourself through a locked door” to escape that, which to be frank, is a form of vigilantism so extreme that our courts would reject it. Judges in UK expect a high degree of provocation before you may act and it simply was NOT present in this case. Best case is he took the law into his own hands to a very extreme degree.

      And in general: Members of the public talk a lot of b——-s so therefore it is ignored by most celebrities. For example if you post something along the lines “Obama is a paedophile” onto YouTube can he sue you? YES. Is he likely to? NO. It would be completely paranoid behaviour to start suing large numbers of members of the public, and even worse to just pick on one or two, not unless they are communicating with sustained and blatant malice, especially incitement to violence, or otherwise, has a large enough audience to become relevant.

      The correct legal term in South Africa is probably: “killer”.

      However in respect of the domestic row the language ought to switch over to statements of probability, theory, hypothesis, or clearly stated beliefs and mere opinions rather than facts, especially in venues or outlets which are not characterised by “mere opinions” anyway – such as press articles – or anything else where you intend to directly “reach” a number of people. The Lord McAlpine case had a threshold of 500 “followers” before it would start to “get serious”.

      I guess newspapers will be likely to get a backlash however, particularly the ones that spread stories that turned out to be TOTALLY false and also very damaging. Similarly I don’t fancy the chances for that lady that reported she had it from a “reliable source” that he had been taking acting lessons. That was named by Roux in court hence she probably needs to get herself a solicitor pretty fast.

      I would not recommend to be overtly provocative and actually I think this applies regardless whether he did or didn’t shoot her on purpose: It’s simply part of the respect for law in a civilised society that we would generally speaking respect courts’ findings even if they aren’t entirely tip-top we can’t have mass break-outs of rabid anti-judicial sentiments. It is particularly true in the case where it might be based on false theories – being both self-righteous and at the same time wrong about important facts is not generally speaking a good combination.

      Is this not otherwise just another manifestation of vigilantism, the very thing which was supposed to convict him of the murder of the burglar?

      I reflected on this at length already since i believe the public was ill-equipped to engage with a live trial in the “correct” way and it’s something that should be taken into account in future; this is just the tip of an iceberg of thoughts about it – if you want to chat more just mail me at that email address, cheers!

    2. A twitter troll who was harassing OP and his family could get a longer prison sentence than OP did. #thePeculiarWorldWeLiveIn

    3. “How can you object to false statements about your intentions while firing if you gave a false account of your intentions while firing?” (TIMM)

      I like this sentence. JM should have found for Dolus Eventualis of killing the person behind the door – which would have at least given OP the opportunity to explain himself under the Defence Appeal that would have followed.

      1. Yeah, there’s a quotation in Nel’s heads about this issue:

        “Moreover, if an accused deliberately takes the risk of giving false evidence in the hope of being convicted of a less serious crime or even, perchance, escaping conviction altogether and his evidence is declared to be false and irreconcilable with the proved facts a court will, in suitable cases, be fully justified in rejecting an argument that, notwithstanding that the accused did not avail himself of the opportunity to mitigate the gravity of the offence, he should nevertheless receive the same benefits as if he had done so.”

        I guess the key words for debate are ‘deliberately’ and ‘in suitable cases’.

  14. To TIMM: What I have found interesting is the reaction of a (white) person shooting to death an intruder or a thief (invariably black) in South Africa: in law this can be murder but in practice it seems it is never found to be so.

    My generalised issue, which I think is the elephant in the room, is that if there had have been an intruder in that toilet, what would the court have decided and how would people have reacted.

    The other thing I find interesting is the comparison with the former Springbok star Rudi Visagie who shot dead his own daughter Marle as she drove her own car out of the house early in the morning. He thought she was a thief trying to steal the car and shot her dead.

    There was “no justice for Marle” campaigns, no people with placards outside the house, no books. In this instance there appeared to be public sympathy for what had happened as Rudi Visagie seemed to be genuinely remorseful. Nevertheless Marle and Reeva circumstances were identical as both were shot dead.

    1. Hey Jason, I think there are many differences – including epistemological : Marle case the state knows what happened; Oscar case how are they supposed to know – just take his word? there was no intruder. Having even a genuine accident when no one is around results in a murder trial, that may seem harsh, but it’s necessary. So for Roux to argue “see the state’s different approach” is really silly. difference approach because different circumstances.

      Four bullets?

