Juror13

True crime and trial opinions from a layman's perspective

Excerpt from Transcendence

angry

Earlier this week, Nick van der Leek and I recorded a Skype conversation in which we discussed our motivations for writing the ebook, TRANSCENDENCE. This is the 6th ebook in the Oscar murder trial series.

http://www.amazon.com/Nick-van-der-Leek/e/B00OW1IC44/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1414573463&sr=8-1

Four months ago, what initially began as trial conversation between the two of us grew in to a much deeper examination of what is happening to the world around us, and how injustices have affected our own personal lives… and we were angry. Just like many of you have become angered by the outcome of this trial.

This book, as well as the next two, are not intended to be a summary of the court case. Instead, they are heartfelt conversations about what we have lost and what we have gained along the way. We hope that you will share in this journey with us. To listen to our audio, click here:

http://www.africanman.co.za/?p=3217

We’d also like to offer an excerpt from the book. This chapter is titled 8 Perplexing Perspectives. In this passage, Nick is discussing his feelings about the suggestion (during the sentencing hearing) that Oscar should receive community service at the local museum:

In September, during an interview I gave with JacarandaFM, and on a few occasions in RESURRECTION and REVELATIONS, I’ve pointed out how mendacity leads to inversions of a narrative. I mentioned that Reeva’s screams become Oscar’s, Reeva’s voice also becomes Oscar’s, light turns to darkness, and perpetrator becomes victim. Instead of the criminal being the criminal, the policeman (Botha) is the real villain. He shot Reeva, not Oscar. Or it’s the media’s fault. Or it’s a disorder. Or it’s a muddle of versions.

Or it’s nothing more than Mendacity.

The natural end to these inversions must be that when it comes to sentencing, if the judge has dug herself a hole (and in our view she has), then she must see these inversions through to their logical end.

What would be more ironic than sentencing Oscar to a few hours a month cleaning the floors of a museum which still carries the old name of the Apartheid Province – the Transvaal Museum? And perhaps in cleaning the grime and dust from the floor, might see himself reflected, carrying Reeva, seeing her blood drip again and again on every wiped surface. No matter how many times he cleans those surfaces, the blood stains remain. Why? Because in court, did he ever really take responsibility for his disgraceful act?

Was his responsibility ever right, in the sense of sincere, and true? They say the walls talk, but so can the floor, and the weight of one’s own shadow and reflection under one’s feet.

So what may seem a shockingly inappropriate sentence, may, in the scheme of things, and in a specific sense, be wholly appropriate. I do not mean to suggest, even for a moment, that Reeva’s life and the horrific loss of it can be measured against a few sessions of mopping the floor. Obviously it cannot, and obviously nothing but the maximum sentence (45 years) would do the loss of her life real justice.

But when I see the Olympic champion, darling of the world’s media, symbol of hope, hero to the all, grounded to a dirty floor, mopping it up, even for a day, I see a bottom to his fall. And perhaps a bottom from which he will never fully arise again.

It is difficult to imagine, someone with the sense of entitlement and prestige of Oscar (his name itself feels puffed up, and strutting like a penguin) reduced to the vocations of South Africa’s lowliest employed citizens. The domestic workers. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like. Washing dishes. Cleaning up the scum and picking up the offal left by white collar workers on their way through the mezzanine level… I know exactly what’s it’s like because when I was 26/27 I worked for about 6 months as a kitchen porter – basically at a minimum wage – in the kitchens of Berkshire, England, during my sojourn in Maidenhead [circa 1998].

More likely, Oscar himself will find this more difficult than his days in court.

In short, all these fucked up inversions will reach their bottom here, and perhaps then for the first time, Oscar may begin to feel our outrage. He may also feel his own outrage, the outrage that led to the events of 14 February 2013, rising undiluted through his marrows once more. He will have to stand there and sweep them, day by day, through the carpet-less halls of a museum that might as well be a mausoleum to all of history’s injustices.

Oscar, even for a limited time, might be the custodian, the janitor, of that. A man who spreads films of water over the footprints and dusty residues of others, and erases them. A man who takes films of clear water, and soap, and collects the grime of society into a bucket. And then watches his floor fill up with more prints, more dust…

Sheer prison time, where one must face the cement walls in quiet contemplation of one’s vile acts (and perhaps, one’s vile self) also seems wholly appropriate. A harsh punishment for what appears now to have been brutal, pitiless, self-reinforcing behavior.

Nel was also at pains to stress today that Hartzenberg may be more than a little biased in her assessment of a wholly remorseful Oscar.

“Is a person involved in a court case, a serious court case…serious and remorseful…when on his own version he became intoxicated…involved in an altercation…during the course of the trial.” Nel asked Hartzenberg words to this effect.

I was also gratified to see Nel using my own aspersion – that culpable homicide is typically the lot of reckless drivers. Nel used this as his example, to differentiate the intent of a driver recklessly or accidentally hitting someone, in the randomness of a road environment, compared to a person arming himself in the confines of his own home, with a weapon that he has received weapons training on (including how to use it to deadly effect on a firing range) approaching danger and then firing it (for all intents and purposes) successfully.

And the answer is, well, if one is taking one’s own culpability seriously, one will make an absolute effort to control one’s conduct. Of course, if the crime was committed out of a sense of entitlement, and needing to perpetuate one’s selfish whims, then going clubbing and misbehaving in the middle of one’s own criminal trial (in which one denies culpability) fits perfectly.

So what is it that we, society want?

Do we wish to put Oscar behind the same door, and take turns firing shots through it until he is dead? We could do that, but that would make us no less barbaric than the criminal. In another age he might have been tied to the door and strung up.

Of course, we’re a far more civilized society. We forgive our murderers, and rapists. We do not deny them the right to murder and rape our fellow citizens once more. We respect their rights and entitlements to be rehabilitated, and criminals (both in and out of jail) also respect and admire us for our absolutely fucked up system. You want to be a victim? You want us to be the wolves, and you the helpless sheep, well then ignore and forget what we do, and forgive us our trespasses so we can do it again.

Revenge may be uncivilized, but we live in an uncivilized society. Why is it that Muslim countries like Malaysia and have such exceedingly low crime rates? Because there are real consequences to crimes. You steal, your hand gets cuts off. It works. In South Africa, you murder, and you get a slap on the wrist. It doesn’t work.

Retribution is quite different. Ulrich Roux mentioned tonight (on the Oscar Trial Channel) that crime hurts, but restorative justice heals. Retribution is when the mythic scales of justice in the sky are basically rehung and rebalanced accordingly. It may be a combination of money, community service, and jail time, but whatever the mix, there is a combination that may feel appropriate. In my opinion, and I hope I am not a little wrong, but very wrong, Masipa will misapply the retribution aspect as well. House arrest, and community service.

The alternative, sending Oscar to jail, is abhorrent. Because it would be dooming him. Well, it is no different to what Oscar did to Reeva, and at least in theory, it is the least Oscar could (and should do). Many on social media (and myself included) feel Oscar deserves the harshest possible sentence. And yet the court appears to be leaning in the opposite direction – to find excuses for the most lenient possible sentence.

The great error here (if it is an error, and the odds are that this ‘error’ is bought, rather than innocent) is that we have lost sight of the victim. What was the value of her lost life, not the value of the criminal’s? Because in seeing the value of her lost life, we give not only her – Reeva – a voice. We give ourselves one too.

96 comments on “Excerpt from Transcendence

  1. maggie m
    October 29, 2014

    Thank you for this well written article. You hit the nail on the head!

    It made me think, once again, how easy it is to be confused by the defense arguments on behalf of the guilty…we are made to feel so sorry for him. Your article reminds us of why we need to have just punishments for crimes committed. By not holding oscar truly responsible for the gravity of what he did, a wrong message is delivered…to him and others who use guns too quickly. And that is what oscar did. In his OWN version, he defended his right to tell someone to get out of his **** house and then, when they did not even respond by trying to get out, he shot them dead. Did he not realize that the gun he was holding was a lethal weapon? He must have and yet still hopes that he won’t have to suffer too much for his rash and dangerous actions.

  2. maggie m
    October 29, 2014

    Just one more thought occurred to me.

    What if someone had been hurt or even killed at Tasha’s when the gun oscar was holding at the time went off? His defense there was he doesn’t know how it went off since he definitely did not pull the trigger. Oscar’s mendacity would prove too much even for his defense counsel.

    • juror13
      October 29, 2014

      He’s like a 4 year old… hand in the cookie jar, gets busted with crumbs on his face and says “wasn’t me”. It is truly fascinating how somebody who is so mentally competent has two unfortunate experiences with guns that were totally out of his control.

  3. Stephen
    October 29, 2014

    My first reaction to the article was that it was much too deep and self-reflective, but here I am, making a comment because it forced me to think about not only this situation but more generally about how I wish for criminals to be punished and how I feel society wishes for criminals to be punished. Even though I may not agree with your opinions, they have elicited a reaction and response, which I assume was your original intention, so in that respect you have certainly succeeded.

    As ignorant and deplorable you think I am for not agreeing with your conclusions of this trial, you must agree that within a working legal system everyone has the right to have someone work for them to minimize their punishment for any crime. The truth is that many are wrongly accused and would otherwise be sentenced wrongfully if they are not properly represented in these trials (this happens anyway, unfortunately). One may argue that the rich get the best side of this and take advantage of the system by utilizing the best attorneys available, and let’s face it, many rich criminals get away with their crimes because of their resources (uh hem OJ). There will always be those who exploit any loophole possible to get the best possible outcome for themselves. How many of us have embellished slightly on our tax returns to get the best possible outcome? In the end that is what most people are concerned with…what is best for themselves, not society.

    Even though you disagree, there is evidence that supports Oscar’s version of the events. Of course, not exactly as he has told them. A respectable legal system must at least consider his side of the story and must at least be open to considering that parts of it are true. Did he embellish, did he lie, did he exploit what he could for the best possible outcome for himself? Of course he did, and who wouldn’t? Every person has an innate desire of self preservation, and most will do whatever it takes to ensure that. As horrible as you think it is of Oscar, I can’t be more harsh in judging him because of his attempts of self-preservation. That said, I don’t agree with many of the things he did or said; however, he was on trial for killing someone, not on trial for his character. And many of your judgments of him and his testimony are based on your opinion of his character. Comments you’ve made like “he sounds like he’s lying” or “he comes across so guilty” or “he only thinks about himself” are all opinions that you have formed of him based on his demeanor, his appearance, his choice of words. I know you have been extremely considerate of the evidence in this trial, but you have to admit that your final judgement in this case is based on more than just evidence…it is based on your judgement of his character in situations completely unrelated to the actual event for which he is on trial for.

    If you put yourself in the same situation that you have judged of Oscar, that you got into an argument with your boyfriend, he broke up with you, you were in a jealous, angry rage, and you shot him in cold blood. When you were put on trial for your actions would you not fight for self preservation? Would you not fight for the minimal possible sentence? Would you not expect your attorneys to fight for this for you? Would you just take full accountability for your actions and say “yes I killed him, now give me the maximum possible sentence.” Given your legal prowess I assume that you have already thought that in the U.S. this type of homicide would be considered voluntary manslaughter…heat of the moment, crime of passion. However in your situation they charged you with first degree murder, premeditated, punishable by execution or life without parole. Would you not fight for what the proper charge or conviction should be? Would you not expect your attorneys to fight for a lesser conviction? I believe that you would, and if your attorneys were doing their job properly then they would argue that there was, in fact, no crime at all that occurred. This is a strategic decision, with the hope that they will save you (and you will save yourself through your provided evidence or testimony) and that you do not deserve to be convicted for first degree murder.

    Maybe I am wrong and that you are truly transcendent. I believe you are a wonderful person, so don’t get me wrong. I just can’t harshly judge someone (Oscar in this case) for trying to use whatever strategy they can in an effort to preserve their livelihood, and I think if you were in the same situation that you wouldn’t just stand up and tell the court to crucify you for what you had done to the fullest extent of the law. Which, by the way, would immediately give you leniency because of your decision to not cost the legal system millions of dollars in prosecuting you. There’s some irony there.

    In any trial there is going to be some emotional element to it based on the circumstances and details of the crime. There was recently a man acquitted of murder even though he killed someone and it was clearly murder. However, the person he killed was a drunk driver who killed his family while they were waiting on the side of the road for a tow truck. Most of us look at this and say, that was justice, the drunk driver got what he deserved, not the voluntary manslaughter conviction he was going to get. We say, he deserved to die for his actions because he was irresponsible and it caused the deaths of innocent people. However, if you technically look at the law, it was followed in his case. If you look at the law in the father’s case who shot and killed the drunk driver, it nowhere near followed the law, as he should have technically been convicted of murder. It was premeditated and intentional. You couldn’t even argue that it was a crime of passion. But, he “got away with it” and we all pretty much agree that it was the correct decision in this case. Why was this man allowed to do this? Can you imagine if we were all able to punish those who have directly harmed us to our own standard? Would our society survive like this? Yet, this is what we want, don’t we? We want to see someone pay for their actions. We want to feel retribution.

    Any normal person feels that people should be punished for their illegal or harmful actions, but the legal system in almost any country is not that cut and dry. You reference Islamic rule and there is some evidence to suggest that crime rates are much lower in these societies. However, how happy are most people living in these societies? Do they really feel freedom? Do they really feel the ability to live their own lives how they choose? Do you know how many people have wrongly lost hands because of a lack of proper due process? Do you know how many women have had their faces doused with acid, disfiguring them for the rest of their lives, on the mere suggestion of infidelity without any trial whatsoever? In any society there is a sense of retribution and what that entails for a particular crime and there is certainly a balance between crime, punishment, and freedom. I suspect most of us would strongly disagree with the kind of retribution under Islamic rule, but that is “normal” for their society, and arguably crime is minimal because of it. In legal systems where you give the opportunity for the accused to argue against their charges, then you give them the opportunity to use any means necessary to prove that they are innocent. In legal systems where this opportunity is not given, you end up with oppression and those punished for no crime at all. Of course, none of us ever want to see a murderer or a rapist set free without punishment. Most of us would probably prefer to see these people suffer in the same way they have made their victims and their victims’ families suffer. We also don’t want to see those wrongfully accused spend their lives in jail, and how many reports have we seen of this recently with DNA evidence clearing people who have spent 10, 20, 30 years in prison wrongfully. All we can do is the best we can do…I know, cliche.

    I don’t have any answers, but you made me think, so this is what you get for it.

    • Nick van der Leek-Photo
      October 29, 2014

      Comments you’ve made like “he sounds like he’s lying” or “he comes across so guilty” or “he only thinks about himself” are all opinions that you have formed of him based on his demeanor, his appearance, his choice of words. I know you have been extremely considerate of the evidence in this trial, but you have to admit that your final judgement in this case is based on more than just evidence…it is based on your judgement of his character in situations completely unrelated to the actual event for which he is on trial for.>>>

      Stephen it is also based on his track record. I wonder if you have considered the legality, the authenticity or even the honesty of one double amputee dude saying he has the right to compete with able-bodied guys using carbon fibre prosthesis – and that’s fair. Well it’s not. It’s not fair to able-bodied guys because here is a guy running on legs that don’t tire or get injured (beyond safety issues in relays), it’s also not fair to all the other double-amputees who would like the same privilege. What’s so special about Oscar that he should be the exception, and the ONLY exception? What about other, less good looking double amputees? Well then why not just combine Olympics and Paralymics? Because that wouldn’t work. They’re separated so that it can be fair.

      Our final judgement on this case is actually based on all the things you mentioned plus very very painstaking reasoning. It is taking the precedent of his previous behaviour, and applying it to this situation. It is also taking into account the context of what was going doing that evening.

      Once you study all the evidence and try to line all of it up, Oscar’s testimony, eye witnesses, timelines…the most likely scenario that emerges is quite different. To you it may seem like the intruder story is the most likely. It’s not, for reasons everyone has said. In the 1-2 minutes it takes to fetch your weapon and approach the intruder, there is time to ask where your loved one is, and get an answer.

      If Oscar is to be believed the lights were off and he screamed so loud and for so long Reeva couldn’t have answered or been seen if she tried. But put yourself in Reeva’s shoes. Would you remain absolutely quiet at 3am in the morning while your partner has a gun, and is approaching YOU in the toilet? Really?

      And that really is what Lisa and I have done. Used facts AND intuition to build the most likely scenario. You’re welcome to test it and improve on it. Many who have think it’s pretty solid. And because the NPA are appealing, there may be more to this case – I believe much more, I believe it was premeditated – than ‘Oscar’s version’.

      Anyone who takes the killer of someone’s else as the absolute version of truth is a fool because obviously the killer is going to make himself as harmless and innocent as he can. And that’s Oscar’s story. He was frightened. He was trapped. It’s an inversion of what really happened.

      • thisismymoniker
        November 1, 2014

        Hey Nick,

        It would be good to debate the screams some time as I sincerely do believe it was nothing other than Oscar “sounding like a woman while crying” as Mrs. Van der Merwe expressed it. The other option is he cried like a woman after the 2nd bangs and it’s mere coincidence. But based on everything, altogether, I reached the conclusion many times over that the “female screams” genuinely was Oscar. Which somewhat changes things if so, in terms of the most likely sequences of events. The gap between state of defense is much narrower for starters. Both scenarios – shooting perceived invader, and shooting reeva – are consistent with the “first bangs” as fatal shots. But of course we have far less data on what “sounds” might have been heard before that. Just Mrs Van der Merwe’s and a passing security patrolman’s evidence and Oscar’s own testimony, and any other inferences one might tentatively draw…

        It might help to start with one aspect:

        “If Oscar is to be believed the lights were off and he screamed so loud and for so long Reeva couldn’t have answered or been seen if she tried. But put yourself in Reeva’s shoes. Would you remain absolutely quiet at 3am in the morning while your partner has a gun, and is approaching YOU in the toilet? Really?”

        Oscar’s crying/screaming “in voice of a woman” would have been after the first bangs, so Reeva would have not been alive any more. The order would go – something happened – then shots – then he cries while she lay dying – then he broke the door…so no chance for Reeva to be trying to answer him crying, it would be too late.

