NPA Will Appeal

SOUTH AFRICA PISTORIUS SENTENCING

Just in…

http://news.sky.com/story/1361213/prosecutors-to-appeal-oscar-pistorius-verdict

NPA MEDIA STATEMENT:

NPA-Media-Statement

ANC Women’s League:

http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/ancwl-already-eyeing-oscar-appeal-1.1765021#.VE6Eu01JB9N

Professor James Grant on the hurdles that Nel will face:

http://criminallawza.net/2014/10/29/the-seekoie-hurdle/

More details to follow here as they become available…

#OscarTrial

Oscar Updates

OP

prison

OP1

Oscar Pistorius was heard weeping inconsolably during his first night in prison.

http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/2014/10/23/broken-oscar-sobs-himself-to-sleep

http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/12/world/africa/south-africa-prisons-pistorius/

http://citizen.co.za/263290/cell-door-slams-shut-on-oscar-info/

A source close to the Pistorius family said his legal bill now stands at R17.5 million, and about R10 million is still outstanding.

http://www.citypress.co.za/news/oscars-r17-5million-legal-headache/

In a joint interview with husband Barry in the London Times, June said she believed that her daughter knew “in her heart of hearts” that she would not be happy with the volatile and “combustible” double amputee and had decided to end the affair.

http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/2014/10/26/june-steenkamp-says-reeva-wasn-t-having-sex-with-oscar

The Department of Social Development is seeking legal opinion on the matter of the probation officer employed by the State, Annette Vergeer, who also offered private services to the defence team in the recently ended Oscar Pistorius case.

http://www.sanews.gov.za/south-africa/government-seeks-legal-advice-annette-vergeer-matter

Carl Pistorius Dodged Charge

http://www.citypress.co.za/news/carl-pistorius-dodged-charge/

TRANSCENDENCE reached #8 on Amazon this weekend. Thank you to those who purchased it!

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http://www.africanman.co.za/

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The Natives are Getting Restless

Injustice

Will tomorrow be the day that Oscar finally answers for the killing of Reeva Steenkamp? Or will it be a repeat of September 12th, a day that injustice is allowed to prevail?

The time has come for all of us to be real about what this trial has meant to us and why it’s so important.

Aimee and Carl Pistorius would love nothing more than to point their fingers at us and let us know that we all just voyeurs, negative and unfair. They’d much prefer we sob along with them and forget all about the intrusive thoughts in our heads.

http://www.enca.com/south-africa/big-interview-oscars-siblings-carl-and-aimee-speak-out

But you are all here reading this blog because you have those thoughts in your heads and you certainly have a right to explore them. More important than that, you have a voice. And if there’s something in this world that you’re not happy about, you better damn well use that voice and say something or somebody else will say it for you.

Dr. Lore Hartzenberg, Oscar’s psychologist, and diligent supporter at trial, was the first to take the stand for the Defense during the hearing last week.

She spoke of how from the outset, she did not want to get involved in the merits of the case. But when recently approached by the Defense and asked to testify at sentencing, she agreed. Why the sudden change of heart? Well, let’s be honest… because she’s his friend.

SAFRICA-JUSTICE-CRIME-PISTORIUS

hartzenberg2

She testified about her clinical observations while conducting sessions with him for the previous 18 months.

Clinical Observations:

• First consultation was Feb 25, 2013.
• Oscar presented with acute stress reaction. PTSD and depression were also noted.
• He was referred to a psychiatrist and is still under that treatment.
• He frequently spent sessions weeping, retching, perspiring, trembling, was pale and he paced.

And just as she has set the stage for everybody’s sympathy, she tells the court that Oscar was “deprived of the opportunity to mourn” somebody he loved, and this was the result of the premeditated murder charge that was leveled against him as well as the constant attention from the relentless media.

So let me get this straight… Poor, broken Oscar couldn’t mourn the person that HE killed because the State decided to charge him and make him answer for his crime. And the media, and every other person discussing this trial in public, is a bunch of selfish assholes who have no right to discuss what he has done, even though trials are public proceedings and we SHOULD care about what is happening in our societies. Um, ok. I guess it’s our fault.

hartzenberg4

Hartzenberg

She then tells us that Oscar remains in an unresolved spiral of grief without resolution. It’s called “complicated grief”.

Well of course it’s complicated… when you kill somebody and have to lie about it every day, life gets pretty tricky.

He was not able to eat and sleep, and often expressed his longing for Reeva. He now has a void without her presence in his life.

Bummer. Maybe he shouldn’t have killed her. But no worries, I’m sure Jenna Edkins can help him out.

The nature of the charge of premeditated murder played out on the world stage and he was
often portrayed in an adverse light. She suggests that this was abuse at the hands of the media.
His ability to heal was destroyed by the level of malevolence by the public.