      Otherwise see above: we can chat via email if you prefer? make up one if you prefer not to use a personal account no worries! I don’t want to clog up Juror13…

    2. Just had a thought Jason: There is a trade off between risk of being attacked by criminals in your home, and risk of people within a home shooting one another, and the two scenarios is clearly debated in this case.

      How often in real life would a dangerous criminal, upon hearing the home owner, and when they have a means to escape out the window, instead voluntarily lock themselves into a toilet cubicle?

      I’d say that would never happen or if it did then chances are the criminal is in fact not dangerous but rather clueless and perhaps very scared!

      So there is practically ZERO protective value afforded to home owners in general by advocating that you may shoot into a small cubicle. It would just never arise and if it did the person you shot would invariably be harmless.

      So the scenario of “defending yourself from a burglar that locks themselves in a small space in your house” does not need to fall under home defence, perceived or otherwise, since there is no need for home owners to defend themselves against people shut in cubicles. The issue will never arise in such a way as to make people safer, hence, it simply one of the many situations in which the person using the gun would be the one causing all the problems.

      Home defence laws only need to capture realistic situations to keep people safe in. They don’t to collect additional scenarios such as Oscar’s into the bargain which will never arise in a way to keep people safe anyway, but rather, they might make people on the receiving ends of bullets less safe.

      A locked cubicle is more often a refuge than a threat so it SHOULD be the priority of the law to safeguard the possibility a person needs that refuge from another home occupier, rather than put it within the scope of home defence.

      This if you will is a very abstract way of explaining why domestic violence takes precedence over home defence in this case even in the case where he did in fact think he was shooting at a burglar.

      Because for a long time scared people has been running away from partners to lock themselves in a safe space – a refuge – whereas burglars has never been doing this. So why allow any lenience for a person to be firing into the locked spaces in a house.

      That’s one very practical and common sense way to look at it and set aside the PPD and call this a bad precedent.

      1. Just to add:
        a) an intruder is unlikely to slam the window upon entry thus notifying his presence to the occupants.
        b) an intruder is unlikely to slam closed the door to the toilet cubicle because i) it notifies the occupants (almost certainly gun owners) as to the precise location of the intruder ii) makes the intruder a sitting duck
        c) OP told the court that Reeva would have likely been too scared to reply to him … so if OP knew this … why did he shoot before determining where Reeva was, especially given that he was in control of the situation.

        On a separate note: if Reeva had survived she would have almost certainly have had the harshest of criticisms for OP and would have almost certainly be asking for more than ten months in jail for attempting to kill her (she was studying to be a lawyer etc). In her Whatsapp message she did say that OP sometimes scares her, and that he had a tendency to think only of himself (vibe) in their relationship.

        Personally my view is that the States approach was disastrous … given the main part of the case was so easily dismissed.

        Given the evidence the State should have focussed on dolus eventualis (or dolus directus) of the person behind the door … then highlighting the possibility that he might have knowingly killed Reeva.

        Whatever I get the impression that the police work was poor in the critical early stages of the case. There should have been a complete lock down of the shooting scene. OP should not have been allowed to remove ANYTHING from the scene – let alone Reeva’s handbag etc – OP could have stashed away incriminating evidence – such as his mobile phone (where Carl Pistorius erased all the data).

      2. Ultimately the State was lazy – if they could show that a woman’s scream was heard – then it was a straight verdict of dolus directus of killing Reeva. Nice and simple. Unfortunately for the State it wasn’t so simple. They needed to put more effort into it and when I say the State, I mean the whole police effort plus the prosecution team.

        The whole issue of the State ignoring the mechanics of the time line from shooting to bat strikes was irresponsible and poor.

        There is of course a bigger picture to all of this – but ultimately the responsibility comes down to the state – allowing its citizens to carry guns, allowing its citizens the right to use guns to kill people. How the State limits those rights is crucial, as is the level of punishment the State metes out for infringing those rights. The State also need to recognise that people may use these rights to murder people – to carry out the perfect crime etc.

      3. Ps OP in his own testimony never checked for presence of ladder next to window – before or after shooting. In fact there was very little to no checking of anything before firing.

      4. @Jason. The popularity of the late gunshots theory is as concerning if not more so as the lenience with the early ones. The late shots theory is objective proof of how a conspiracy of circumstances can lead a righteous public to demand justice for a deed which was not carried out, or at least, in nothing like the manner which is widely believed. There is sadly a certain probability that each of us will wind up in prison for something we didn’t do because of this tendency. Nice. 🙂

      5. @Jason. And i mean that also to include the case where he is guilty of shooting RS at the earlier time. Even then: Unless it was proven using correct evidence, the conviction is worthless, and equivalent to convicting an innocent person of a crime.