        I’m just troubled about one thing: Did you consider that Reeva might not have seen him approaching with the gun, say for example if she was using the toilet? This is his version but it could also be the reality. If they were breaking up, she may have sensed enough to want to leave but not read him in any way as a killer. He also may have been crying, rather than angry, when he shot. He may have shot her without her seeing it coming at all. Now she was indeed standing behind the door, not out of the way, suggesting she was not so very scared, in addition, if she had her phone, she had not used it during the interval of time before, and also, if she was calm enough to use the loo, then she was not altogether fearful at that point. If that is true, then the state and the defense versions are getting very close indeed…

        There are still some difference to ponder: A toilet flush, for example, could be a problem on his version, due to the noise.

        Many witnesses attested to his emotional distress either on phone (around 3:20) or after 3:25, and if it was also him “crying out” between the two sets of bangs, that pushes the crying right back almost to the time of the shots, so why not before? We don’t actually know for sure he was angry since that’s not the only state of mind in which people shoot others. OK, the intruder version says “fear”, the state says “anger”, but there are other options such as “upset”.

        The conjectures which have built up around this case have tended to fall into two diametrically opposed camps, the defense, and the state, but it is possible neither of these “versions” is the truth?

        Be interested in your thoughts about it anyway.

      • thisismymoniker
        November 1, 2014

        P.S. About the supposed shouts to which she did not respond:

        “Reeva phone the police. Get the F—- outta my house. Get the F—-outta my house”, the supposed triggers to supposed door slam, and then supposed fear and silence by Reeva. I find this moment a real stretch.

        It is necessary for her to be silent in order for Oscar’s version that he doesn’t know she is there to be true. Would a caring girlfriend lock her disabled boyfriend out, not say a word, and not even use her phone (considering “by chance” she had her phone with her so could have acted upon his words).

        These shouts would have been unexpected, and were out of context to the “calm situation” which was nothing but a couple waking up a couple of minutes earlier on valentine’s morning, and her going to the bathroom, opening a window, then going to the loo. Indeed, she could tell that everything was quiet in bathroom, better than he himself could have. Apart from the words at most she would have heard him “walking slowly”.

        The trigger of the shouts would have been surprising and taken a moment to register firstly the meaning of the words and secondly the implications. “Reeva, phone the police. Get the F—- outta my house”.

        What kind of situation did she think was in progress exactly?

        If she heard “Phone the police” she would think “What’s up” because she would have to explain what was happening to the police – you cannot just ring them and say “I have been told to ring you but I have no idea what is going on”. Natural human curiosity to understand a “situation” would kick in – but to justify her silence, it is necessary to assume she was psychically aware of the terms of Oscar’s perceived intruder error, at the very same to himself. Why would two people have the same imagination yet not talk?

        She expresses no curiosity to find out what is happening. Her default response appears to be: I will look after myself first, in that she slams the door shut without saying a word. This would not be very loving.

        She would certainly struggle to understand the meaning of the second shouts even more so: There would be a question mark as to whether “Get the F—- outta my house” was bizarrely, and for no apparent reason, directed at herself. There was no scuffle sounds. Nothing else to suggest a “situation” involving a 3rd party (“the intruder”). The perception was Oscar’s, and Reeva could not be expected to know what he was perceiving due to her window opening. However, she could be expected to try to make sense of his words. “Get the F— outta my house.”

        The best case is she now believes someone is in the house in a direct confrontation with her boyfriend – but surely more likely, she would think he is panicking over something silly. Perhaps got a fright.

        I have never been in a “situation” where people would rely solely on verbal information overheard and not seek to supplement it by communicating or looking around to find out what is happening. Particularly if they are, quite literally, “in the dark”. Who would put themselves into a corner and not ask a question at such a point?

        But this is exactly what Reeva herself did in his version.

        If she considered the situation dangerous enough to lock the door, what made her think that? Why not whisper through the door to try get his attention and tell him she was going to ring, since, according to himself, she had left while his back was turned, so she would also have known he probably did not realize she was there, therefore would have told him? And said – as it happens “I have my phone, I can indeed ring the police!”?

        On the other hand, if she thought it was Oscar merely panicking, then she could just talk and tell him to stop being silly, it’s nothing, it’s me – i’m in the bathroom. Being an intelligent girl, and knowing she had left the bedroom quietly, she would probably also figure out she never mentioned she was in the bathroom, so call out, “Hey I’m here.” All this would be absolutely expected for two people, especially two lovers, living in a small space together.

        In Siyabonga Mdunge’s case, there was a significant difference, since Mr Mdunge crept up to the bathroom in a stealthy way. He did not utter a sound as he approached. Had he done so, the chances are his wife would have called something out to him before she opened the door and he let off the single bullet. The same applies to these cases with the children being shot during burglaries, perceived or otherwise. The gunman was in each case silent giving no warning of their approach, so the unfortunate relatives never heard his voice, and never spoke up before the invariably single bullet was fired as a door opened suddenly.

        Oscar’s version is different in a number of ways…

        It was rejected strongly by Reeva’s family as out of character to be struck completely dumb “with fear” just because someone shouted a few words from nowhere. They said she would want to get involved and help if there was a situation, and I tend to believe their reading on their own daughter or sister. Even if too scared to talk, she really did have her phone, she really could have started dialing.

        That is, unless there was no time for it before the bullets started.

        If he was lying, he would have no choice except for her to be silent, and to lock the door without him hearing the lock. So we would expect as a matter of course that this is what he would say had happened. But it is a fact her behavior would be really bizarre. It is certainly one of the features which adds to the cumulative level of doubt against his version being real.

        It is one of the links in a chain of arguments which makes his story seem inauthentic.

        There is a legal principle which cautions against drawing an inference from “unusual behavior” too quickly to untruth because “unusual behaviors” as a matter of course do happen. So the only way in which to construct a proper proof out of these kinds of observations would be to keep on hammering each one in turn until there is really no other way to view it except for Oscar lying.

        I do feel people are too hasty to draw inferences in ways which would not meet with approval in most courts of law. That being said, the impression which is formed from enough arguments and observations as above might ultimately be sufficient to reject his version “beyond a reasonable doubt” in the eyes of some other judges. I think it partly depends on the mentality of the judge, hence being something of a lottery which way it would have gone?

      • thisismymoniker
        November 1, 2014

        One way to tackle “testing a version” could be to place the “reasonable man” or “reasonable woman” in Oscar’s and Reeva’s shoes at each point along the way in the version, and then you could note down at each point where it seems quite uncontroversial that the perceptions, words, or actions are unexpected or strange i.e. “not what the so-called ‘reasonable’ person would have thought, said, or done at that point.”.

        Then for each such unexpected or strange aspect which diverges from “reasonable person test” you can make a note whether it is something necessary for the supposed “version” to work – such as missing Reeva before shooting – compared to if it might just be coincidentally strange behavior.

        The “version” will remain possible but the effect of all these “moments” where “unreasonable” things happens is that it becomes less and less “reasonably possibly true”.

        This is different to the type of accident which occurs in spite of everyone behaving more or less “reasonably” or as expected. That also might involve “unlucky coincidences” but it is a different matter if the “unlucky coincidences” are in fact predicated on “unreasonable” behavior or thoughts – and especially if that applies to both participants, Oscar and Reeva, together.

        Perhaps there should be a system a bit like “three strikes and you’re out” only “thirty strikes and you’re almost certainly not telling the truth”.

        At some point the decision of court comes down to a hard choice between believing and disbelieving a defendant. It would in a sense help if they had some more objective means to guide them in that process, though it would never be 100% full proof it would certainly help to offer reassurance that the right decisions were being made in what, after all, is a rather critical matter to get right.

        There was a very laissez-faire and ultimately quite unstructured approach to oscar’s evidence in this case. It would definitely have helped to quantify “reasonable possibility” in the process of establishing a baseline as to the believability of his scenario. And then the other more “concrete” lines of argument would be overlaid and slotted in together with that…

        I’d say once you take away stuff that was probably wrong, and other stuff that wasn’t expanded on or overlooked completely, that it was about 25% argued in court, compared to what could have been argued.

        Who would ever want to send a man to prison for decades if they were wrong? I think until such time as one would sit as a judge and have to make these decisions, the full weight of that responsibility is not apparent. That’s another factor, explaining why “beyond reasonable doubt” leads to a stringent criterion. Much easier to deprive a person of their money in a civil court than to deprive them of their liberty…

      • Nick van der Leek-Photo
        November 2, 2014

        It’s not fair…and according to Trish Taylor, it wasn’t fair to Oscar himself who was buckling under the pressure of keeping up the appearance of being able bodied throughout (ie the appearance of pretending to be who he was not).

      • thisismymoniker
        November 2, 2014

        ‘t’s not fair…and according to Trish Taylor, it wasn’t fair to Oscar himself who was buckling under the pressure ‘

        Completely agree with that. It’s more or less what Prof Schultz said as well. His “evaluation” at the end of the report came out in support of the intruder version, as such, but read between the lines in the rest of the report and there are many alternative theories there…

        I think Roux’s stuff about “emotionally snapping” due to pressure is related as well. So the whole defense effort, whether or not based on being true, is more or less, give him a second chance because he never “meant” for this to happen and was clearly “distraught” afterwards, now has psychological problems, depression etc.

        To some extent i accept there must be psychological issues to shoot someone four times through door like that and be in floods of tears afterwards.

        What seems seriously crazy is the likes of Peet Van Zyl, or the Brazil Olympics promoters, who would have him get straight back in to exactly the same highly pressurized lifestyle, presumably for the benefit of their careers.

        You don’t need to be Einstein to realize it would be a bad idea for Oscar to try to start up again as though nothing had happened except a few moments of “negligence”.

        It isn’t child’s play what happened, it’s a huge, enormous deal, and something that is not going to be fixed overnight.

        Who are they kidding?

      • Jason
        November 3, 2014

        >> If she heard “Phone the police” she would think “What’s up” because she would have to explain what was happening to the police – you cannot just ring them and say “I have been told to ring you but I have no idea what is going on”. Natural human curiosity to understand a “situation” would kick in <<

        TIMM that is a fair point. Personally I will tend not to act unless I understand the situation first. I do this by being quiet and being observant. If the situation allows I will ask questions. So basically Reeva slamming the toilet door shut, locking the door and then being quiet and observant (standing up in a listening position) is consistent with someone trying to work out what the commotion is all about but realising that it is potentially a serious situation.

        Just to add If Reeva did go to toilet for the purpose of going to the toilet and IF OP story is true and IF forensics is true that she had just urinated after being shot and that she hadn't voided her bladder over the floor – then she would have used the toilet between opening the window and slamming closed the toilet door after hearing OP shouting half way up the passageway. She wouldn't have flushed the toilet before being shot and having her blood run into the toilet bowl. So the bowl would contain urine and blood. However because urine is more or less filtered blood – you wouldn't be able to detect the urine.

        From slamming the toilet door closed to listening to being shot dead we are probably talking 10 to 50 seconds.

        Of course this is speculation and OPs testimony would have to be correct.

      • Jason
        November 3, 2014

        Correction

        “if forensics is true that she had just urinated BEFORE being shot”

      • Jason
        November 3, 2014

        >> One way to tackle “testing a version” could be to place the “reasonable man” or “reasonable woman” in Oscar’s and Reeva’s shoes at each point along the way in the version, and then you could note down at each point where it seems quite uncontroversial that the perceptions, words, or actions are unexpected or strange i.e. “not what the so-called ‘reasonable’ person would have thought, said, or done at that point.”. <<

        I like your reasoning and you may be on to something. So you could attach a guessed probability rating to each "node" and then come up with an estimated likelihood of testimony veracity. Once you have an estimated INDIVIDUAL likelihood value then you could begin to incorporate it into some population probability model to estimate a POPULATION likelihood value: how many times this set of circumstances is likely to occur within the population each year … and so forth.

      • thisismymoniker
        November 3, 2014

        @Jason. Just in reply to the “reasonable man” / “reasonable woman” testing idea, well yes, I don’t know as if it could become a numerical model to be fair but it could certainly become a scaffolding for keeping track of “the extent to which the version is not ‘reasonably’ possible”. It seems pointless to have such a phrase as “reasonably possibly true” without considering each component of the idea in turn – how reasonable? how possible? and is it true?

        Glad someone read that.

        It would be subjective judgements, no different to making “factual findings” such as whether a person “diverged significantly from reasonable behaviour” or “just a little bit” – as is normal in a court – but at least it breaks something quite big and complicated – such as a “version of events” – down into manageable pieces.

        It might offer some analysis methods, such as detecting “clusters of suspect claims” and this kind of thing. The specifics would be debated but it certainly might help to provide more of a foundation to a claim that something is not “reasonably possibly true”. Otherwise surely the basis of disagreements in people’s overall impressions (YES/NO) is going to remain a complete mystery?

        I still think the most likely response to “Reeva phone the police” is along the lines “Huh, i’m on the loo, what’s going on”. And “Get the F outta my house.” would most likely cause Reeva to forget all about the thing she heard moments earlier as she tries to process the apparently nonsensical follow-up that seems to actually be directed at herself, considering there is still no sound. The problem, basically, is that these verbal phrases seems sufficient to cause Reeva to “understand” that Oscar believes an intruder has broken in and to “share in his panic”. Well, if you ask me, that’s quite unlikely because a few words could mean anything at all, and most likely, coming out of a context, as they did, it would be more a case of “what the hell is he going on about” rather than “emergency! must stay silent!”.

        Maybe that’s just me but it feels like Reeva would need to be leaping to some pretty big conclusions to fall into line with this version of events as she did rather than to demand explanations to his bizarre shouts in the otherwise silent en suite area of the bedroom.

        Of course, she might have. After all, anything is “possible”. 😉

        OK I am bowing out from debates now so feel free to drop me a line on the email anytime. Maybe write a piece of software called RPTcruncher lol – the follow up to IBM’s AI machine Watson? – replace judges altogether. Ah, I do feel sorry for the people who will be alive in 300 years when this actually is real – and the machine gets it wrong – and then so does the appealing machine. lol. 🙂 🙂

    • thisismymoniker
      October 31, 2014

      ” Of course he did, and who wouldn’t?”

      Many defendants give a full and frank account of circumstances, particularly in the case of things that went tragically wrong and about which they feel guilty. In some cases people even ask to go to prison in order to assuage their guilt or conscience.

      Your argument of “every man for himself” or “self preservation” as you call it as being something that every single person is drawn to, to the greatest extent possible, is not true.

      Though it is common, it is not the way of the world to the extent that you describe. Particularly in the case of a homicide, because someone’s life was wiped out, a family who will never see that person again because of your deeds, i think many people would, in fact, be moved out of respect to tell it like it happened. You can still get mercy for that.

      Otherwise all defendants would lie, and many do in fact plead guilty. They don’t all claim “black outs” or “memory loss” or “temporary sleepwalking” or whatever else…

      You also suggested that defense advocates would be failing their clients by not helping them to get “the best” – and linked this to the notion of “self-preservation” which might involve lying, in order to get “the best”. Well here there is a problem if so: Defense advocates’ code of conduct in many countries requires them not to place before a court things which they know to be false. So they can argue the defendant’s “version”, of course, but if they know as a fact that it is untrue, they are not strictly speaking supposed to represent any lies.

      Truth has a value – it is one of the foundations to a system of ethics? – and your essay appears to weigh it as though it were nothing at all in comparison to self-interest. But if self-interest were higher in value than truth, then perhaps self-interest is also higher in value than for example not stealing or not killing others? Maybe self-interest is the ultimate virtue, in your system?

      I may kill if it helps me to preserve myself, in the sense of acquiring more power? Why not. What’s the difference. Does anything outside of self-interest have a value in your proposed system of ethics, and if so what else has a value?

      • Nick van der Leek-Photo
        November 2, 2014

        Maybe self-interest is the ultimate virtue?
        I may kill if it helps me to preserve myself, in the sense of acquiring more power? Why not. What’s the difference. Does anything outside of self-interest have a value in your proposed system of ethics, and if so what else has a value?
        —well we are evolved as social animal to have an interest in our own survival (every organism does), but to another extent our value in the social game is even more important. Ask an Impala bachelor or a male lion. ask a kid in high school.
        There’s a huge difference in preserving your physical animal life in self defence, and preserving your symbolic ‘image’ existence (ie that social arrangement) by killing someone else. Does that make sense?

      • thisismymoniker
        November 2, 2014

        Yes that makes sense!! One is jockeying for position in the social group the other is warding off an actual existential threat.

        Sometimes people perceive a situation as an existential threat not to their physical selves but just to their emotional selves as well, something they cannot “tolerate” and therefore kill in order to regain a balance in their own broken minds.

        Something like that might be going on in this case.

      • Jason
        November 3, 2014

        >> Does anything outside of self-interest have a value in YOUR proposed system of ethics, and if so what else has a value? <<

        Comment on TIMMs reply to Stephen

        To be fair to Stephen the system of ethics he is describing is based on a form of neo-liberal – social Darwinian – "Adam Smith"iism model and ideal of human behaviour fairly popular in the business and political world. I am not sure that he was advocated it, rather just flagging it up since it does seem to be consistent with the view of the modern neoliberal "consensus". Separate to this I like the idea he raised of an inverse relationship between authoritarian rule and criminal activity. My own view as indicated in my earlier response is that the situation is a little more complex – but I appreciated the idea.

    • thisismymoniker
      October 31, 2014

      P.S. A way for an advocate to get around representing a false version is to always quote the defendant so to say “It is her version that…” – which can be a true statement – even if the version is false. 😉

    • Jason
      November 3, 2014

      >> I suspect most of us would strongly disagree with the kind of retribution under Islamic rule, but that is “normal” for their society, and arguably crime is minimal because of it. <<

      Yes you are of course right to use the qualifier "arguably", because such regimes allow local majorities or local elites or just a handful of influential people to get rid of their rivals by merely making an accusation and then allowing the "justice" system to take over – a justice system often based on authority (position in society) of the accuser rather than "truth". In such societies women are often of least authority and hence are easy prey to the "justice" system. For example a woman raped will likely be executed for "allowing" herself to be raped. Or at least this is how it is often portrayed in the West.

    • juror13
      November 6, 2014

      Stephen, I would like to reply to your original message. I am just now finding the time to do so. I will put your comments in quotes and my responses will be below them.

      “As ignorant and deplorable you think I am for not agreeing with your conclusions of this trial, you must agree that within a working legal system everyone has the right to have someone work for them to minimize their punishment for any crime.”

      I have never called anybody ignorant or deplorable on this blog, so the fact that you would make that statement is actually really disappointing to me. That has never been the spirit of this board.

      And I’m not a fan of you stating that I must agree about anything… however, I am of the belief that everybody is entitled to a defense. But do not mistake that with believing that everybody has a right to minimize their punishment. They are two different things. Are you suggesting that after Oscar intentionally killed a person with four bullets, that he had a right to minimize his punishment? I do not agree with that. From his own acknowledgement, he intentionally armed himself with a loaded weapon and went after the person in that bathroom. He needs to take responsibility for that, not lie and cheat like a god damn coward.

      “The truth is that many are wrongly accused and would otherwise be sentenced wrongfully if they are not properly represented in these trials (this happens anyway, unfortunately). One may argue that the rich get the best side of this and take advantage of the system by utilizing the best attorneys available, and let’s face it, many rich criminals get away with their crimes because of their resources (uh hem OJ). There will always be those who exploit any loophole possible to get the best possible outcome for themselves.”

      I agree with this. The more money, the better chances you have of winning your case. I don’t like it, but it is reality.

      “How many of us have embellished slightly on our tax returns to get the best possible outcome? In the end that is what most people are concerned with…what is best for themselves, not society.”

      Sadly, many do care more about themselves more than society… and that doesn’t make it right! I hope you are not suggesting that lying on your taxes is equivalent to lying about killing somebody? There is nothing remotely equivalent about that comparison.

      “Even though you disagree, there is evidence that supports Oscar’s version of the events.”

      Please tell me what evidence you believe supports his version of events. Let me tell you which evidence does NOT:

      1. Mrs. VDM hearing a woman arguing an hour before the killing
      2. The Stipps seeing a bathroom light on while the terrifying screaming was taking place – PRIOR to the gunshots. There is no way in this lifetime that anybody will ever convince me that the bangs heard after the screams were a wooden bat hitting a door. That is absurd! There is no way that everybody slept thru the gunshots but heard the bat hitting wood.
      3. There is a clear delineation between screams and cries. All of the intense female screaming that was heard was heard prior to that last set of bangs. The bangs silenced that screaming. What came next, according to the defense witnesses was loud crying… and every one of those witnesses identified the crying as coming from a man. Those witnesses knew the difference in voices!
      4. On Oscar’s own version, he did NOT immediately start screaming like a banshee after he fired the shots. He states that he called out to Reeva to call the police and then slowly backed his way out of that bathroom. He set out on a journey thru his supposedly pitch black room with a loaded gun in his hand and hopped over his bed, felt around the curtains, put on his legs, etc, etc… Is that the same thing as screaming your head off as a woman? Not it is not. You need to really think about the scene that he is describing. It does not match up with what those witnesses heard.
      5. Some of the strongest evidence was Mangena’s analysis of the bullet holes in the door. There is CLEAR evidence that there was a pause between bullet one and two (A&B). In a rapid succession of 4 bullets fired, that 2nd bullet would not have missed Reeva. She was down on top of that rack, slightly slumped over when that bullet missed her. The only way for that to happen is there to be a pause after that first shot – EXACTLY WHAT BURGER HEARD AND TESTIFIED ABOUT. We know that Reeva was slumped over in front of the toilet when her head was hit, due to the physical evidence on the toilet lid. To get in to those positions takes time. A rapid fire 4 bullet procession is impossible when you consider the physical evidence. There was a pause after that first shot… Oscar paused and deliberately continued firing 3 more bullets. His story about running around with a loaded gun jumping over beds, running in to doors is absolute bullshit. It’s one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard.

      I’ll stop there. But for the record, I could probably give you a list of about 30 points to illustrate how Oscar’s version is only a version… one that he dreamed up to save his ass. In a simple case of mistaking a person for an intruder, there is NO reason whatsoever for him to lie so deliberately.

      And there was no reason for his brother to steal his phone from the crime scene – which he did! It was verified. Not only did he steal it, he deleted messages and changed the password. That was also verified by the State. The only reason that Carl’s ass isn’t also in jail is because the State cut a deal with the Defense that they would not stand in the way of discovery from the phones. He got very lucky! Why does somebody need to steal evidence and destroy it, if it was just an accident? That is something that I really believe you should take the time to consider.

      There was also no reason for Aimee to steal Reeva’s purse from the crime scene. Just like Carl, she would love the world to believe that they are well intending people but well intending people don’t lie to the world and then preach their Christianity. It’s offensive.

      If the Pistorius clan had some class and dignity, they would have called the Steenkamps that morning to let them know their daughter was dead, before they called Oscar’s defense lawyer. That right there tells me the kind of people that they really are. In an innocent accidental shooting, the first thing they should be concerned with is the victim and the victim’s family… not posturing their legal defenses.

      “Of course, not exactly as he has told them. A respectable legal system must at least consider his side of the story and must at least be open to considering that parts of it are true.”

      Oh, he got a fair trial and his side of the story was heard… the Judge fell for it despite the overwhelming, concrete evidence against him. Anybody who suggests that Oscar did not get a fair trial, did not watch the proceedings. The Defense got away with countless shenanigans… unprepared witnesses with no reports or late reports, non-experts being called to the stand, people who were clearly friends and not objective witnesses… Vergeer, Hartzenberg, Van Zyl, that loony toon woman, Van Schalkwyk who came forward to testify to Oscar crying after being arrested. Seriously??

      Murderers do cry… and they often do it to put on a show and act innocent, or sometimes because they are horrified by their behavior. Jodi Arias cried like a baby after she slit Travis Alexander’s throat, stabbed him almost 30 times and shot him in the head. She cried and cried about being innocent and told ludicrous stories about intruders committing the crime. In the end, physical evidence did her in and what was her next defense… Travis was an abuser and she killed him to defend herself. Yea, the stab wounds in his back that he got while running away are a clear sign that she was defending herself. People that kill are manipulative! Oscar is manipulative.

      “Did he embellish, did he lie, did he exploit what he could for the best possible outcome for himself? Of course he did, and who wouldn’t?”

      I WOULDN’T! First, I wouldn’t kill somebody, but second, if I did sincerely accidentally kill somebody, I wouldn’t fucking lie about it. Sorry about the language, but seriously… to suggest that somebody needs to lie in the wake of an accident is really incredibly naïve. And the fact that you think Oscar needed to minimize his sentence and control the outcome, suggests to me that you think he’s guilty of something. If that is so, are you really honestly ok with him shooting and killing an unidentified person through a door four times? If you are, then I’m afraid we’ve probably reached the end of the discussion.

      “Every person has an innate desire of self preservation, and most will do whatever it takes to ensure that. As horrible as you think it is of Oscar, I can’t be more harsh in judging him because of his attempts of self-preservation.”

      I can, and I will! You bet your ass I’ll be harsh in judging him. He killed a person. If ever there is a time in life to be judged, it’s when you are on the witness stand explaining why you killed a person… especially when it was intentional! It’s not like he accidently dropped a couch on her head – he shot her clear through the head and blew her brains out. I know that is graphic, but that’s the truth of the matter. He knew damn well what those bullets would do. He chose to shoot four of them. Yes, I will judge him for that.

      “That said, I don’t agree with many of the things he did or said; however, he was on trial for killing someone, not on trial for his character.”

      Stephen, come on now. Can you honestly separate the character of a person after they have killed somebody? Beating a dead horse here, but it’s somewhat necessary… He kept a gun loaded with the most lethal bullets possible, at all hours of the day, apparently carrying it on him everywhere he went. He almost blew his friend’s foot off in a packed public restaurant, and dodged responsibility for that because it was an inconvenience for him.

      I believe the reports that he also shot that gun out of the sunroof after being stopped by the police. That is unbelievably dangerous and stupid behavior. The fact that somebody ended up dead is no surprise to me. In addition to that, there were numerous reports of him fighting with people. Is that alone enough reason to convict somebody, of course not. That I will agree with. But when have a very clear escalation of dangerous activity within a 6-9 month span, that escalates in to killing somebody with your gun… you MUST consider his character. To separate the two, I believe, is ignorant. Oscar wants us to use his “fear” and “anxiety” in considering his case so why is it then not equally ok for us to consider his “anger” and “impulsiveness”. You can’t pick and choose what emotions serve you best. They all make up the person that he is.

      “And many of your judgments of him and his testimony are based on your opinion of his character. Comments you’ve made like “he sounds like he’s lying” or “he comes across so guilty” or “he only thinks about himself” are all opinions that you have formed of him based on his demeanor, his appearance, his choice of words.”

      First, I’m not quite sure where you got these quotes. Feel free to point them out to me and I’ll acknowledge. But from what I can recall, I’ve been pretty damn fair on this board. Any time I made comments about him lying, he was lying. Commenting on his guilt is completely appropriate because I believe that according to my understanding of the laws, he was proven guilty. I’m entitled to that opinion based on what I observed in this case… which for the record, I watched every minute of – sometimes 3-4 times over.

      And does he only think about himself? In my opinion, there is evidence that supports that as well. A guy that has a woman secretly stashed away, Jenna Edkins… and cheats on his girlfriends (Samantha and Reeva), is pretty much only thinking about himself. I read the Trish Taylor book and it was a very sincere accounting of their experience with him for a year and a half. He lied, manipulated and cheated them too. Is that a selfish person? Yep, I think so.

      “I know you have been extremely considerate of the evidence in this trial, but you have to admit that your final judgement in this case is based on more than just evidence…it is based on your judgement of his character in situations completely unrelated to the actual event for which he is on trial for.”

      Again… I don’t have to admit to anything I don’t agree with. I have laid out very thorough, well thought-out arguments about why I believe this case has been proven. Do I have emotions about it? Of course I do. I am a human being. But do I think he’s guilty because I don’t like him as a person? Absolutely not. I have more integrity and intelligence than that.

      “If you put yourself in the same situation that you have judged of Oscar, that you got into an argument with your boyfriend, he broke up with you, you were in a jealous, angry rage, and you shot him in cold blood. When you were put on trial for your actions would you not fight for self preservation? Would you not fight for the minimal possible sentence?”

      First… I would never shoot anybody out of rage. Second, if I did, that would make me a murderer and if I were that morally bankrupt that I was a murderer then yes, I would probably lie about it. But hold on a second here… think about what you are suggesting. Are you acknowledging that Oscar killed out of rage and it was acceptable for him to then in turn try to get himself out of it? Your question sure as heck sounds that way. Because killing somebody due to a terribly tragic accident, and killing somebody out of rage, are two completely different things. Do you think that Oscar killed her out of rage? If you do, how can you defend that?

      “Would you not expect your attorneys to fight for this for you? Would you just take full accountability for your actions and say “yes I killed him, now give me the maximum possible sentence.””

      Being 100% honest with you… if I had legitimately thought the person behind the door was an intruder, and my deliberate and reckless actions killed my boyfriend, I would not expect mercy, and I wouldn’t lie about it. Sorry, but not everybody in this world is morally bankrupt. I would hate myself forever. I would tell the family exactly what happened, and I would talk to the State about an acceptable punishment. I would NEVER do what Oscar did… I wouldn’t spit in the fact of the victim’s family and tell them that their son was loved that night when I shot him in the head. That’s bullshit and it’s selfish. No, I would never do that.

      “Given your legal prowess I assume that you have already thought that in the U.S. this type of homicide would be considered voluntary manslaughter…heat of the moment, crime of passion. However in your situation they charged you with first degree murder, premeditated, punishable by execution or life without parole.”

      He was charged appropriately. All you have to do is take 15 minutes with those crime scene photos and fully absorb the reality of that scene. Not one, but two doors with lots of damage, dented and broken items all over the bathroom, clothes strewn about, blood all over the place, a cold, dead woman at the base of the stairs who obviously had been dead longer than what Oscar claimed… telling security that “everything is fine”… calling your friends for help when you have access to all types of security. I would be appalled if he wasn’t charged with Murder regardless if he was in South Africa or the USA.

      “Would you not fight for what the proper charge or conviction should be? Would you not expect your attorneys to fight for a lesser conviction? I believe that you would, and if your attorneys were doing their job properly then they would argue that there was, in fact, no crime at all that occurred. This is a strategic decision, with the hope that they will save you (and you will save yourself through your provided evidence or testimony) and that you do not deserve to be convicted for first degree murder. Maybe I am wrong and that you are truly transcendent. I believe you are a wonderful person, so don’t get me wrong. I just can’t harshly judge someone (Oscar in this case) for trying to use whatever strategy they can in an effort to preserve their livelihood, and I think if you were in the same situation that you wouldn’t just stand up and tell the court to crucify you for what you had done to the fullest extent of the law.”

      We disagree here for the points I listed above. I don’t mean to sound offensive, but I do think you are being incredibly naïve by not allowing yourself to judge somebody who has killed another person. Why do you think think the person presiding over a case is called a “Judge”. It’s a judicial process… if you are not going to take a cold, hard look at the reality of what happened, then I think you are not very interested in the safety or civility of society. It is not acceptable to me that people commit these acts. Our laws do not work if people can kill whomever they want and just walk free.

      “Which, by the way, would immediately give you leniency because of your decision to not cost the legal system millions of dollars in prosecuting you. There’s some irony there. In any trial there is going to be some emotional element to it based on the circumstances and details of the crime. There was recently a man acquitted of murder even though he killed someone and it was clearly murder. However, the person he killed was a drunk driver who killed his family while they were waiting on the side of the road for a tow truck. Most of us look at this and say, that was justice, the drunk driver got what he deserved, not the voluntary manslaughter conviction he was going to get. We say, he deserved to die for his actions because he was irresponsible and it caused the deaths of innocent people. However, if you technically look at the law, it was followed in his case. If you look at the law in the father’s case who shot and killed the drunk driver, it nowhere near followed the law, as he should have technically been convicted of murder. It was premeditated and intentional. You couldn’t even argue that it was a crime of passion. But, he “got away with it” and we all pretty much agree that it was the correct decision in this case. Why was this man allowed to do this? Can you imagine if we were all able to punish those who have directly harmed us to our own standard? Would our society survive like this? Yet, this is what we want, don’t we? We want to see someone pay for their actions. We want to feel retribution.”

      I do not believe in street justice. I believe in our judicial process. And I believe that offenders, who are proven guilty in court, need to be appropriately punished. Five years (of which he’ll likely serve 10 months) is outrageously light. You cannot convince me otherwise on this. It has nothing to do with vengeance and it has nothing to do, again, with not liking Oscar. It’s that I want to live my life freely and not worry about being murdered, or raped, or assaulted because criminals are allowed to roam freely. We all have a right to care about laws being upheld and criminals being put behind bars. Oscar is a criminal. He is a felon. His behavior with that gun is downright terrifying to me. I do not trust that he can control himself moving forward. He belongs in jail.

      “Any normal person feels that people should be punished for their illegal or harmful actions, but the legal system in almost any country is not that cut and dry. You reference Islamic rule and there is some evidence to suggest that crime rates are much lower in these societies. However, how happy are most people living in these societies? Do they really feel freedom? Do they really feel the ability to live their own lives how they choose?”

      For the record, I would never want to live under Islamic rule, nor would Nick… If I may be so bold as to speak on his behalf. He was simply illustrating different means of punishment in other areas of the world. He is not literally suggesting that people should have their hands cut off or faces doused with acid… he is introducing the mental exercise of us really tapping in to what we believe is acceptable when holding people accountable. For those of us who live in humane societies, we absolutely should value our freedoms and fight to uphold them, but that can only happen when we live according to our laws. I feel very strongly that Oscar broke the law and his manipulative means to weasel his way out of it are pretty despicable to me.

      “Do you know how many people have wrongly lost hands because of a lack of proper due process? Do you know how many women have had their faces doused with acid, disfiguring them for the rest of their lives, on the mere suggestion of infidelity without any trial whatsoever? In any society there is a sense of retribution and what that entails for a particular crime and there is certainly a balance between crime, punishment, and freedom. I suspect most of us would strongly disagree with the kind of retribution under Islamic rule, but that is “normal” for their society, and arguably crime is minimal because of it. In legal systems where you give the opportunity for the accused to argue against their charges, then you give them the opportunity to use any means necessary to prove that they are innocent. In legal systems where this opportunity is not given, you end up with oppression and those punished for no crime at all. Of course, none of us ever want to see a murderer or a rapist set free without punishment. Most of us would probably prefer to see these people suffer in the same way they have made their victims and their victims’ families suffer. We also don’t want to see those wrongfully accused spend their lives in jail, and how many reports have we seen of this recently with DNA evidence clearing people who have spent 10, 20, 30 years in prison wrongfully. All we can do is the best we can do…I know, cliche. I don’t have any answers, but you made me think, so this is what you get for it.”

      I’m glad the book, and the blog, has inspired you and others to think and respond. At the end of the day, that is what Nick and I want. We are not begging people to agree with us, we want you to use your own minds and come to your own conclusions. With that said, we will likely disagree with some along the way and we have no qualms about pointing out where we disagree. We both subscribe to the same belief that if you are not passionate about what you are doing in life, and if you are not making your voice heard, then you’re really not living to your full potential. We will both continue to speak passionately about our beliefs on this case, and the ramifications that extend beyond it.

      • Nick van der Leek-Photo
        November 7, 2014

        there was one person, the Stipp’s domestic worker who thought it was a woman crying after the gunshots. And Van der Merwe when she woke up thought a woman was crying, but her husband said, no it’s Oscar. Overall though, Oscar’s version is ridiculous. I think Stephen needs to be quite clear what his motives are. You sell prosthetics, don’t you? Whatever it is you do, can you clarify that, because a bias (as in financial investments etc) will basically undermine anything you say on this forum, so best be clear. Can you do that?

  4. Nick van der Leek-Photo
    October 29, 2014

    well you’re assuming Oscar’s story is true. that he did think there was a burglar in his house. and by using this ‘legitimate’ story he hoped to escape punishment. I don’t believe he thought there was an intruder. I believe he knew it was Reeva and shot through the door to prevent her from making a call that would have ended him…

  5. Jason
    October 30, 2014

    Has anyone tried locking a door in a small cubicle at night with no light and without making a noise when someone is a few metres away listening … without that person hearing any fumbling of the key … Just one of the many issues not to be properly investigated and considered by the police and the court. With such incompetencies how can SA claim to a system of justice …

  6. maggie m
    October 30, 2014

    Got to thinking again about the Tashas restaurant incident in which no one was held accountable for a reckless shooting at the time of the incident. If the owner had pressed charges and there had been a proper investigation done by the police,etc., just maybe this would have helped oscar be more vigilant about his proper and legal use of firearms in the future.Instead no one was held accountable. Now something terrible has happened and this time there needs to be accountability.