      6. @Jason. Just wanted to add: One of the statements you wrote is really excellent and I could not agree more:

        “Given the evidence the State should have focussed on dolus eventualis (or dolus directus) of the person behind the door … then highlighting the possibility that he might have knowingly killed Reeva.”

        Yes! In other words prove as much as can be proven absolutely persuasively but no more than that.

        However the judgement itself also has many problems.

        Did you notice that despite being very clinical in the approach to the state’s circumstantial evidence – when dismissing it – the panel did not uphold the same rigorous standards in making arguments to underpin Oscar’s version with other circumstantial evidence types.

        Just take one example: The window being open (in police photographs) is “evidence” for his version that it slid open moments before he fired the gun.

        So are we to conclude that the time of opening captured in the static image on the photograph? How is that “evidence”.

        For a panel that was so exacting in its dismissal of other “evidence”, it turns out that some of the actual evidence upon which they were prepared to rest their conclusions is even less solid.

        Hence the question does have to be asked whether even a better organized prosecution effort would have made any difference?

      7. @Jason. Sorry a sentence got mangled:

        “Are we to conclude that the time of opening [of the window] was captured in the static image of the photograph?”

        Meaning how is the fact the window was open any kind of “corroboration” of the version in which the window did open while he stood by the hi-fi. Certainly you can’t work out the time from the picture. lol.

        And also the first time oscar mentioned that window was in his PLEA explanation – more than a year after the incident, and around 6 months after he and his defense team had studied in great depth the collection of police photographs – the same photographs which apparently corroborates the version of when the window opened.

        It went so far in the judgement as to say this means it was NOT a figment of his imagination that he heard that sound.

        Amazing psychic powers of inference on display here. Using the same psychic powers I am sure the panel could have inferred that Mrs. Van der Merwe DID hear Reeva. The telepathy only went one way in this example. 🙂

      8. @Jason. P.S. I don’t mean Mrs. Van der Merwe did in FACT hear Reeva: It’s a possibility. But in dismissing this evidence which the state presented, the panel were not so rigorous when it came to testing evidence in favour of Oscar’s story.

        I mean, lets be clear! Even Oscar HIMSELF could not know for sure if it was the window he heard! He never saw what actually happened to make the sound, and as the magazine rack stuff and the female screams and the bats and everything else proves, he may be mistaken about the cause of a sound.

        The photo post definitely does not clarify that a sound really happened! That’s the reasoning error – and it’s quite a whopper! lol

    3. Who is more likely to lock themselves in a cubicle: A scared person or a dangerous person? It’s 999 to 1 in favour of the scared person.

      The biggest problem with the defence case is statistical problems coming from widening the scope of PPDs as the wrong kinds of situations will be favoured by that, hence i can well imagine the “Public Protector” office might take an interest… also some of the low probabilities involved for example hitting her 3-4 times…. Probability is my particular area of expertise and my assessment on his case from this perspective was not favourable…

      Yet, because of the “story” of his life being something quite special, it tends to make even the judge become more of a dreamer or something? I’m not sure, I felt like I was listening to hopes and dreams being told at times, especially Mr. Roux’s beautiful prose, eh, and I can understand how people get caught up in that stuff, but at the same time we live in the real world…in which hopes and dreams are frequently dashed against the rocks.

      It is quite apparent that Masipa ruled partly with her heart as she referenced evidence such as tears and prayers. Because Oscar wears a nice suit he did not do a bad thing? Kind of.

    4. P.S. I think if he had been tried in Norway, for example, he would have been found guilty of murder ,regardless on the minimum sentence being long, because their prisons are so impeccably run that he could have done degrees and all sorts while there and basically been a very decent citizen with a reasonable life inside. So there is no particular reason to feel that it is “too much” or “likely to destroy” or “break” a person… it definitely pays to have a functioning prison system which restores and builds people no matter who they are or what they have done; it’s one of the cornerstones of justice IMO.

  15. Okay some speculation – the mother reveals that Reeva was unsure about OP – unsure about committing to OP – unsure about the proverbial sleeping with OP as opposed to lieing next to OP. I could envisage Reeva being a more platonic love type of person but maybe not for OP. Anyway it seems that OP may not have been fulfilling his manly needs with Reeva – Reeva being perhaps a more cautious deeper thinking person than OP.