  7. jaymes
    October 30, 2014

    Normally a kid will always steal from the cookie jar until caught and punished severely

  8. thisismymoniker
    October 31, 2014

    There’s no correlation between Sh’aria law and crime rate. Norway has one of the most liberal penal systems in the world and the homicide rate is just the same as Malaysia’s.

    Malaysia’s crime rate is around the same as asia and oceania as a whole and these continents straddle countless different political and religious systems – Orthodox Christianity, judaism, islam, hinduism, communism, buddhism, “roman” christianity, “Western”-style society such as New Zealand or Australia. The crime rate in Europe is also low, and that happens to be the most atheistic area of the world.

    I would suggest a more simple explanation for a high crime rate could be a combination of gun laws, political instability, poverty and corruption, in some combination of these four factors…

    I don’t know what the answer is but i’m pretty sure it isn’t cutting off people’s hands – some of those thieves were perhaps starving to death – and with the right rehabilitation, they may have gone on to become an artist, or a craftsman of some kind, which is not possible without a hand. Very much disagree with eye for an eye. There has to be a more intelligent response to human fallibility than that. Particularly in the age of neuroscience and technology!

  9. Claire Matheson
    November 2, 2014

    I think that the problem is with the gun culture in certain countries. I believe that crime rates are higher in countries where guns are readily available and often used in ‘self defense’. Certainly in Oscar’s case having a gun under his bed was strange and unnecessary given the very tight security in his housing complex. Which begs the question: why did he think an intruder had got inside with so much security, his own guard dogs, alarm system, etc. Reeva in the loo is the first thing he should have thought and if not sure, just ask, ‘is that you, reeva?” So sad. It is so hard to believe his story that he didn’t think the obvious. And didn’t wait for a response before firing those 4 fatal shots.

  10. Nick van der Leek-Photo
    November 2, 2014

    as I sincerely do believe it was nothing other than Oscar “sounding like a woman while crying” as Mrs. Van der Merwe expressed it.>>>

    I think you can believe anything you like. You’re allowed to.

    But analysis and evidence and painstaking synthesis of the info and the timeline (as Lisa and I did in Revelations) doesn’t allow us the luxury of ‘beliefs’. It becomes the absolute ‘most likely scenario’. what makes the most sense? And we encourage anyone to improve on it if that will move us closer to ‘the most likely scenario’ of what really happened.

    to take OP’s word when his own fate and income hangs in the balance is like taking the word of someone who keeps cheating on you…someone wants life both ways, and doesn’t want to pay the piper. believing something because we want to believe it is the weakness in your and OP’s argument. accidents do happen. so do intentional acts that we later regret and wish we could change.

    have you heard the reenactment video? because if you close your eyes I don’t think you’d think it was a woman in a million years. Just a little heads-up. When a man confronts an intruder in his home, he doesn’t scream like a woman, he tries to sound intimidating. Also, when someone is dead, you cry. You don’t scream in a shrill voice at the top of your lungs unless you’re playacting.
    You did…listen to Burger’s testimony? Right? You did listen to Burger testify in court?
    Part of your ‘lack of belief’ in my opinion is your lack of imagination. Put yourself in a situation where you are in a dark cubicle and someone is shooting ‘
    get the fuck out of my house’ [different words used in the re-enactment btw] I don’t think you are going not say, “Hey, it’s me in here.” Of course that whole line of useless thinking is based on buying into OP’s bogus version.
    If you consider the context of the evening, and the identities of the two people involved, and what was happening that night, it’s no accident. It was part of a buildup, and Oscar’s inauthentic narrative was finally exposed – and so was he – for who he really he is. That’s why Reeva isn’t here to tell the true story. And that’s why people like you are here telling Oscar’s version. It makes sense if you don’t ever really think about it…in the deeper, darker sense…of what if you were there…would X or Y make sense?
    For example, Stipp and Oscar testified that OP shouted for HELP three times after he shot Reeva. Not before? Why not call for help while you think burglars are in your house?

    • thisismymoniker
      November 2, 2014

      ‘When a man confronts an intruder in his home, he doesn’t scream like a woman’

      The screams were heard after the first bangs, so if the first bangs were the shots, then we haven’t a clue whether he was shouting, crying, screaming, or creeping silently up to the bathroom, before he shot. All the disputed cries comes AFTER the first bangs. If those were the shots, then it has nothing to do with the intruder any more.

      What is wrong with the following option:

      1. He and Reeva were breaking up.
      2. He shot Reeva during the bangs which woke the stipps, and later pretended he shot at an intruder
      3. After shooting during those first bangs, he was crying; and then he cried out and was in floods of tears, and people thought they were listening to a woman e.g. Mrs Van der Merwe thought that.
      4. He broke through the door.
      5. He went into action with the Standers “saving her life” but a quick inspection of the timeline shows this was already too late.

      In other words you can have a break up, without having to say the “late bangs” were the shots. They can first break up, and then he can shoot, and then he can cry loudly. No one ever considers this option, and i don’t understand why not.

      I don’t believe OP’s version about the intruder: At the same time I think Michelle Burger woke up too late to hear Reeva. Make sense?

      • Nick van der Leek-Photo
        November 3, 2014

        Really don’t understand why it’s so hard to believe it was Reeva screaming. You do understand that at the end of the day she was trapped in a dark toilet, and at the end of the day, was shot to death through that toilet door.
        If they were arguing, and it’s almost certain they were, then it’s logical that Reeva would be screaming. It’s 3am and you’re stuck in a toilet with a guy with the gun on the other side?

        so if the first bangs were the shots>>>>>the first bangs weren’t shots. they were Oscar attempting to break down the door with his body and with a bat.

        the shots were shots and all the witnesses were very clear when they heard them. stipp told his wife to get down on the ground.

        I guess you have to imagine the noise difference between firing a gun and hitting a bat on wood. The differences aren’t slight, or not much, or even huge. The difference in loudness is enormous. Have you ever fired a gun?

      • thisismymoniker
        November 3, 2014

        ‘ You do understand that at the end of the day she was trapped in a dark toilet, and at the end of the day, was shot to death through that toilet door.’

        Yep, accept she was shot, but I don’t think it follows because she was in toilet cubicle that she had to be there for ages, or terribly scared for ages. Perhaps a quick chase between them with a “real” door slam.

        Perhaps he shot her expecting she was on the toilet, but she just finished and was standing up to adjust her clothes, so had little warning. It would have minimal difference to his version that; it would explain the shot A.

        Maybe he did really love her and a break up got to him more than he could deal with? But it wouldn’t mean he would be so cruel as to make her scream for minutes on end, surely? I mean – nothing in his character says something that extreme, that we know of, outside of this witness evidence about the female screams.

      • thisismymoniker
        November 3, 2014

        Yep fired guns. Not often, just in some army training courses as a teen. AK-47 and SA-80 mainly. It’s not quite the same.

        Dr. Stipp was woken by bangs “like gun shots”. What were they if they weren’t gun shots? Must have been enough to wake him up. And definitely did sound like shots. Even if it was really bats.

    • thisismymoniker
      November 2, 2014

      ‘You did…listen to Burger’s testimony? Right? You did listen to Burger testify in court?’

      Yep, very much so – and if it was just her evidence, on its own, who would ever doubt it? The problem comes from trying to fit it into a scheme with all the rest of the case evidence and then things aren’t quite so compelling any more. For me, anyway.

      • Nick van der Leek-Photo
        November 3, 2014

        Besides Oscar’s evidence, what doesn’t fit with hers?

      • thisismymoniker
        November 3, 2014

        OK – and I promise this will be my last posting on the timeline EVER. lol. 🙂 Here’s the aspects which ultimately I think outweighs the undoubted powerful emotional testimony as being due to a kind of ghastly, enormous evidential error which ultimately sunk the state case…

        1. The Nhlengethwas live 12 times nearer, a mere 15m from Oscar’s bathroom windows – and match Johnson’s call time around 3:16, both households having been awake long enough for chats, moving around etc and with “helps” shortly before.

        Roux announced as far back as April he would use the phone records to highlight this conflict.

        So we would have to believe that Nel, Andrea Johnson, SAPS etc somehow didn’t think to double check Johnson’s phone time when they knew it would collide with Mike and his wife’s evidence causing a serious problem. Instead, accepting it as “common cause” evidence that he rang at 3:16 and writing this time down in closing HoA, with the shot time as “3:16-3:17”. That was the biggest uncertainty level that the state argued.

        OK – maybe the call was earlier. But then why did no one check this, since they knew Roux’s plan for half a year? I don’t think they are so bad as that – to not even think to double-check if Mr. Johnson may have had a fast clock on his phone so it was really at 3:14 that he called.

        I think Roux asked a question if he checked the time, also, Johnson was a really meticulous sounding man, he was the guy up and about measuring the doors to get a security refit within minutes of the shots. His evidence was very simple and straightforward with not many details. I’d be really surprised if he made such an error to not double-check the time on his phone bill (considering it was going to be in a global trial!). But even more surprised that Nel and SAPS just sailed on regardless and accepted it in their closing arguments.

        In any event: It left the court with no choices remaining but to accept that the call was at 3:16, since both counsels stated it and agreed upon it.

        One could speculate that this is a fault from Nel, SAPS, and Mr. Johnson. But I think it’s much more likely the call was actually at 3:16 since someone would have picked up on it otherwise, as it would massively strengthen the state case for late shots!

        2. A further indication that Nhlengethwas and Johnson rang at same time is both households recall “help help help”s 1-2 minutes beforehand, aside from the detail of the 1st one(+) sounding female, this was actually at around the same time, so might just be the very same collection of helps.

        This would also be consistent with OP’s version. Why is that relevant if he lies? Because he would try to make things match so as not to get caught out, so if he called out a bunch of helps one time, he’d probably put it in the right place in the events? And if he called some more out later, he’d put another set in his story? And if he was trying to pretend a set with Reeva in was all himself, he would DEFINITELY put the group in the right place then.

        3. Which is another problem: If there are two collections of helps, one with Reeva in, and one after the shots that was just OP, then why didn’t he put two collections of helps in his bail?

        4. Dr. Lin’s models: these were computer simulations, based on sound going along line of sight/sound from bathroom open window, to Burger/Johnson open bedroom window. There was also an acoustic barrier because of the toilet door (~25 DB lost), and a few more DB lost (~5) to get into the Burger/Johnson bedroom, since Michelle was sitting on the bed. The rough estimate which Nel gleaned from his report was that if Reeva screamed at around 120 DB then the volume in Burger’s ears would be about 32 DB, which is approximately the volume of a whisper. 120 DB is nearly a world record – in a competition with 1500 screaming entrants in Russia, the highest achieved was 115 DB. Now if she is hearing sounds even “around” that volume, yes you might pick it up in the night sky that’s clear … but can you really tell exactly all the details of the emotions in the cry? This seems very doubtful. Extremely doubtful in fact.

        however, if it was OP, then he isn’t inside a cubicle, so you can add on top 25DB, and this pushes it up to “around” a quiet conversation – talking – you can hear stuff much easier. The power loss due to the door is a factor of 300 – it’s a lot. It might make all the difference between hearing “distress” in a cry and just barely hearing the cry at all.

        But it’s still quiet, right, “talking” volume is not particularly loud – so the confusion between “male cries” and “female cries” is perhaps not so obvious?

        5. Mrs Van der Merwe heard his voice and thought it was a woman crying out. So his voice really did sound like a female at some point soon after shots. This means we can’t fall back on the argument that it is “too ridiculous” to consider it, because something so similar did actually happen.

        6. OK, I know people will categorically reject that a “scream” and a “cry” are the same – but what about those volume tests? This isn’t like a woman screaming next door! It’s 180m away – and from inside a cubicle! It’s quiet! Can you now tell the difference from a scream and cry every time? I’m not sure. I heard wild animals and thought it was people sometimes. You must have done too. And what about the media? The bloodied cricket bats, that was all over the news. So if you thought Reeva had been battered across her head with the bat, explaining the blood in the tabloid pictures, yes, you would definitely believe she was screaming. But … that story was false. So, how much is because people adding their fears on top of what – objectively – they did hear? How much can we then say that a “scream” is not what someone would call a “cry” because they assume she was terrified of the madman with the bat. Only, this could be a huge misapprehension, if it was nothing other than him crying out “sounding like a woman” – no different to what Mrs Van der Merwe thought.

        7. “Fading away”. From the pathologists we know that isn’t possible due to the severe brain injury. It cannot be that the power and coordination to sustain a scream carried on for 2 seconds. The state never proposed any explanations for it. It could be a trick of the memory? It could be echoes? What is the explanation, based on evidence…

        The defence gave a scientific explanation: It was Oscar calming down after breaking through the door. He was alive, so fading away is actually possible and could be a real thing, not a fantasy, or not something unexplained.

        Burger was so convinced the woman was still alive after the shots that she remarked “I hope that poor woman did not see her husband being murdered.” How could Reeva scream after she herself had been shot in the head? Something doesn’t add up there – it implies there was female sounds after the shots IMO.

        Which they since had to try and make sense of as “fading away” – but were not aware the brain injury would make that explanation impossible…

        8. Dr. stipp. He didn’t hear the climax of screams around the 2-3 bangs, despite being 2.5 times nearer. If it was so pronounced, and given Dr. Stipp actually DID hear the bangs – since he told his wife to get back from window – then how did he miss such a striking, overwhelmingly powerful, series of emotional cries.

        I could accept the reason of looking at his phone if he also missed the bangs. However since he did hear the bangs, I don’t understand how he would miss such a strong and obvious thing as “blood-curdling” screams from the windows opposite his house?

        9. The fracture line through bullet hole D: It’s possible that happened by chance, and the state just got unlucky that it made it harder to argue the bats came first, nonetheless, if you only had the door to go on, you would be forced to conclude there was no evidence for bats coming before shots, but there was at least SOME evidence for shots coming before bats. This means there is a little more evidence for shots – then bats. Which if so means it can’t be Reeva making the cries / screams.

        10. Neither of the Stipps saw either Reeva or Oscar in process of heated arguments in the bathroom, despite both of them looking through the brightly lit windows for a number of minutes.

        I believe Oscar capable of shooting his girlfriend, but I don’t believe him the type to maliciously corner her into a cubicle and violently smash the place up while she screams and becomes terrified for several minutes. Also, after the shots he would have to immediately go into action and start flying around very very fast to recover the situation, which suggests he would be highly resourceful between 3:18 and 3:22. But then if he was so resourceful, why didn’t he at least switch off the lights and shut the window before shooting? this would have been a bit of an obvious thing to do because if someone is screaming in your bathroom, do you not think to shut the windows??? I mean, considering how resourceful he was just a couple of minutes after, it just doesn’t really make sense to me.

        Other things, like her not using her phone – or else you have to make that one more complicated too, saying she dropped it outside someplace, then ran out, got it, went back in again. Even more stuff for the Stipps to miss on their balcony.

        Tthe more you think about it, the more complicated the puzzle seems to become in order to fit a case around the perceived screams. I guess this is why Nel never seriously argued any kind of version/sequence with “first bangs” and onwards. I know people would say “it’s circumstantial evidence case” so he doesn’t need to, but well he does need to weave his way through the sequence and offer “most probable” arguments as much as possible, or else Oscar’s highly improbable version will be accepted… not the fine details, of course, but some of these aspects are to big to ignore. To make it as credible as possible I guess.

        Believe me I tried to find a way to weave through the maze of possibilities to imagine dynamics between them between the 2 bangs collections but nothing ever felt right to me, and all those other arguments 1 – 10 is weighing in to say it’s likely to be wrong…

        So that’s my position: I think the shots came first, he cried, he called help, he broke the door. however, to my mind, that tells us absolutely NOTHING about whether he knew Reeva was in cubicle. All the same questions are provoked during the first bangs. There is, however, less evidence of an explicit sadism or tyrannical behaviour, as such. Which, to be fair, would be a good thing.

        Doesn’t June say she is most especially haunted to think about the time Reeva was trapped and screaming? How terrible if that is actually wrong and a giant misrepresentation. So yeah – I will keep arguing my corner on this. Some day I might find the right words to express why it might be real. 😉

  11. Nick van der Leek-Photo
    November 2, 2014

    I don’t know what the answer is but i’m pretty sure it isn’t cutting off people’s hands>>>wow, it seems you’re here to nitpick wherever I’ve made a mistake, and show your superior wisdom? Obviously the answer isn’t cutting off people’s hands. The answer, it seems to me, is in a country where crime is rife, punishment needs to err on the side of harsher punishment if it is to err, not on the side of leniency. Put in more PC terms, do you want your justice system to be a deterrent to crime or not?
    Can you do me a favour? Please don’t post ‘stirrer’ messages that imply I’m advocating we cut off peoples hands. If you want to do that why not quote the ritual mentioned in Transcendence where a couple are killed and roasted. I guess if I wrote it means I’m suggesting we do the same? As I understand it, these ‘arguments’ are really just a pissing contest where someone finds little things to dig at to reveal their superior knowledge. What’s more mature, to my mind anyway, is by finding the areas we agree with, and then looking at the unknowns and trying to figure those out.

    One of the big unknowns for me is Michelle Burger. She never specifically stated that OP cried help after the shots, in facts her testimony seems to imply the opposite. And reporters, I believe, incorrectly understood it that way too. I’d be very keen to interview her and establish this firsthand. It’s not essential, because OP and a state witness have already confirmed the same information, but for reasons of thoroughness, it would be great to have more certainty.

    • thisismymoniker
      November 2, 2014

      Hey Nick, no pissing contest, that post about sh’aria might have sounded a bit combative but that wasn’t the intention, and it settled into a more relaxed… “I don’t know what the answer is…” …which is the bottom line. I’m saying, quite honestly, that i don’t know. I understand you were just posing it as a question rather than your views, so i was giving my counter-arguments why i don’t believe such practices are right. I do have strong views about eye-for-an-eye justice being something we can “get beyond” , but apart from strong feelings about sh’aria, no, there is no stirring going on I promise. The aim of the book was to cause people to think about justice and react? This is a good thing?

      • Nick van der Leek-Photo
        November 4, 2014

        Nhlengethwas >>>didn’t you ever wonder why their testimony was so weak and one-sided, and kinda vague? Oscar may have paid a little sweetener, or Stander offered an incentive…

      • Nick van der Leek-Photo
        November 4, 2014

        I think the shots came first, he cried, he called help, he broke the door. >>>basically agree with you, but there is a danger is saying either A happened or B. Does it have to be either OR? Why not bangs, shots, bangs.. You have seen Lisa’s analysis of the bedroom door which was also bust open, also had a air gun bullet mark on it, and then there is the metal plate. Hence there was a cacophony of bangs, but ultimately, as I say, I agree it culminated in 4 shots, then the cricket bat bangs to break down the door.
        All I can say is Oscar did a damn fine job in fucking up his own crime scene.

      • thisismymoniker
        November 4, 2014

        You make some good points Nick.

        o be sure the bedroom door is yet another coincidence and those are often telling. Reeva locked one door, she might very well have had cause to lock another.

        Re: Nhlengethwas. I did honestly wonder about two things there

        1. Did they hear him swearing and suppress that because of some custom regarding “not getting involved in a neighbours affairs” – what goes on in another man’s house, you don’t “bad mouth”, because it’s his business.
        – i believe this is true in some African traditions
        – because basically i cannot believe Oscar did not let out of a few very audible “F–ks” in addition to “no, please, please, no”.
        – i mean seriously, either way, accident or not, he must have.
        – it was an almighty F up situation and I cannot believe he spoke with the words of a sweet and innocent choir boy at such a point, i just cannot believe that.

        2. I was very curious how Mike answered about the second bangs. He was following the trial therefore knew the importance of those for Oscar’s version. Now he said “no” almost as though mulling over the answer.
        – I felt it was evidence he was quite unbiased he did not try to say “well now you come to mention it there was some disturbance, not exactly bangs, but certainly noises of some sort.”
        – but look at it another way, it could be there was some awareness in the defense camp right from the word go that the state was getting caught up in a misapprehension about the two collections of noises and the cries
        – after all Stander spoke to Stipp, Stander spoke to Mike, Stander spoke to Oldwage … everyone would have known of Stipp’s “error” with 2nd gunshots (if so).
        – this being on “day 1” of investigations
        – and this making a “puzzle that the state cannot solve” (in Uncle A’s terms).
        – so i wonder, Mike’s hearing loss on the bats, well, it did rather invite Nel to dig himself ever deeper into a hole as it might have turned out there.
        – and that aspect does make me wonder, in general, about the hearing loss which occurred.

        But so far as hearing a woman screaming for real, no I don’t believe Mike and wife heard that and pretended they didn’t. It’s too macabre and they are I would assume in general decent enough people to not suppress a testimony like that. I assume in fact they didn’t hear any such “female screams” as being one reason why they might “side with the defense” in terms of believing the state is trying to screw Oscar over and so be, generally speaking, willing to help.

        I have a swirling mass of suspicions regarding most witnesses on both sides of the case…and somewhere in all this murky material, there lies a truth which is probably not featuring any intruders IMO.

    • thisismymoniker
      November 2, 2014

      ‘One of the big unknowns for me is Michelle Burger. She never specifically stated that OP cried help after the shots, in facts her testimony seems to imply the opposite. ‘

      Yep. her testimony implies “help help help (female) help help help (male)” came couple of minutes before the “4 bangs” heard after Mr. Johnson’s phone call.

      So it could be before shots; or it could be before bats.

      One huge unasked question is:

      Did anyone notice if the 3 male helps varied in pitch?

      If Dr. stipp, Mrs. Nhlengethwa, or Carice Stander, were to say, “well yes – the first one was much higher, sounded as though the voice was cracking…” Just can’t shake away Dr. Stipp’s remark they sounded “embarrassed” – what does that mean if not reference to pitch? If one could be confused as a woman, especially the first, then this would really sink the late shots. Perhaps no one can remember at this stage but it would be worth asking people to rack their brains about it if the chance ever comes up.

    • Jason
      November 3, 2014

      Hi Nick, I am certain TIMM’s sharia law & hands cutting off comment was addressed at Stephens comment in which Stephen wrote:

      “I suspect most of us would strongly disagree with the kind of retribution under Islamic rule, but that is “normal” for their society, and arguably crime is minimal because of it”

      • thisismymoniker
        November 3, 2014

        Yeah I just generally have an “issue” with sh’aria at least the physical torture side – even most muslim countries don’t implement those punishments these days … just ignore me lol 🙂

  12. Nick van der Leek-Photo
    November 3, 2014

    I don’t think the ‘varying in pitch’ is a meaningful question. Burger and Stipp both remembered a male voice yelling HELP HELP HELP three times. If memory serves they didn’t say: ‘He yelled help three times.” They said he yelled: Help Help Help. Oscar says the same. It sounds to me like made up shouting. As in, I’ve fucked up and now I have to cover myself by shouting help and making it seem like I’m a victim. So I’ll shout Help Help Help.
    Quick question…in the scenario of a real breakin there is CHAOS. If your shouts for help are genuine, chances are they won’t be 1,2, 3 in a row, no pause, no panic inbetween. I don’t buy it. But it fits in perfectly if his killing was a deliberate act, and then there was a deliberate attempt to cover it up immediately afterwards.
    How to cover up Reeva’s screams? Easy, just say, ‘I scream like a woman…’ Then it becomes my word against the witnesses.

    Believing that is a ridiculous stretch which is why most haven’t. Seems like you do though? You think he screams like a woman? Even when he demonstrated this in his re-enactment.

    • thisismymoniker
      November 3, 2014

      Oh yeah totally – “help help help” – it sounds absolutely staged. Imagine for a moment actually calling that out of a WINDOW lol. Instead of, say, ringing the paramedics – his phone was right next to balcony, in easy reach? – and considering there is a girl, who’s life you will have to account for if it ebbs away, behind a door that could, potentially, be saved. Instead of which you melodramatically cry help three times into the sky. That is something I just find absolutely fake about his version. Why were there no counterarguments in the court room about the meaning and interpretation of the three male helps – that was a shame.

      Compare how quick he got on the phone to his brother and best friend in the boat crash and was able to ring them even as the boat sank and his face was gashed in and bleeding before slipping into a coma for a week.

      But strangely did not have this exact same instinct when it was reeva who had been shot… not for a good many minutes.

      I personally don’t feel one can be in the 0.01% highest achieving group and keep on using “panic” to explain things – first “panic” for the shots, then “panic” for not knowing what to do after the shots, then “panic” for moving her for no apparent reason downstairs, then “panic” for evading certain questions on the stand.

    • thisismymoniker
      November 3, 2014

      P.S. The timing before the second bangs, for calling “helps”, this would have been the hardest thing of all for the state to explain.

      Big risk to draw attention to his property.

      So I think that moment of the “helps” yes, even though it sounds unreal, above all, is probably what swung it for his “version in general”.

  13. thisismymoniker
    November 3, 2014

    FINAL THOUGHT – SOME SLEEPY PHILOSOPHY LOL 🙂

    I feel the intrigue of this case was not only because of Reeva and Oscar being charismatic people, but also the circumstances – the door, the two collections of bangs, the lack of a visible motive – just generates never-ending layers of possibilities, more ambiguous, purely on the facts, than most trials.

    There’s still a place for really reflective and mature pieces such as books, or plays, or music inspired by the events, and this kind of thing. To be sure many people will still feel haunted by it, and feel the outcome of charge and sentence was nothing but the heart ruling instead of the head. And they could be right.

    But how do things stand right now? Oscar is in prison, it’s not a public place, so therefore, he’s not at this point in time a public figure. And we don’t generally spend a lot of energy to track down the exact motives for each and every offender’s behaviours. The same should apply to him.

    Rolf Harris’ appeal failed – just a small thumb nail on BBC website, barely glanced at it. This is normal. What’s the difference?

    Because we need more answers? Why do we need them. The people who may need them are Reeva’s family and friends.

    What I would so love to happen is this: the Steenkamps and he has a confidential meeting and they do learn some of the answers they seek; but no one else outside of small circle of people will ever know therefore what they talked about or how deeply involved they went.

    At last, they can get some privacy – and everyone else, well, it was never our business anyway. So, we can just make do with partial answers and be left to ponder as the years go by.

    If everyone is looking your way. Do you then admit a difficulty? Never willingly. Who is to say what might have become of the 26 second silence “are you sure Mr Pistorius?” without any cameras in that room. We will never know.

    I think sometimes we create the thing we don’t want, it’s like, you try to grab something dancing around in the water but each time you’re forcing it further away. I think it might be a bit like that.

    So, barring private communications (tvtrialdebate@hotmail.com), it’s over and out for me now. Thanks for some nice chats. And I hope you all find a useful purpose for the new found legal skills and insights in the years ahead! Cheerio.

  14. Nick van der Leek-Photo
    November 4, 2014

    Yeah what seemed like an open and shut case ended up having a number of layers. I thought it would all hinge on police incompetence, but the state handled that quite well I thought. And so the defence made Stipp their villain. Arguably he was the state’s best witness.

    Why do we need answers? Because we care about justice, and hopefully, about each other. We don’t care a little, we care a lot. And I guess on some level we realise we’re all in this together, and thus we can all look out for one another.

    I also think it probably resonates on some level with everyone…ito of each our perceived sense of wanting fair play in a world that is hard and often unfair.

    • Jason
      November 4, 2014

      I don’t know whether you have put any future recommendations for the state police in any of your books or whether they would actually be pleased for you to make such suggestions.

      My issue is that it was a killing scene so I assume it should have been assumed to be a crime scene: which meant nothing should have been allowed out of the crime scene at all until everything had been photographed, checked and if necessary withheld. No one should have been allowed to take mobile phones out of that crime scene. They shouldn’t have allowed Reevas bag to be removed, They were just throwing out evidence. Everyone should have been taken away, isolated and questioned. No-one should have been allowed back home to confer etc, That could happen later. Reeva was dead in the house – the police should have started their investigation at the beginning.

    • thisismymoniker
      November 4, 2014

      ‘Why do we need answers? Because we care about justice, and hopefully, about each other. We don’t care a little, we care a lot. And I guess on some level we realise we’re all in this together, and thus we can all look out for one another.’

      I agree with that. It’s a case that isn’t go to go away. Oscar unfortunately has to contend with the fact that Nel his own kind of “bastard” i suppose. Read the appeal papers today: it’s a coruscating assault on all aspects of the judgement, not only legal principles,but “laws of circumstantial evidence” – since in many cases, there were hard and fast arguments, and the judgement did not EVEN provide a viewpoint (e.g. crime scene stuff); so this whole thing might get swept back into the judicial system at square 1 somewhere down the line.

      We also however tend to create bogeymen on which to pin all the dark, terrible stuff in the world, certain cases which become like fixations i guess and into which a lot of emotions are channeled against the “offender”. Yet the justice system itself approaches these people in a different way simply hearing evidence and then ruling as to their fate according to the law. We need to be more impassive i think, although that is difficult, because, like it or not, studies show that “Oscar” in his outpouring of .. whatever .. that caused those shots, could be any one of us. So in reflecting on the propensity to violence, it is also a kind of self-reflection i guess.

      I promised I would head off and I must do so or my promises will be as meaningless as a typical defendant who makes out that the weapon just “slipped” when it went off! 🙂

  15. carryon
    November 4, 2014

    oscar entered a contract when he bought his gun. He agreed to the terms laid out in that contract. When he fired 4 shots through a closed door he broke that contract. Roux tried to prove he was too vulnerable to be held responsible. In that case, Oscar should never have been allowed to purchase the gun in the first place. Sorry, Mr. Roux it was Oscar who agreed to the terms. Disability was not part of the contract he signed.(Now Oscar has to pay for all those legal fees for people brought in to try to get him off the hook )

    Oscar did not act as a reasonable, responsible man. Panicking to the point of not thinking, screaming his head off both before and after, shooting someone who was staying the night with him without even checking on their whereabouts is all extremely odd behavior. How can he prove that is reasonable behavior? Even in his own version that is not reasonable.

  16. Stephen
    November 4, 2014

    Nick et al:
    Stephen it is also based on his track record. I wonder if you have considered the legality, the authenticity or even the honesty of one double amputee dude saying he has the right to compete with able-bodied guys using carbon fibre prosthesis – and that’s fair. Well it’s not. It’s not fair to able-bodied guys because here is a guy running on legs that don’t tire or get injured (beyond safety issues in relays), it’s also not fair to all the other double-amputees who would like the same privilege. What’s so special about Oscar that he should be the exception, and the ONLY exception? What about other, less good looking double amputees? Well then why not just combine Olympics and Paralymics? Because that wouldn’t work. They’re separated so that it can be fair.

    ——-I have considered it, and I disagree with you. Sorry, but I don’t think a double amputee using prosthetic legs provides any physical advantage to him over a “normal” athlete. His fast-twitch muscle fibers still have to activate repeatedly over the given distance faster than a typical person (handicapped or not). Those physical differences from other human beings are things that one must be born with and then must be specifically trained for thousands of hours in order to reach such a high level of athletics. There is much science to this argument, but I won’t bore you with the details of the countless calculations that have gone into disproving your argument, which is not dissimilar to arguments heard many years ago before Oscar started competing in “normal” competitions. Furthermore, I fail to see how this relates or contributes to him feeling that he deserves special treatment or is somehow above the law. As another poster pointed out, his past transgressions, if properly addressed and punished at those times, likely would have taught him some important lessons. Oscar, and nearly every other professional athlete or celebrity, is provided special treatment in many ways which contribute to them feeling like they can do nearly anything they want – free clothes, free drinks, free meals, flights on private jets, getting off of speeding tickets, having access to the other rich and famous people of the world, etc. I highly doubt his being allowed to compete with other “normal” athletes in his sport despite his double-amputee condition contributed to his ego, other than the fact that unlike other amputee-athletes, he possessed the physical ability to actually compete in “normal” competitions. The fact that he was a professional, Olympic-level athlete in and of itself contributes to his self-confidence and ego, as it does with every other professional athlete that I have ever worked with. Knowing that you are in the top 0.01% of your job, sport, hobby, intellect, or any other ability that you possess will always feed self-confidence and ego. How many professional athletes, high-level-politicians, and chief executives at the “top of their games” are caught doing stupid things that make you wonder, “why in the hell would they ever do that?” Many of these people make very similar mistakes in their lives, none of it has to do with being allowed to compete as a double-amputee in a sport against “normal” athletes. See Aaron Hernandez, O.J. Simpson, Anthony Weiner, and Bill Clinton as just a few examples. Bottom line for me is that you are passing judgement of him based on what you feel is an unfair advantage that he was given in his sport and that it contributed to his psyche such that he felt he could kill Reeva and get away with it. Highly improbable.

    Our final judgement on this case is actually based on all the things you mentioned plus very very painstaking reasoning. It is taking the precedent of his previous behaviour, and applying it to this situation. It is also taking into account the context of what was going doing that evening.

    ———-It feels like – and I mean this in the purest form of the word as it is simply an emotion that I possess based on reading your posts – that you are magnifying the evidence that has been presented in this case by some factor based on your judgement of his past. I don’t think this is an appropriate way to judge this case only for this case and the merits of the evidence presented. As TIMM points out repeatedly, there are a lot of holes in the story that the State presents. There are holes in the story you present. None of us know every detail in this case, so we must all speculate to some degree as to what is most plausible according to our own judgement. I am not arguing for OP’s version of events, nor do I feel that they are highly accurate; however, he does present some details which are fact and that must not be ignored in favor of your own speculation, which is fueled by your magnification factor.

    Once you study all the evidence and try to line all of it up, Oscar’s testimony, eye witnesses, timelines…the most likely scenario that emerges is quite different. To you it may seem like the intruder story is the most likely. It’s not, for reasons everyone has said. In the 1-2 minutes it takes to fetch your weapon and approach the intruder, there is time to ask where your loved one is, and get an answer.

    ———I don’t necessarily feel the intruder story is most likely, but as you have done, I put myself in various possible scenarios of that evening and frankly there are many ways that I would have responded in a similar way to OP. It takes me no more than 30 seconds to get out of bed, unlock my gun cabinet, and prepare to shoot. Hate me. Sorry, but I am a different person with (clearly) a very different brain than you which calculates and judges things much differently. We all respond to stress differently and respond to different types of stress differently. I feel the judge actually did a very good job of considering this in her verdict, which I know you disagree with, but she did her job in my opinion very well based on all of the evidence provided.

    If Oscar is to be believed the lights were off and he screamed so loud and for so long Reeva couldn’t have answered or been seen if she tried. But put yourself in Reeva’s shoes. Would you remain absolutely quiet at 3am in the morning while your partner has a gun, and is approaching YOU in the toilet? Really?

    ———Yes, if I thought there was an intruder, then I would stay quiet to hide my location, being that I am essentially trapped in a bathroom with no way out if they find me. Conversely, when presented with a “fight or flight” situation I am the type of person who will fight, I will not run from the threat; however, if I am already cornered then I would absolutely try to hide as long as possible. If I were in an argument with my spouse and she was yelling at me through a door while I was trying to piss, then no I probably wouldn’t yell back then either. Why? Because I’m trying to piss and I can’t comfortably piss and yell at the same time because in order to yell I must activate my diaphragm which causes my urinary sphincter to close; therefore, stopping the flow or urine. And when that happens, that shit burns, so no I wouldn’t yell and piss simultaneously. I also wouldn’t necessarily know that she had a gun because, as the saying goes, I can’t see through a solid wood door with no windows or any way to determine that she has a gun pointed at me ready to shoot. If I did know she had a gun, then I might also not scream at her in an effort to try to calm the situation. Yelling at her would only fuel her anger more, increasing the likelihood that she actually pulls the trigger.

    And that really is what Lisa and I have done. Used facts AND intuition to build the most likely scenario. You’re welcome to test it and improve on it. Many who have think it’s pretty solid. And because the NPA are appealing, there may be more to this case – I believe much more, I believe it was premeditated – than ‘Oscar’s version’.