    Link this with “stories” of OP and him having close associations with former girlfriends and other women. Suggestions that he was seeing a few other women on the side. Maybe OPs phone revealed quite a few contacts with other women. Maybe he received a few whatsapp messages as the clock struck midnight … Reeva’s Valentine card suggested that she was thinking about committing to OP … but where was the commitment from OP – no Valentine card – no nothing.

    Apparently Reeva had two phones with her when she was shot in the bathroom, her own AND OPs? (please someone confirm?) If she had OPs phone on her why would that be the case? One could speculate that she was checking up on OP – maybe suspicious OP was two timing her. That is speculation but maybe not speculation is that she had OPs phone which would be extremely odd. So can anyone tell me anything about the phones and whether she may have taken OPs phone. That could be a critical piece of information.

    So then the phone trail becomes incredibly important. The missing phone becomes critical – OP being alone in the shooting scene becomes important – the removal of evidence from the shooting scene becomes important – the wiping of OP phone data becomes important. We begin to see a possible motive – a possible confrontation issue.

    Then Reeva being in a locked toilet, standing up, in a listening position in front of the door rather than crouched in the corner where the partition wall was – could be explained differently – some heated argument going on. Trousers out of the window – who knows – tidy bag ready to leave – who knows. Maybe heat of the argument shooting – then OP calming down – thinking quickly screaming – going for the bat. I think it was always gunshot first bat second but the details in between and beforehand less certain. OP was there – he knew what happened – if he did kill Reeva in a heat of the movement action – he was always going to create a story that was as close as possible to the actual timeline as possible. He only needed to change those elements of the story that would be consistent with an intruder.

    The critical piece of evidence is did Reeva have OPs phone with her in the bathroom?

    1. The other thing that needs investigating is what were the precise plans for Valentines Day night and morning?

      As far as I can tell it was Reeva that wanted to spend the night with OP and not OP. Perhaps Reeva was wanting to explore her idea of committing to OP (as per her Valentines Card message).

      But what was OP plan? Had he intended to spend the night with another girl?

      We would need to check OPs phone – but strangely OPs phone went missing and the data on it all seemed to have been deleted.

    2. All who have tried to solve this case have been sent to the point of madness and then beyond a little.

      I’d be cautious with the material in June’s book because I don’t think there’s any evidence she had another phone. The evidence which might look like that is the fact two phones were pictured on the bathroom mat, Reeva’s, and also his business phone.

      But he himself might have put the business phone there. You can weave a story to make sense out of that possibility as well…

      Actually I have to say the idea of her having his PERSONAL phone is very “suggestible” to a possible chase with tempers flying. It’s also suggestible to the subsequent “evaporation” of certain data from said phone lol.

      However this would then be purely COINCIDENTAL – because it is in fact the OTHER phone which was observed resting on the bathroom mat. 😉

      I also believe there are text messages discussing their sex life so perhaps it is a case of reassuring mum on that point? As they are a Christian family and whatnot.

      “So then the phone trail becomes incredibly important”

      Yeah, I imagine so too, but for other reasons…

      I met a man in the street who was asking if I had any spare change the other day, the poor soul said he used to be a merchant banker, so I asked him how he came to fall on such hard times; he explained he had started watching the Oscar Pistorius case and was sucked down the rabbit hole until he could no longer hold down a job due to being obsessed by riddles day and night, his friends drifted away, his wife left him for handsome French architect and he hardly noticed, his trading account ran at a deficit of $3 billion since he forgot to sell all his long stock, he was of course sacked for gross financial negligence but did not read any of the letters informing him of the impending damages actions until the bailiffs finally had to come and take away his computer and house keys and then dragged him off to a debtors ‘prison… 😉

      1. P.S. That’s not intended to be autobiographical but it might prove to be an unfortunate approximation unless such speculative theorizing either yields a firm conclusion – or ceases for good & always! .:-P

      2. I thought perhaps you were confessing for a moment there… 🙂

        Interrogation is a good thing. Like everything else in life though, you do have to maintain a balance. You certainly can be invested in the world around you, and questioning all that needs to be addressed, without neglecting your own personal life and daily needs. I realize that’s easier said than done. But when people realize that their own individual health and mental well-being is at the core of keeping the world sane, as we are not all wandering around unconnected, that’s when the good change starts to happen. Awareness should be embraced.