    ——–I respect your opinion and the theories that you and Lisa have painstakingly provided. At the risk of being overly repetitive, though, I also feel that your intuition and judgement are clouded by things completely unrelated to this particular case. In addition, your focus on some of the details which are really completely irrelevant are indicative of that, in my humble opinion. Your reliance on “soft” evidence such as how much food was in her stomach at the time of death and how that contradicts OP’s version of events is meaningless to me, and I believe was also meaningless to the judge, even after hours and hours of expert testimony on the stupid matter. The science behind it is so difficult to prove one way or the other that it is impossible for anyone really looking at the evidence provided by both sides on the matter, in an unbiased manner, to draw any important conclusions from it. It makes no difference to me if OP is lying about when she last ate or if he can’t properly remember because, to me, it has no bearing on if her murder was actually intentional, premeditated, or accidental. It feels like you are more intent on proving that OP is lying in his testimony or version of events so that you can prove his poor character than you are on if those details are actually critical to the case. I feel like you judge his guilt because he is a self-serving, egocentric, lying ass hole. But just being a lying ass hole doesn’t make you a cold-blooded killer, nor does it in any way contribute to the possibility that you are a killer.

    Anyone who takes the killer of someone’s else as the absolute version of truth is a fool because obviously the killer is going to make himself as harmless and innocent as he can. And that’s Oscar’s story. He was frightened. He was trapped. It’s an inversion of what really happened.

    ——–We certainly agree on this point, at least up to inversion. I don’t think any of us can say 100% that OP has entirely inverted the story from the truth, but I know you have your own opinion and have developed your own theories on what happened that night. As previously stated, I believe nearly any person charged with a crime is going to have their own version of events that paints them in the best possible light. I consider that as I analyze the evidence and testimonies provided. At the end of the day, I try to put myself in the Steenkamp’s position in this case. They are the ones who really need closure and some sense of justice, which ultimately is what I believe we are all looking for in these types of incidents. Despite our differences of opinion on what may have happened that night, I hope that ultimately the proper justice will be or has been served, according to what Reeva’s family needs to feel the retribution that I’m sure they desperately desire and deserve.

    • thisismymoniker
      November 5, 2014

      Just to clarify, I’m not arguing the state case was wrong but only the interpretation on perceived screams followed by shots in region of 3:16. I do believe it was him crying out with the “helps” etc before the door was caved in after 3:16 and that Reeva was fatally wounded before most neighbours ever woke up. So in essence the defense timeline (barring some minor details i guess).

      However after accepting defense timeline we are none the wiser whether he shot knowingly at RS or at “perceived intruder” during first bangs.

      You have to then start all over again and examine everything from scratch through the defense/state lenses and see who is coming out on top.

      In my opinion the intruder is a great stretch of credibility – this being both a gut feeling, and also something I enjoy arguing about. 😉

    • Nick van der Leek-Photo
      November 5, 2014

      Sorry, but I don’t think a double amputee using prosthetic legs provides any physical advantage to him over a “normal” athlete.>>>Well then I suggest you think about it some more. Maybe watch some footage. And maybe do a little research. It’s expected (*by sports scientists) that double amputee runners will soon hold the world record in the 400m. I did this and more very extensive research in my ebook Resurrection. Check it out http://www.amazon.com/Resurrection-Oscar-Pistorius-Murder-Trial-ebook/dp/B00LHJ1WI2/ref=la_B00OW1IC44_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415226267&sr=1-6

    • Nick van der Leek-Photo
      November 5, 2014

      “soft” evidence such as how much food was in her stomach at the time of death and how that contradicts OP’s version of events is meaningless to me>>>>>wow.

  17. Nick van der Leek-Photo
    November 5, 2014

    Just to clarify, I’m not arguing the state case was wrong but only the interpretation on perceived screams followed by shots in region of 3:16. I do believe it was him crying out with the “helps” etc before the door was caved in after 3:16 and that Reeva was fatally wounded before most neighbours ever woke up. So in essence the defense timeline (barring some minor details i guess).
    >>>The state felt they were in a quandary because if they are too specific they can be contradicted, and then their whole case falls flat. And in a case with no direct witnesses (apparently) it may seem as though they can’t speculate…
    I think Nel did a great job, but dropped the ball by being too meticulous about the jeans/fans etc and did not investigate or consider the broader issues such as motive. It may not be a necessary legal point, but as human beings, if you throw away Oscar’s version, you have to replace it with one that makes sense.

    I provided a motive in Resurrection and a trigger in Revelations. In that version, everything fits together.

    It’s a better version than Oscar’s, and it also fits into the small context of Valentine’s Day and the broader arc of both their careers.

    I agree Oscar cried/shouted help before he bashed the door in, immediately after shooting through the door (I guess, on his way to fetch the cricket bat???)

    Reeva was fatally wounded before most neighbours ever woke up>>>I think the state’s 4 best witnesses were basically their first 4 witnesses, Burger, Johnson, Mr and Mrs Stipp. It’s pretty clear to me that they heard the build up to Reeva being shot to death, ie first bangs (Oscar trying to break through the door with his body, maybe a few hits with bat), then gunshots, and then subsequent bat bangs to break through the door.

    Given the cacophony of noise (shots, bangs, people screaming) is it any wonder there is going to be some confusion a year later (or the next morning) as to what was going on?

    I also think the Stipps essentially WERE eyewitnesses. They saw Oscar walking past the window. The saw the lights were on. They heard him shouting and shooting. You’re an eyewitness if you’re 100 metres away or 1 metre away – if you’re looking at the scene of a crime when the crime takes place. And the state could have emphasised this better.

    The defence with a shocker of a shit case were clever in fingering Dr. Stipp as an idiot – they made him their fall guy, when his testimony alone really ought to have sunk Oscar. But I believe the same can be said about Burger.

    ITO speculation, in the Griekquastad murder case, a young boy shot his whole family. No one would believe he would do this, and it did seem unlikely. Though probable given nothing else was stolen. Thus unlikely, but probable. So how do you get around that? The state alleged that the boy, Don Steenkamp, had raped his sister, and then killed everyone to cover up the shame of the rape and perhaps the possibility of being disinherited. His sister did have contusions in her genital area and they were both alone on the farm on the day prior to the shooting. He also blamed intruders, and yet had a laughably implausible and inconsistent version. It still had a chance except cellphone data showed he had clearly lied about the timeline (he wasn’t aware that his mother had sent an sms moments before her death). And thus he was found guilty and sentenced to the maximum. Here the state did well to…even in the complete absence of witnesses (ie 0 witnesses) come up with a likely version that was better and more complete than the boys, who was later convicted of murder, rape and defeating the ends of justice.

    Make sense?

    • thisismymoniker
      November 6, 2014

      “I think Nel did a great job, but dropped the ball by being too meticulous about the jeans/fans etc and did not investigate or consider the broader issues such as motive. It may not be a necessary legal point, but as human beings, if you throw away Oscar’s version, you have to replace it with one that makes sense.”

      Yeah Nel’s strategy was all about deconstructing Oscar’s version of events but not so much about making a narrative in its place, it defaulted to “argument” without being in any way specific. Could definitely add more to that from the circumstances.

      I believe the reason for that is not they couldn’t solve it better or write about it better, but they couldn’t solve it given the case they had settled for, in regard to “late gunshots” being, in my view, wrong. From female screams it would follow that Oscar is a domestic abuser who had a violent tantrum, and that becomes the answer, to the exclusion of everything else.

      It would never be possible to make sense of the events if there was a very big misrepresentation so that those “female screams” were the same thing as the perceived “woman’s cries” (which we already know Oscar made). It is a totally different sequence of events then, and the 4 state witnesses Stipps + Burger/Johnson has to be struck off then, their evidence merely corroborating he was “calling help” and “crying out, emotionally”, prior to breaking the door. They would also help to figure out the latest possible time of the shots themselves.

      But as a result of calling “late bangs” shots, then everything is “mucked up” in my view – even the time of death of Reeva would be out by 5 minutes or so. Everything needs to be reinterpreted then (from shots onwards). All his actions reinterpreted. It’s kind of like the trial didn’t even get going in terms of figuring out what took place because there was so much misinformation flying around. That’s my view actually.

      Nel did a much better job of presenting case before shots, I think.

    • thisismymoniker
      November 6, 2014

      I do believe the “best” state witnesses were the “worst” state witnesses, especially Dr. Burger.

      She effectively sunk the state case because without the 2nd couple there would never have been this push to argue late shots anyway (due to the Nhlengethwas being clearly awake same time as the Stipps – all their lights were on, for example – and Mike went around his house and chatted etc much the same as the Stipps did before phoning at 3:16).

      It even vaguely crossed my mind at one point they could have been paid by the defense to create misinformation in order to keep Nel from focusing on what was, in reality, his best evidence.

      This being the time delay after shots during which Oscar did not do anything constructive to help Reeva.

      I don’t tend to believe it – they didn’t sound the type – but well, if the two of them are in the Caribbean now my suspicions would be aroused more so…

      Why were the state arguing for gunshots at 3:17 or even 3:15 anyway? They had numerous reports of people waking up “around 3” and they could track back through activities in witness statements to work out it must be earlier, they also had additional witnesses such as Christo Menelaou who said he was woken up by the shots at 3:08 (but never called).

      Why did both sides ignore Menelaou?
      The state: Because they wanted the screams after to be Reeva
      The defense: Because 3:08 is 11 minutes before he got around to phoning Stander.

      Rather cynical picture, yes, but there we go!

    • thisismymoniker
      November 6, 2014

      I’d love to know what the NPA currently believes in regard to the screams. They have made no statements about it except what can be gleaned from Nel and from the HoA. I’m positive there must be policemen or lawyers there that have some doubts on that evidence. I recognize it’s not shared by the wider world but, much like Oscar’s version, for me it just “doesn’t add up”. But anyway – i’d better leave it there – everyone will produce their own solutions to the puzzle i guess. Thanks very much for the chats.

    • thisismymoniker
      November 6, 2014

      Nick – should just add – completely agree about the Stipps as “eye witnesses”. Not only from balcony but also Dr. Stipp in person including the observations he made of “rigor mortis”. Some of which was causing Oscar’s version problems in other ways. And worst of all, he was unbiased, since he talked about Oscar’s tears being genuine. This must be why the defense set out to discredit him more than any of the others. Because there was a danger he would be believed in respect of the lights.

      Dr. Stipp is my favourite state witness, followed by Mrs. Van der Merwe. I do think those two could have played a definitive role in building the threads for a circumstantial case. Particularly in Stipp’s case, the “drying out” of right cornea and onset of rigor mortis at 3:27 – which to my mind implies gunshots 15-20 minutes before.

      Oscar became quite defensive about Stipp’s medical expertise, perhaps due to a concern about those things Stipp saw being used to make inferences that Reeva died before he ever rang Stander.

      Christo Menelaou would be the other one that might have been productively called – with a waking time of 3:08 – this could tie in with others’ timelines, and the “rigor mortis”. After that the Nhelgethwas, as state witnesses, to attest to Oscar’s initial silence and then “extreme emotionality” after firing the shots up to and around the second bangs heard by Stipp and his wife. Also to attest to the fact they never heard him calling out Reeva’s name…

      This feels like “fantasy football league” lol where you pick your best witnesses to make a fantasy case out of – anyway those would be mine… 😉

      • thisismymoniker
        November 6, 2014

        Although if Nhelengethwas were called before Oscar’s there’s a possibility he wouldn’t have used the exact words “Get the F— outta my house” in his cross-exam. He might just have said “Get out”. So there was quite a decent reason for leaving them. Which suggests perhaps accused in these cases should take the stand right at the start, so we don’t have this kind of difficulty of the prosecution needing to choose between calling a decent witness they are interested in … and guarding against possibility of defendant to tailor their version more. Put the X-exam up front, start of the trial, and then do state case, then rest of defense? Can’t really see why not. After all, the defendant DID kill someone in these matters. Is it too much to ask them to explain that without the benefit of hearing half the witnesses?

  18. Stephen
    November 6, 2014

    Again Nick, your focus is misguided. Arguing over the physics and biomechanics of prosthetics has absolutely nothing to do with this case. However, you have formulated your opinion of OP based on this. I think this is irresponsible. If other amputees were able to compete on the same level as OP with the same equipment then they would have been doing so. His looks didn’t get him there, his physical abilities and his willingness to train like a professional athlete did. If you were to read all of the data that exists on prosthetics and the use of them in competition and process it in an unbiased manner, instead of picking through it to find data that supports your theories, then you would find overwhelmingly that there is no unfair advantage provided by prosthetics. Having a PhD in biomechanics from Stanford University, I am pretty confident that I have a stronger ability to process the data that is available on this subject, and I have read plenty of articles on both sides of the argument. However, given my background and more than 20 years in the world of prosthetics I am able to sift through the bullshit information that is out there, which is what you are gripping to so tightly in an effort to prove your point that Oscar is an ass. I think it would behoove you to take the time to consider the argument I presented of professional athletes and celebrities having a much greater sense of entitlement than the average person instead of relying on bullshit biomechanical data that you likely have very little ability to correctly interpret. Frankly, to most rational people, it doesn’t matter if OP is an ass, or feels entitled, or is provided unfair benefits due to his handicap. None of these have any value as an argument that he is a cold-blooded killer. Conversely, him being an amputee and him having a physical disadvantage making him vulnerable compared to “normal” people holds much more argumentative value in this particular case.

    On the topic of “soft” evidence, once again, you fail to see the point. I provided an example and your apparent view of me as ignorant for not agreeing with your version of events is further proof that you hear what you want to hear and read what you want to read. There was plenty of solid, scientific data provided by both the defense and the prosecution regarding food degradation rates. My point being that if one is put in the position to figure out which side is more accurate, more truthful, more scientifically relevant, they will likely be split roughly down the middle of the two arguments, rendering the information as meaningless to the final conclusions drawn in the case.

    Just to reiterate, I do not support OP’s version of events; however, I also don’t support the state’s version of events. Both sides were magnifying certain elements of their stories in order to get the outcome they wanted in the trial. Typical legal strategy. Neither version is 100% accurate, and neither is yours. Maybe you should be more willing to accept some constructive criticism of your points of view so that you can improve upon them and make bulletproof arguments for your version of events. You fail to do so. If you have the ability to see how others question your views then you have the opportunity to answer their questions and eliminate their doubts before they have a chance to form them.

    • Jason
      November 7, 2014

      The Standard procedure to estimate time of last meal is to open up the stomach AND the duodenum to see how far the meal has progressed down the digestive tract. Unfortunately the post mortem didn’t do this suggesting they weren’t interested in estimating the time of the last meal during post mortem and only thought about it post post mortem.

    • Nick van der Leek-Photo
      November 7, 2014

      Again Nick, your focus is misguided. Arguing over the physics and biomechanics of prosthetics has absolutely nothing to do with this case. >>>Oh….oh wow. Oh. [Stunned silence].

  19. carryon
    November 6, 2014

    Thanks for your insight thisismymoniker on dr.stipp’s evidence.

    Too bad Nel brushed over what happened after reeva died. WHEN Reeva died is crucial. Stipp’s evidence suggesting her death was atleast 15 min before does not look good for Oscar. Why did he wait so long to make the first phone call? Was he pretending to help Reeva when he knew she had been dead for sometime?

    I have also wondered about Oscar admitting that he had been listening carefully to all the witnesses so that he could reconstruct his case.

    There are so many loose strands, but I am beginning to think that the screams are not crucial to the case. Why didn’t Oscar try to get medical help immediately is, His comment to security that ‘everything is fine’ is also very damning for him. He never had a good explanation for saying that.

    • thisismymoniker
      November 7, 2014

      ‘WHEN Reeva died is crucial.’

      Absolutely. No.1 priority should be figure out gunshot times & then estimate rough time and place of death. Otherwise can’t make any sense of whether Oscar’s actions are innocent or suspect (or how much so).

      I should add that in “normal death” zero cases of corneal clouding would be noted 15 minutes after death (out of hundreds of patients). Between 15-30 minutes, a few cases would be noted. Thereafter the numbers increases, with most eyes clouding beyond around 2 hours post-mortem. But this was not a “normal death”: It was a death sustained by severe gunshot injuries, leading to massive rapid blood loss and severe trauma to the brain and skull. For this reason to make an inference about the time of death from “corneal clouding” and “clenched jaw” on its own would not be reliable. However, what one can say is that in “normal death” it is never quicker than 15 minutes. So it is unlikely such a symptom presented even in a “violent death” if, as Oscar says, Reeva “died in his arms” when Stipp arrived. This would in effect be to say that the corneal clouding appeared instantly upon death, which sounds highly unlikely.

      The time of the gunshots is critical to figuring out the average rates for all the other physiological phenomena and how this ties in to Oscar’s activities, for which there are quite a few known time points.

      To recap the evidence for “time of gunshots” (and I’m here only dealing with the “first bangs” as there are other arguments already written above as to why in my view the “second bangs” are probably the bats, and probably at around 3:17):

      Oscar – “i fired 4 times at door” – had “amnesia” afterwards
      Mrs Van der Merwe: 4 bangs – “around 3”
      Security guards: 4 rifle shots – “around 3”
      Annette Stipp: 3 bangs – “sometime after 3:02 on fast clock”
      Mrs Nhlengethwa: “A loud bang” – unknown minutes before 3:16:13
      Mr Johnson – estimates cries after shots from ~3:12 onwards
      Menelaou (not called) – 3 “thunder claps” – at 3:08

      Christo Menelaou wasn’t called but made this remark spontaneously to a newspaper in days after shots. He was also a very good friend of Oscar’s and was the last person to take a photo of Oscar and Reeva together a few days before her death. He also met Oscar in the days after and relates him saying “I’m sorry” over and over again. So he would never have an interest to frame Oscar, which i think, makes his spontaneous 3:08 more interesting.

      It’s clear from the 7 witness sets that 3:08 could be correct. This might just be the answer (+/- couple mins if the clock was out a little). 3:08 is consistent with “around 3”, whereas the time suggested in the judgement of 3:13-3:14 seems far to late, wouldn’t people be saying “around quarter past 3” if that was so? And what of Menelaou’s time point, would his clock be 6 minutes slow? And Mr. Johnson’s estimate, also 2 minutes out? And could the Nhlengethwas and Stipps really do all the things they said they did in 2 minutes before calling security numbers? 3:14 seems like a very bad estimate, based on no data at all, and actually running contrary to data.