      3. @juror13. Thanks for your sound advise! Life is great when everything is running at a balance, couldn’t agree more. Problem with the modern world: Too many opportunities, too many things to focus in on, and NOT ENOUGH TIME FOR IT ALL! 🙂

      4. TIMM what you have failed to realise is that I am already completely mad. So it would either make no difference or drive me back towards sanity. Maybe.

        I was responding to the NEW information from the mother. She is likely to have a sense of how her daughter behaved. Yes she could be mistaken in part but unlikely to be completely mistaken.

        Do we know why there were two phones in the bathroom – did OP explain how his phone ended up in the bathroom. Of course Reeva could have had any number of phones with her and OP would have just taken it later.

        With regard whether they consummated their relationship maybe the State should have asked OP how many times the two had done the deed. It was Valentines Day, their first Valentine Day together, Reeva wanted to be with OP, she was considering committing to the relationship (as per her card), OP didn’t prepare anything, he wasn’t expecting to spend the night with Reeva. Given those conditions what should the State have been looking for for a possible argument.

      5. @Juror13. Someone over on DS (“inspiration”) just changed their opinion from ‘intruder’ to ‘probably the row’ after looking at the clear focus pictures from “Behind the Door” on this website.

        They haven’t explained their reasons but perhaps an appreciation of how cramped the confines of the bedroom are was a factor? Just how near everything really was such as the big fan and the bed, how much difficulty there would be for RS to get up and leave without him hearing or seeing in his peripheral vision. I’m not sure. In any case, the pictures brought about a change of heart. I can only “look” but not “chat” lol however I was curious what made them change their minds so suddenly…just thought i’d let you know as you might be curious as well. lol. 🙂

      6. I saw that! Here is the post (below) and I totally agree with her – it is haunting when you take in the sum of that room. No way in hell did Reeva sneak off to the bathroom while OP was screwing around with fans right next to the bed. It’s impossible. Those pictures do tell a very different story!

        Inspiration (from DS): “I was just looking at the new detailed crime scene photos on Juror13. It’s chillingly different looking at the crime scene with the original photos rather than the pictures of the court monitor screens. Everything is so much more clearer.

        I have to say having looked at the pictures.. it doesn’t look to me as if that bed had even been slept in that night. The pillows, the duvet.. it just looks wrong. And then there is all the mess on one side of the bed that would have been in the way of someone bringing in fans.. and then the bag, the flip flops and the gun holster on the side of the bed where the bag was. The jeans. Even the way the mattress looks disturbed on the bag side, as if someone was sat there for a period of time and no one sat there again.

        It’s all quite haunting.”

      7. @Juror13. Yeah I want like 70 hours a days – I think I could fit all my stuff in then.

      8. @Juror13. Thanks – I missed the original post there! I think Inspiration may be right about he triangular depression in the mattress on the bag side (left when facing). It makes me wonder, was Oscar even conscious of THIS because he alluded to sitting with his head in his hands there for a few moments when he woke up.

        This fits with the picture I had in mind of him firing the shots throwing his gun onto the bathroom floor waiting in horror for a few moments until it sank in trying the lock and then retreating into the bedroom for perhaps as long as 5-6 minutes. I feel it must be a reasonable amount of time with some periods of silence included because he said he “could not remember much of that period” and this would not be necessary to say if it was only a couple of minutes of rushing around.

        Most of that time being spent sitting in silence crying at times very loudly such as was mistaken for a woman. I also considered the “helps” could have been to no one in particular but VERY loud inside his bedroom near the balcony windows, loud enough to carry, but actually more to God than anyone else in particular.

        Track that backwards and take it from Oscar’s hypothetical perspective as he is studying his own crime scene in the year between shooting and going to trial. He might notice some very minute details which no one else would have in the normal course. I just wonder if that reference to “sitting with his head in his hands” which was quite superfluous to waking up, could it be that he really was doing that, and had noticed the lines on the duvet and wanted to be able to say why it appeared that way if asked?

        Interesting stuff.

        Also I think the holster is strangely far back on the cabinet. How did it get so far back? Was it thrown or was it placed? Did he place it too far back in an attempt to make it appear less obvious he placed it there (because it wasn’t “sitting in full view”)? So confusing the obviousness of the object with the obviousness of the act of putting it there deliberately. Maybe?

        Perhaps the first thing he could have realised during those minutes in the bedroom was that it was going to be hard to explain how he did not see her miss the room unless he said he was sleeping on the side nearest to the bathroom. And if the holster was lying on the floor on the other side, this would not help!