      It was not suggested by either defense or state counsel. So what is this made up number 3:13-3:14 doing in the judgement? It is concerning because the judgement then builds the made up numbers into credibility claims for Oscar’s version – “he acted promptly” – and clearly the meaning of the word “prompt” depends on the time of the gunshots, which the judgement made up. So the judgement manufactured data, without any explanation, and against witness evidence, then commented that this data is part of what supports his version.

      It’s not the only such biased deviation from evidence. Take for example the quote “get the F—- outta my house”, which is at odds with the timid man fearfully approaching the bathroom. In the judgement, the quote is reworded to a more polite “Get out”, with quotation marks so it should be verbatim – but it isn’t.

      Anyway, I digress… but 3:08 is certainly a possibility. There must be others that woke up to the loudest bangs that morning, witnesses who lived too far to hear anything else so were not called. What times do they recall? If all these time points cluster around 3:08-3:10 then it would, at least, allow to trace back and make calculations on when Reeva probably died, and what physical signs Oscar would have seen at certain points. For example, by 3:17, there is clearly no chance of her breathing, there may be a chance for a very faint heartbeat, but this would certainly not be present beyond 3:19…

      Also the vast majority of the blood is in the toilet cubicle, suggesting she had little in the way of vital signs or arterial blood movement after that, as we have but faint traces and spots elsewhere, which can be flicked from hands, hair, or drip patterns. In terms of volume of blood, it is obvious she spent most of the time during which bleeding in the toilet cubicle. I don’t know how long it would take to drain to that extent from those injuries but again, 3 minutes (from 3:14) sounds like a short time to me. That is, before Oscar moves her onto the bathroom towels.

      Certainly, his impression – or claim – that “she was breathing again” after 3:17 is wrong. The arterial S-shape, so-called, on the stairwell wall is a red herring as, if she had active arteries then, they would be spraying many more S-shapes onto the carpet etc. That appears to be the only one. Pictures of those “arterial spurt” patterns involve thick, thick blood normally. Not just a few spots. Her long hair could certainly have flicked spots into an s-shape pattern.

      There is almost no blood downstairs in the hall, consistent with Stipp’s observations that she was clearly mortally wounded. So taking it all together, I’m convinced she died in the bathroom before Stander was called.

      Another slight clue to the shot time being relatively early, say 3:08-3:10, is that Oscar himself claims he “cannot remember much of” that period between shots and bats. Sudden onset amnesia which then goes away just as quickly after sounds like a classic way to explain a loss of time to me!! lol 😉

      • thisismymoniker
        November 7, 2014

        P.S. Sorry – can’t be exactly sure when “faint heart beat” would stop. I assume there was some after 3:17 as why would he place Reeva on towels if there were no vital signs at all. Not breathing, we know that. We can’t say exactly when heart stopped, but it was unlikely to be beating beyond 5 minutes from shots anyway. Considering the massive blood loss, brain injury, and lack of breathing, it seems quite impossible that the pulse would be present after 3;19, 3:20, 3:21 calls….

  20. Stephen
    November 6, 2014

    He may have thought he could save her, or with help from his friends, save her. Get her into a car quickly and quickly get to a hospital for help. I believe, though, that he was trying to avoid the immense exposure from happening, which he was correct about. I don’t believe he was trying to cover up what happened per se, but was possibly already thinking about how this was going to make him look, affect his image and his future. Yes, despicable for him to be thinking about himself at a time like that, but not unlikely, and also not an indication of malicious intent.

    I also think his “everything is fine” statement looks very bad for him, but doesn’t necessarily imply guilt. Pompous and arrogant of him, he probably thought he could limit negative exposure of himself and the incident if he limited the number of people who got involved, especially those not in his pocketbook such as security, police, media. I believe he was concerned about his image at that point, which again makes him look like an ass but doesn’t mean that he purposely, maliciously killed Reeva. If he were to admit that he was trying to avoid security from coming to the house then it makes him look worse than he already does, so unlikely that he would ever fess up to that, especially during trial.

    • thisismymoniker
      November 7, 2014

      Yeah but isn’t it the “cluster of suspect activities”, taken as a whole, which makes the intruder accident extremely unlikely. I have no doubt you can take any one piece of the incident which appears suspect and find an alternative explanation for that one piece … but then you take them all together, and have to repeat the same procedure of finding alternative ways to look at it, at that state, I’m not sure it’s the correct reasoning method for a circumstantial case. For example, to ignore the ballistics as a mere “accident” involves accepting a low probability event – which is fine, but must keep a note of that. And then onto the next thing – again, if intruder is not looking good, you have to keep a note of that too. And at some point, is it acceptable to keep on seeking alternative explanations for individual “parts” of the sequence, outside of an explanation which solves the whole collection of anomalies and “suspicions” in one go? Ultimately, I suppose the arguments have to be organized across all the different themes of the case, and working through the whole sequence of “facts” and “inferences” from start to end as to whether there remains some “reasonably possibility” – whatever that means – for Oscar’s story. I agree there is certainly a possibility, I’m less persuaded that it is a reasonable one…

    • thisismymoniker
      November 7, 2014

      Did you notice the judgement skipped over “everything is fine” – it mentioned he was crying in the 9 second call as evidence for his version, but omitted without even a comment what he said when they called back. The case is not isolated.

  21. Jason
    November 7, 2014

    This case is over barring the appeal. Everything that needs to be said about the case has been said. Next is to consider how the Police and State could have done better, areas that should have been looked into further, data that could have been better analysed, data not analysed that should have been.

    I think it has been established that the police should have locked down the scene – treating it as a potential crime scene immediately. Not allowing anyone out before being searched for items, not allowing any items from the house removed, separating and getting witness statements there and then.

    It seems to me that TIMM has identified the importance of establishing the timeline following the actual shooting especially in the earlier shooting scenario.

    I think it has been identified by many that the movement of the gun should have been pinned down as far as possible. After firing the gun would have residue all over it especially around the nozzle area. This residue could be traced wherever Oscar put the gun down or rested it. What effort was made in forensically tracing the movement of the gun after it had been fired?

    Now Reeva’s blood. Could better use have been made with the distribution of blood to estimate how long Reeva was in the toilet.

    When did that blood first transfer over to Oscar?

    Could Oscars movements post him being in contact with Reeva’s blood be traced?

    All Oscars movements between him shooting Reeva through the door and him breaking through the door to get at Reeva would not be marked by Reeva’s blood.

    All his movements after he was in contact with Reeva’s blood would be marked by Reeva’s blood.

    According to Oscar’s testimony, there should have been ONE trail of blood from the toilet to downstairs as he carried Reeva’s body downstairs – there should have been no other blood trails at that time. He broke the door down, found the key, unlocked the door, grappled with Reeva, lifted her up, took her out of the bathroom down the corridor, out of the bedroom, down some of the stairs … and this was when the first witnesses appeared …

    All other blood trails left by Oscar and left by Oscar alone and not carrying Reeva’s body should have occurred AFTERWARDS – AFTER the witnesses had arrived into the house.

    The blood trails are hence a potentially critical piece of information.

    • Jason
      November 7, 2014

      So according to OPs testimony the blood over the duvet, the blood over the jeans etc etc could have ONLY occurred AFTER the witnesses had arrived in his house and WHEN he went back into the his bedroom – which I believe he went back on his own – he was in the bedroom all by himself with the witnesses downstairs attending to dead Reeva etc?

      As far as I can recall I don’t think this was ever specifically mentioned in Nels cross examination with OP – it seems to me that Nel was assuming that OP had got bloodied before OP could have been bloodied. I can’t seem to remember what OP said.

      • Jason
        November 7, 2014

        Basically OP should have replied he wasn’t bloodied at the time. If he didn’t say that it would suggest he was reconstructing – making it up – because according to OPs testimony he would not have had Reeva’s blood all over him when he went back into the bedroom to look for Reeva, to go onto the balcony to shout help help etc.

      • thisismymoniker
        November 7, 2014

        ‘All Oscars movements between him shooting Reeva through the door and him breaking through the door to get at Reeva would not be marked by Reeva’s blood.

        All his movements after he was in contact with Reeva’s blood would be marked by Reeva’s blood.

        According to Oscar’s testimony, there should have been ONE trail of blood from the toilet to downstairs as he carried Reeva’s body downstairs ‘

        Problem. After breaking the door he did not immediately move Reeva. He carried on moving around the place for 6 minutes before Standers arrived. Including a trip downstairs to open door, and also to get his mobile, one from bedroom, perhaps the other from downstairs. He was moving around lots so plenty of chances after picking up Reeva – and placing her on towels in bathroom – to leave smears or fresh blood droplets in bedroom area.

        Also he couldn’t have created more blood patterns later because the blood on his hands would have dried out i think, so no spatter!

      • Jason
        November 7, 2014

        So after breaking the door down and seeing her there and immersing his body in Reeva’s blood – he didn’t try to save her life for six minutes? Didn’t call an ambulance during those six minutes? Are you really sure that was OP’s testimony? That in itself would seem to be incriminating?

      • thisismymoniker
        November 8, 2014

        @Jason. He did call Netcare at 3:20 some 3 minutes after breaking the door. But there is a puzzle with this call since he gives it as the reason for moving reeva, in order to drive to hospital “because it would be faster”, so it was an operator who told him to do this. The only trouble with that explanation is he was already talking to Stander about moving her downstairs at 3:19, basically, the moving plan was actually his own, and we never heard the reason why he thought to do it independently of Netcare. The fact a nurse 1 minute later then apparently told him to carry on doing the exact same (very dangerous) thing is another unsettling coincidence. We never heard that call in court. Doesn’t really matter what was in it. It’s more that he was already moving her, and keen to make that more well explained, said NetCare told him to: But it was already something he had started doing. This detail was never picked up in court.

        As far as the ambulance calls goes in general, after shots, say, at 3:12 for sake of argument:

        (1) There’s 5 mins with no ambulance call, although he does call “help help help” during this time, but the phone is right there
        – throughout this time he surely knows Reeva has been shot but is unable to see what condition she is in behind the door. She may have yet been able to be saved, as far as he would know. So it’s pretty weird to not get the professionals coming to help as this could be the difference between life or death for Reeva.

        When he had his own accident, on the boat, while losing consciousness, he managed to call both brother and a best friend in those precious seconds, for example. And this would be much more normal. Even more so one might imagine when it is another person, and you do not know them very well so have a significant responsibility to try to correct your huge mistake?

        I think the opposite to “breaking down” would happen (because it’s someone else’s life on the line). I think you would become incredibly focused at such a time. And especially someone like Oscar. People can push on through far more stressful experiences, and they do so, especially if it means someone else’s life might be saved.

        So i find “help help help” a bit underwhelming tbh. Also not yelling “FRANK FRANK – COME UPSTAIRS I NEED HELP”.

        (2) After breaking the door, he says he picked up Reeva’s phone “to call emergency – but couldn’t”. So he placed it on the bath floor. Now, question is, is he just saying that to explain why he picked up the phone at all?

        (3) Because by now he’s on prosthetics, and the bedroom is a few metres away, and it’s actually another few minutes before he does ring NetCare. I would expect it to be 30 seconds between checking Reeva’s phone, failing, and going to get his own – not a couple of minutes.

        (4) He also remarks, strangely, that he sat and held her for some time – this would make sense if he knew she was dead i guess, wouldn’t it. And he must have known that there was no way for her to survive such dreadful injuries. He must have known that. So there might have been a genuine “tenderness” there, and regret, as with the bath towels. But this then creates a difficulty as to how to interpret the CPR activities down stairs…

        (5) So 3:12 to 3:19 isn’t very well explained. At 3:19 he is resolved to move her downstairs and meet Stander. From 3:19 to 3:20 we don’t really know why he’s doing this, as it was his idea.

        (6) From 3:20 NetCare kicks in as the explanation for why the moving is happening, and this “covers” why no ambulance is coming until the Standers arrive – because he was told to drive.

        (7) When the Standers arrive, Stander snr blocks the plan for driving after seeing how bad Reeva’s injuries are. The Standers had been expecting to drive with Reeva – or at least help – but perhaps did not expect to see her so severely injured as she was. Oscar never mentioned to Stander on the phone that he should be calling an ambulance. This would make no sense because at that stage in the version Oscar is expecting to drive (just before he speaks to NetCare and is told not to wait).

        (8) But then Oscar said in his evidence that the Standers “told him” an ambulance was on the way (when they arrived). The Standers never testified that however. but this covers the next interval of time? So now this explains why from 3:22 to 3:27 there is still no ambulance coming. Just Oscar and Carice doing “CPR” downstairs – mainly him giving her instructions, and bless her, she did really try to help I believe (despite being scared witless i would imagine!).

        (9) Then finally Stipp arrives and now by sheer coincidence Reeva does “die in his arms”. But this 3:27, which is 15 minutes after she was shot?? That makes no sense at all. So what’s going on. Oscar thought she was alive when she wasn’t? He also thought she was breathing after 3:17 but that is also impossible. Similarly, he remembers the magazine rack in the wrong place, so it’s all pretty unreliable. Due to stress? I find that strange, because these things would be very vivid. It’s not as if he says he “wasn’t sure if she was alive”. He actually says exactly when she “died in his arms”. Why did he think that if it wasn’t possible at all? One explanation could be that Stipp was a doctor, inspected the rigor mortis and cloudy cornea, hallmarks of death. So all this business with CPR with Carice then clearly there was no way to continue it.

        (10) And now finally the ambulance is called – by Stipp!

        But if you work through from 3:12 until 3:27 you would discover there is really no actual period of time here where the reasons given for why ambulances aren’t being called stack up, well in my opinion anyway.

        I don’t think there is much likelihood of the life saving being innocently unaware that reeva must already have died. This is actually probably one of the key arguments which causes me not to believe the intruder version. But of course, even if it is correct, the details all disappeared under a load of “terrified screams”…

        The trickiest moment for the state to explain is why he would risk calling “help help help” drawing attention to property PRIOR to seeing in what condition Reeva actually was, for example, because she might have come around – so if the state says he did shoot her with intent, why the heck was he waking up the neighbourhood before he gets back “in control” of situation (by breaking door)?

        I’ll leave u to ponder over that one! 🙂

      • thisismymoniker
        November 8, 2014

        @Jason. I also found his description of breaking into cubicle and everything after that as very emotionally remote – more like a list of tasks, and absolutely weird was the moment where “reeva did in his arms” when despite the trembling voice he managed to list quite a lot of criticisms of Dr. Stipp: The doctor was “overwhelmed”, “didn’t seem to know what to do”, “everything he said i was already doing”, and when Stipp walked outside to talk to Standers, Oscar “called out for him to come back, but…”. He just stops right there, on the word but. Well you can fill in the blanks to that sentence easily enough: “but he didn’t come back.” Implication: Stipp did not really care that Oscar was calling out for help. Maybe i am overinterpreting but i find it rather strange that he would be considering Stipp AT ALL really let alone in that manner, and certainly, as anything less than a GOOD GUY – because Stipp was the person who finally called an ambulance for Reeva. It’s funny how Stipp testified to Oscar’s genuine distress, with real tears, but this was reciprocated by criticisms. And isn’t the context of the criticisms strange: This is the moment when Reeva “died in his arms”. But there just wasn’t any emotions! Same for describing seeing her upstairs for first time. Very listless in the telling IMO.

        Compare all that to how emotional he got when talking about the shots, every single time, and also, the shout before the shots. He was absolutely hysterical in “reliving that”. As Masipa says in the judgement, it would be “traumatic to relive it” – and that is surely true. But why is the period from 3:17 to 3:27 relatively void of emotions, considering this was direct intimacy with Reeva as she died? Yet, the shots provoke such significant emotions although they were fired relatively “coldly” in a state described as “fear” and accompanied by no sounds of any kind from inside the cubicle. There were no physical sensations which might be “replayed” to create the basis for a trauma. Surely the door slam and the movement cannot provoke such emotions? There was no scream – we have been told that many times. So why is it so upsetting to talk through that sequence. There is an obvious answer to that, perhaps, in the sense of how his “emotional” memories give way to more “rational” thinking as you move through the sequence from 3:12 to 3:17 and thereafter.

        This doesn’t altogether fit well with the intruder though, because I’m quite sure he only felt a kind of cold and fearful hostility in regard to the intruder. It’s not like he heard the intruder being injured in any way. I think a psychologist would probably conclude that the “locus” of the trauma in his PTSD, or alternatively, the “stressor” for the “adjustment disorder” (apart from trial), is more likely to be the shots, and less likely to be the breaking down of the door, or the moments Reeva died.

        Similarly there is a lack of warmth when he is talking about other moments that should be more significant to him IMO: His final words exchanged with Reeva on the bed, the last time he caught a glimpse of her before terrible accident. He seems to be more concerned to argue with Nel that the range of times she left bedroom was as large as possible, rather than doing what would probably be more natural, which is to have spent most of the year trying to work out exactly when she left – she was his loved one, he would surely want to know e.g. was it when he moved the fans? was it when he closed the blinds? Wouldn’t you be trying to figure this out? Talking to Nel it sounded like he mainly concerned with proving it could have happened in the biggest possible interval of times. I find all these aspects quite inauthentic.

        It might not seem that important to miss the “door slam” out of the bail hearing, but such a critical moment in the accident and this final “action” by Reeva before he shot in this terrible error he made: Surely it would be something you would replay and replay and replay and obsess over and over. It’s in that context I thing the omissions – of the chat, the glimpse of her legs, the door slam – are all much more significant really. Because they all concern Reeva herself and i think the human mind would be desperately trying to grasp hold of all those kinds of moments and piece them together and therefore would not miss out significant words or actions in the way in which his bail did so. Roux called the chat etc “minor details” but i don’t agree. Only when viewed “formally” are they minor: When viewed on a human level, they are very major details.

        That is my view anyway: Of course, it’s possible he’s just quite an unemotional and overly logical guy. But then we run into the problem of just how emotional he obviously became about the shout and the shots and so forth. I do so wish we had had the benefit of a psychiatrist to work through step by step the significance of all these little moments, and contextualize what would strike them as strange. I wish after Weskoppies that Nel had called Schultz and also maybe Carla Kotze so that these matters could be discussed properly. It could have given some fresh insight to the panel, at least, got them thinking about what it all means/shows. Oh well.

      • Jason
        November 9, 2014

        TIMM @ 10:25 am : thanks so Stipp arrived 3:27 am not 3:22 am, but first witnesses arrive at house 3:22 (Standers).

        There is certainly evidence that OP was having a lot running through his head during this period (from shooting through the door to taking Reeva down the stairs) and not all of it with the welfare of Reeva as primary focus.

        There seems to be some delaying, checking, searching behaviour involved in addition to trying to drag some people in to help – but not people in direct authority: not the ambulance, police, local security services. We know how OP tends to think in such situations – about himself, protecting his image, protecting himself.

        There is also an indication that he knew Reeva to be dead prior to the show he put on in front of Dr Stipps.

      • Jason
        November 9, 2014

        TIMM @ 10:55 am

        It is exactly that apparent emotional disconnect that swung most people away from OP and why some have taken an intense dislike to him. It was clear that on the testimony he was focussed on protecting his ass, not admitting to anything incriminating, being forensic in the detail he wanted to get over (maybe partly rehearsed and reconstructed), having a complete blank of memory when he didn’t want to say anything (most obviously being when he went blank after being asked who drove him home after his otherwise detailed being shot at on the motorway incidence): He was clearly evasive. As Judge Masipa observed OP only became emotional when Nel was pressing him on something – he never showed emotion regarding him actually killing Reeva.

        In fact there really wasn’t much of a relationship between Reeva and OP – they hadn’t been going out for long – just a few months. Neither of them had committed to establishing a long term relationship. They hadn’t said they “loved” each other. Reeva’s mother was unsure whether they had actually consummated their relationship.

        It was clear from Reeva’s Card that Valentines Day was going to be a critical focal point of their relationship when it seemed that Reeva might be going to offer the opportunity of forming a longer term commitment to OP and declare her love to OP. OP himself didn’t even bother getting a card. His description of waking up in the morning of Valentines Day indicated he had absolutely zero romantic thoughts in his head of the significance of Valentines Day – he only thought “why didn’t you bring the fans in bitch” – or at least that is what can be inferred from his own testimony. But his testimony of what Reeva said to him on waking up is totally inconsistent with what one would expect given the situation.

        Anyway everything points to a potential flare up and argument was going to happen sometime during that Valentines Day morning.

        Personally I feel the Police and State f*c8ed it up – the case was less obvious than they had hoped for. But if they realised it was going to be a little more complex I reckon they would not have bothered putting a case together to begin with.

    • thisismymoniker
      November 10, 2014

      @Jason. You could be right regarding them not putting a case together down there, although i think Nel would still have had a go, because, at the bail hearing, he pressed for the exact same charge without knowing of the existence of Dr. Burger and Mr. Johnson. It’s possible if those two never came forward, that the weight of evidence, in NPA eyes, would still have pointed to early shots (since they had no other decent explanations – and perhaps would place a doubt over Mrs. Stipp). So i think they would have pressed a case. Most certainly in UK there would be a case pressed. And i am guessing the “reconstruction” would have worked out a lot more accurate and realistic – so the questions which finally arrived in the court room might have been a lot more “too close 4 comfort” for OP.

      His trial would not have been televised so there would be a calm logical atmosphere in the courtroom with just a few telling quotations reported. And if the prosecutor wove all the threads together and painted enough of a picture that this “intruder” was really a fallacy then yeah i think we could be looking at a different outcome. Also, all these arguments about prison service being too nasty a place to put a depressed and / or disabled and / or famous man, these would cease to apply – because the prison facilities can cope with anyone, no matter their station in life.

      We have a good track record in the UK of imprisoning celebrities… with the right psychiatry analysis, very early stage police interviews (as is completely standard – but not done at all in S.A.), better crime scene cordoning, perhaps new forensic discoveries as a result … then i certainly don’t fancy OP’s chances would have been good. I personally think it is a really strong circumstantial case.

  22. Jason
    November 7, 2014

    Would I be correct in saying that South Africa has so many killings and shootings and stabbings that in general the police are too stretched for resources, to apply the full force of forensics onto a potential crime scene as say Britain.

    The simple handling of the post-mortem suggested that even at that stage care was not taken to follow standard methodology for assessing last meal timeline. The allowing of mobile phones, Reeva’s possessions and other items to be taken out of the house by the actual killer (OP accepted he had killed Reeva) and others – suggests only a cursory consideration to proper investigation and forensics.

  23. jaymes
    November 8, 2014

    @Stephen you seem to have alot of answers and alternate explanations. Please assist me with the below; thats had me forever worried in this case.

    1: How/why does a lisenced gun owner not take precautionary measures to avoid an accidental gun discharge?

    2: How does a lisenced gun enthusiast shoot 4x through a locked door, knowing theres someone behind it and not expect injury to that person. Forensic evidence even suggests a change in aim directed towards the perceived target?

    3. How is it a mistake to pull the trigger to shoot once, and then repeat the whole process a further 3 times as if the first time wasnt enough of a mistake? How does that add up to an ‘accident’?

    This is why I personally feel it was PREMEDITATED MURDER and he deserves the harshest sentence befitting. Maybe with your help in answering the above question I may change my views and ‘see the light’.

  24. Jason
    November 9, 2014

    TIMM at 10:25 am

    I think 99.9% of people who shoot and deactivate an intruder would be onto the police service immediately. I think 99.9999% of people who shoot and deactivate an intruder then realise that it is for certain their loved one would call the ambulance and police immediately before even attempting to open the toilet door.

    OP should be made accountable for NOT calling the AMbulance and Police service IMMEDIATELY after firing bullets through the door and IMMEDIATELY he realised it is likely Reeva behind the door. It also makes NO SENSE for OP not to check to see if Reeva left the bedroom – his sudden realising it was Reeva behind the toilet door after a quick check of the bedroom WITHOUT checking to see if she just took the door out of the bedroom – does not make sense and therefore is NOT REASONABLE. Suggesting there are lies in the testimony.

    • thisismymoniker
      November 10, 2014

      To deduce she might be in the cubicle, he would have to battle hard against his own beliefs at that time, and to unravel very quickly the possibility of the accident. Because the last time he was at the bed he was “convinced” she was there; and throughout the shooting his “entire attention” was “fixed” on the person he thought was breaking into his house. Up ahead. And as he went to bathroom he was shouting back to Reeva. And as he shot he was shooting what he perceived as a burglar. And even as he backed away from bathroom, he still “feared” the burglars “up ahead”. So at all times Reeva is beyond any doubt in his mind, behind him, in a completely different place. How could she even have slipped past him to get herself into the cubicle, if, as he believed, she was still on the bed when he left? I’m struggling to understand how he would so quickly figure out that the accident was even a possibility, ahead of much more obvious explanations for Reeva not being on the bed, such as

      – hiding behind the Ottoman
      – hiding in the alcove just around corner (there’s a short corridor to bedroom door, it doesn’t face directly into the room, so a hiding space there)
      – hiding on balcony

      all of which suggests turning lights on.

      But the reason he didn’t turn the lights on? Because he was still “scared”. How does that even make sense. The moment he considers it’s Reeva in cubicle, there is no longer any burglar. So what – he was “half sure” it was Reeva, but still “half not sure” it might be burglar? Is that why he carried gun everywhere.

      OK, so maybe still some burglars; but at the same time, certain Reeva is in the cubicle.

      This is all just seeming to be very irrational to me, such as would result from an invented story that had holes in it; so i agree with you most definitely about that.

      It did cross my mind he said he ran back so fast because he was concerned about bathroom lights being seen on … and left the lights off in the bedroom because he sat in darkness in there crying but with the balcony doors in fact open; so a neighbour might have contradicted him and said the bedroom lights were actually on, so he had to say they were off. That’s a possibility.

      • thisismymoniker
        November 10, 2014

        Sorry last sentence doesn’t make any sense: It should read “so a neighbour might have contradicted him and said the bedroom lights were actually off, so he had to say they were off.”

  25. carryon
    November 11, 2014

    Nel made this point in his crossexam of oscar too. That is: how could oscar be so convinced it was an intruder, that he gets his gun and fires at a noise in the cubicle and then just moments later, without checking if reeva had left the room or turning on the lights or checking elsewhere, it suddenly ‘dawns’ on him that it is reeva in the cubicle! Why now….why didn’t it dawn on him a few minutes before when he was in the corrider or before shooting his loaded gun. BECAUSE He is so absolutely convinced that it is a dangerous intruder. and then just like that WITH HARDLY ANY EFFORT it ‘dawns’ on him that it wasn’t an intruder after all! How can that be reasonably, possibly be true…..it is not believable. When he says ‘that’s when it dawned on me’ it sounds so strange, as if he is remembering the item he forgot earlier or some trivial thing.

    The number of changes oscar made after his bail affadavitt are very suspicious too. He had all year to think of fixing what he saw were problems with his version.

    • thisismymoniker
      November 11, 2014

      Yeah it’s certainly “possible” because almost anything in the world is possible; but it is not very likely, and how “reasonable” is it? Well by definition it’s not reasonable, because if he was reasoning normally in his situation he would be forced to conclude Reeva was on the balcony or something like that. So there was certainly a suspense of reasoning going on in the version: This happens rather a lot of times. It also happens to Reeva. Which, as you say, makes it a rather suspect version.

      There’s a line right at the end of the bail affidavit which reads: “In retrospect, i think Reeva must have left the bedroom while i was collecting the fans.”

      Bit strange he wouldn’t have worked that out during the actual situation really. I mean, it wasn’t terribly complicated was it. He spoke to her on the bed before, clearly she had gone to bathroom, and clearly before he went to passage himself; so it’s pretty obvious when she left. Alternatively, if he was really “stuck” trying to work out what happened, then it’s strange he even thought of the possibility, let alone became so convinced by it without running through his “pre-shooting” scenario in some way to double check what was actually happened – regarding the window with the “ladder” and so on.

      It’s almost like he had some kind of “trip” because if you run through his thoughts carefully they often seem quite “crazy”. Since nothing was diagnosed in terms of a mental health problem at that time, this is a problem I have with his version. I mean, who would “scream” upon hearing a “movement” of a person which they “perceived as a wood on wood sound” so as to believe a door was opening, when it was in fact closed? This all sounds totally insane to me. Especially the screaming which lasted precise duration of shooting! Then he “backed out in fear” of intruders “coming out” again. Something that would be contrary to his nature, since he “would fight” if he believed there was still a threat. That is how defense explained him going to the bathroom in the first place : trouble is, he ought to get “stuck” in the bathroom until the intruder was dead, or known to be fully immobilized, if that is so. But as usual he claims to be perfectly innocent of any knowledge of the bullets actually doing anything to a person.

      This tendency, and the approval of it given in the judgement, really does irritate me, because I can’t understand how an adult would take this degree of “claimed innocence” seriously. I never heard of it before, or to this degree, until this case, in an adult context.

      • thisismymoniker
        November 11, 2014

        By approval, I mean the judgement didn’t comment on whether, in their view, he was “candid” about the fact he sincerely “feared intruders were still coming out to attack him” after firing the gun. And many similar things like that which weren’t discussed.

        Almost felt as though they just “gave up trying” particularly when there is a list of things that “do not make sense” – though note Nel’s entire arguments are not covered – and things that will “have to remain a matter of conjecture”. And then it leaps back into next paragraph with: “What is not in doubt…” and lists the very obvious common cause concrete facts that he armed and went to bathroom and shot the gun!

        What was the point of a trial if the bottom line is:

        (a) some things don’t make sense (vague comment)
        (b) we’ll have to conjecture about that (because we can’t analyze it?)
        (c) so lets just talk about the fact he DID shoot a gun and give blessing to the “intruder perception” as reasonable possibility.

        Hmm. You actually can’t rationally comment if it’s a reasonable possibility until showing all your working out. Not in my view anyway.

      • thisismymoniker
        November 11, 2014

        P.S. I have some sympathy with the panel because of complications caused by the state where the circumstantial picture supplied by the state didn’t make sense either:

        (a) downstairs arguing before – but he’s on his stumps

        (b) she had her phone for many minutes after first bangs but did not use it

        (c) common cause Johnson phone call of 3:16 with bangs after yet no screams heard by Nhlengethwas who were clearly awake and listening to cries 12 times nearer

        (d) the 200ml was due to their “evening meal” rather that more plausibly they did eat at 7-8 pm and this was another snack Reeva ate much later

        (e) they “never went to bed” despite 4.5 hours clear in the digital data

        (f) he was sincerely trying to save her life despite the fact he knew he’d ended it

        (g) she had time to actually “sit” on the magazine rack and nurse her head fearing more bullets, despite a hip injury (which did not bleed into the rack somehow), and despite reports of the 4 bullets coming in a fairly rapid succession

        (h) Oscar may have struck the door with the bat while on his stumps, but this probably results in massive instability and so why would he do it?

        Perhaps the picture, from the perspective of the panel, was of all these circumstantial factual problems adding up to a rather muddled case which was raising as many questions as answers.

        Definitely can’t blame panel for being troubled by all these types of questions. They SHOULD be troubled by it. But it makes it difficult to know what another court would decide if the state presented something coherent at the outset. Would the attention of panel have shifted onto all the fine details of Oscar’s story? It think it’s possible.

      • Jason
        November 11, 2014

        Just to add if the state makes two monumental errors in saying a) the gunshots were the last noises (hence bat hitting the door were the first noises) and b) a woman screams after the first noises (& without also explaining why other witnesses said it was Oscar crying) – then why should the panel believe anything the state says.

        That is basically what the panel found but they also found that OP was an evasive & dreadful witness.

      • Jason
        November 11, 2014

        ps Trying to create a confused picture is a standard trick used by politicians, polluters, and defence lawyers.

      • thisismymoniker
        November 12, 2014

        @Jason. yeah … one thing the judgement was clear about was that the timeline was the thing which swung it “for his version in general”.

        The wrong timeline had many damaging impacts on other parts of a possible state case as well

        – it caused a move to this picture of Oscar as some kind of hyper-aggressive macho thug dominating and abusing his girlfriend (which might have grains of emotional truths, but was at odds with a large body of evidence to say he wasn’t really like that with reeva & it seems very implausible he would be, to me)

        – it meant the time of death was unknown and life saving was for some reason accepted as sincere in “common cause” (goodness knows why Nel did not question that stuff – i just cannot understand what the thinking was there)

        I think a relationship fallout in which he became upset/unstable is much more plausible. Being too much drawn to Reeva to the point of not letting her go perhaps. This happens often. It would clearly be one of the major alternatives in trying to understand if a relationship ended in a homicide. But the screams created something quite different. And totally in error.

        Even as one would consider he might have shot her very upset and then regretted (despaired – both about “loss of reeva” – which already happened BEFORE shots maybe – and then the horror which would have been unleashed in so many ways by shooting) and even as he might have done CPR to “save his neck” in front of some unwitting spectators when it was much too late, well, even then, there’s signs of “love” after the shots e.g. the bathroom towels.

        It’s hard to imagine or reconcile with murder but i guess you cannot get to the heart of criminal matter without having some reasonably clear intuition about people’s messed up places… and i don’t feel there was enough exploration of that in a mature way in this trial.

        So once the screams were binned, there were lots of derivative effects, not least, no remaining “story” about why he might have shot her and then become so upset he was heard to wail far and wide. So all the defense “narratives” of the intruder fears could fairly easily win in terms of “exploration” of the facts on some deeper levels.

        There’s some saying about trial being battle between two competing narratives, and i’m sure that is true. Without the screams, the state’s narrative was weak, and the merely “technical” arguments concerning his version were not enough to persuade the panel, because by that stage, Roux had erected doubts about crime scene and doubts about Oscar’s memory and “togetherness” under “unfair” shock tactic questions etc on stand, so even his memory errors and strange disjointed style of narration was no longer fully clearcut. And again, no counterarguments about those various psychological issues that might have been clouding his mind a tad.

        Lots of capitulated themes therefore.

        I did like the point about the police not being tasked with ANY major disturbance and i do like both of Nel’s “snowballs” (bedroom stuff, and from “door opening” via “wood sound” to “magazine rack being moved”)…i think there are some pretty strong arguments there.

        But one would practically need a case rewrite start to finish i think in order to match the amounts of layers in defense heads with something very compelling in its place [which also succeed to squash “reasonable possibility” of his version]. It’s very much the kind of case which would probably go to a hung jury, require retrial, and probably, i am guessing, find guilty in the end…but it totally depends how it was all argued and put together how strong that comes across.

        These cases with “one person’s word” being tested from a private incident are really complex to evaluate. Credibility is absolutely one of the toughest areas and how that interacts with “reasonable doubt” even more so. Inevitably subjective outcomes will result. But, well, chances are improved if all the themes are tackled and there are no major blunders in the reconstruction of events – or no very misguided witnesses in court – and certainly not 3+ of them!

        Gahhh. I suppose it’s very easy to criticize things in hindsight! British people love to have a good old complain about things though lol 😉

  26. carryon
    November 11, 2014

    I am bothered by the judge’s assertion that the trial should have only lasted a week because he should have been convicted of culpable homicide. It almost seems that her mind was made up before the trial began and she was just going through the motions to help him not be convicted of murder. If there hadn’t been so much public outcry I wonder if there would have been any prison sentence at all?

  27. carryon
    November 11, 2014

    The other comment I am bothered by is her (Judge’s) claim that oscar never changed his story. It is true he always claimed he thought there was an intruder but details of his story changed a lot from his original bail affadavitt.. That was really giving oscar a pass, for many changes have been pointed out by the state and people online. This comment by her and the one above make it seem that the judge and her helpers were biased towards oscar. I do agree, however, that the state did not do a perfect job in their own closing arguments but they had to wade through a lot of unnecessary verbiage from the defense. Oscar himself did not present well as a credible witness yet the judge still chose to ignore that when making her decision. To sum up, Oscar did in fact make MANY changes along the way and did not wait for any human response from the small cubicle before shooting, yet he was still given a HUGE benefit of the doubt by judge masipa and her assessors. I really hope that the state wins their right to appeal.

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This entry was posted on October 29, 2014 by in Oscar Pistorius Trial and tagged , , .
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