      9. @Jason. “TIMM what you have failed to realise is that I am already completely mad. So it would either make no difference or drive me back towards sanity. Maybe.”


        He commented he had “got his phones to call emergency” as he had been “unable to call emergency on hers”.

        Bit strange though: Sam Taylor says the business phone is normally kept downstairs. So why was Oscar stopping of to get it? He didn’t use it to make even one call.

        I personally find that quite suspect: His personal phone was surely nearer and by this stage he had already seen that Reeva had severe injuries but he still delayed to make a call to 10111 on his own phone.

        If as a matter of urgency that was his reason for getting his phones, after trying hers, then why did he not do so using the one nearest to hand?

      10. @Juror13 P.S. Above: Sorry not ‘lines on the duvet’ – lines on the linen, on he bed itself.

  16. Can I just join in and say the standard of discussion here is very high with much detail.

    I saw the comment by Zodiac Legend on IOL and think it is spot on and also the comment here by Karlos, who brought new detail and logic to what happened in the bathroom on that fateful night.

    Zodiac Legend says he knows some of the players, which may mean he moves in those legal circles.

    I am female, English and once lived in South Africa for ten years and while there had a very jealous fiancé and my best friend had a very jealous and dangerous husband.

    At first I believed the intruder story then with all the information coming out, it looked like a crime of rage to me. I also believed that Reeva was leaving that night.

    The photographs do tell a story and can I add my thoughts on going to the toilet in the dark.

    We would get up without putting the light on if light were coming in from street lamps outside. But if it was really pitch black so that you could not see R had left the bed, then it would be impossible for her to move around. For a woman, because we have to sit down, we need some sort of light.

    Even if as some have said, R could have used the light from her phone, OP would have seen it.

    So there was either light coming into the bathroom and bedroom from outside, or there were lights inside. So we discount the story he could not see she had left the bed.

    IMO, the case cannot be compared to the Springbok killing his daughter. The girl was driving from the house in the early hours to surprise her boyfriend on his birthday and she had not told her parents who thought her car was being stolen.

    If you were to deliberately kill your partner with a gun, it is logical the only reason you can give, is you thought they were an intruder. You cannot claim the gun went off accidentally four times! So for me, the fact that someone went for the gun, removed it from the holster, advanced to the loo, imo, that is pre-meditated.

    The prosecution will have had a real heart to heart with June Steenkamp, so she knows what happened but not why. Why he killed her daughter!

    The Steenkamps will not have moved on. They were clearly in shock at the verdict and wanted to get out of the courtroom. Mr Steenkamp had had several strokes that will limit his life and we can only surmise what a mother is going through.

    The fact that Masipa disregarded the evidence from neighbours astonished me, as one would not expect people waking up in the night to gunshots to have exactly matching testimony.

    Dr Burger’s testimony tells us what really happened and Mrs van de Merwe’s, that there was an argument earlier. Reeva’s voice may have carried more than OPs.

    Dr Burger’s balcony doors were open and I know here in London, I can here people talking outside at night even if some distance away.

    And pleeze, don’t anyone tell me South Africans don’t know the sound of gunshots. They would carry through the night air.

    Nor do I believe anyone can mistake the sounds of a woman screaming in real fear. As Dr Burger said, “Bloodcurdling”.

    My fiancé did attack me once, for chatting to his boss and my friend did divorce her husband and was still terrified of him.

    So this was a crime of rage for whatever reason and unfortunately Reeva did not head her instincts that made her afraid of him.

    It looks as if there was a struggle or attack in the bedroom and she ran to the bathroom and called out for help, while he was getting his gun.

    The memorial service and the mourning on the anniversary of the killing, shows there was no remorse. Just, once again, only my opinion, PR stunts.

    I shall buy Mrs Steenkamp’s book. I am guessing she will be fearless at what she knows, why would she care if he sues? Although I doubt it, as in a civil case even more can come out.

    But it won’t bring her daughter back!

  17. I recently posted a comment and wonder if it has been lost, as I was slow to go to my email and confirm joining the website.

  18. I just can’t get my head around the fact that all the states ear witness reports were disregarded. The exact times were not relevant because most peoples clocks are not synchronised to the correct time and witnesses cannot be expected to remember precise details, but they certainly proved that there was a fight between the two of them that night.Also I do believe that the shots were the last set of bangs, the first noises being the cricket bat. Hopefully the appeal will give him more jail time, which is what he deserves.

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