I don’t think Oscar needs any help in being portrayed in an adverse light. The guy has been acting like a reckless punk for years now. He had warning signs galore along the way and ignored them all because he’s entitled and selfish, and hasn’t ever had to deal with real consequences for his actions. His ability to heal has absolutely nothing to do with the media and nothing to do with us discussing this matter on my blog. It has everything to do with the hollow existence that Oscar has chosen to live.

Also as a result of the premeditated murder charge against him, he has experienced the loss of mutual friends that he shared with Ms. Steenkamp. This was devastating to him because he needed the support of friends.

I’m pretty sure that their distance has nothing to do with the charge of premeditation and EVERYTHING to do with the fact that he did actually kill their friend. Oscar has a razor-sharp ability to focus on what HE needs in every scenario. Hey yea, I killed your friend, but come on over and let’s have a braai. Does that make any fucking sense? I am utterly flabbergasted that any experienced psychologist would have the nerve to make this statement in court.

The pity party continues…

Oscar has lost his identity, self-belief and reputation. He had a platform to make a difference for disabled and disadvantaged people worldwide. He feels he has lost his voice to make a positive contribution to those communities.

Yes, Oscar, you have lost your voice. And you should also lose your freedom for the horrific crime that you committed. You are not an example for any human being, disabled or otherwise.

The good doctor would also like us to remember that Oscar didn’t lose his temper when he was provoked by Nel during a “severe cross-examination”.

Big bad Nel… a favorite scapegoat of the Pistorians. She says this as if he should receive a trophy for not beating somebody up in court. Too bad he can’t control himself outside of the courtroom.

http://www.latimes.com/world/africa/la-fg-pistorius-nightclub-20140715-story.html

He expressed horror at leaked photos of the crime scene, claiming it was disrespectful to Reeva.

The photos are not what is disrespectful to Reeva; what’s disrespectful to Reeva is that he killed her and she loved him. She was hovering behind a closed door and screaming for her life. That’s disrespect.

She ends by saying we are left with a broken man who has lost everything.

I highly beg to differ. Unlike Reeva, he still gets to breath.

Nel reinforced this point when he confronted Hartzenberg with the reality that Oscar has a future. He can have a career and he can have girlfriends (and reportedly has one now). Nel wants to know what Hartzenberg knows about Reeva. Do you know about her dreams, what she wanted to do in life? Hartzenberg’s response, Oscar only talked about the two of them together. Well, of course he did. Reeva was never a real person to him, one with hopes and dreams and aspirations of her own. The same pattern can be seen with every one of his previous girlfriends. It’s only about what they can do for him. There was only room for his life in the equation.

Joel Maringa, a social worker at the correctional services department was asked to write a report about whether or not Oscar would be a good candidate for house arrest. These are amongst the various factors that he believes should be considered when determining the sentence:

• Oscar has been involved in many charitable organizations
• Living with his uncle, relationship with his dad is sour
• Living off savings, earning potential has been harmed
• He’s only a social drinker and only uses prescription drugs
• He’s a first offender, the trauma has been punishment enough

Maringa’s sentencing recommendation – Place Oscar under house arrest and assign 16 hours per month of cleaning duty at the Transvaal Museum. Alcohol and drugs should be banned and he should receive trauma counseling. Maringa believes that “correctional supervision is harsh”.

You know what’s fucking harsh? Being shot in the head by your boyfriend. That’s harsh. Equally harsh is the suggestion that the value of a woman’s life is comparable to a few dirty floors at the local museum.

Nel quickly set Maringa straight by telling him that his recommendation was “shockingly inappropriate” and Oscar’s behavior was “grossly negligent”. And lest we not forget that the home where this punishment is to be carried out is actually a luxury mansion.

Arnold Pistorius house

Next up in the chain of fools, we got to hear from the non-manager manager Peet van Zyl. Here is his SAVE OSCAR campaign:

• Global sporting icon
• Brand ambassador
• Extensive list of charities
• Makes others feel welcome and at ease
• Involved in the development of prosthetic technology
• Helps land mine victims
• All sponsorships and contracts have been terminated, no money #sadface

That’s it, I’m totally voting for Oscar for President!! Oh wait… damn, that’s right. I forgot this was a murder trial.

Nel is back at it, bringing us all back down to earth. He reminds van Zyl that charities are in fact a wonderful marketing tool for any ambitious business man.

Van Zyl laments that if only the media had been kinder to his client, future opportunities would be more abundant. He also wants to make sure that the world knows that Oscar uses his own money to help under-privileged people.

Perhaps if Oscar wasn’t so interested in guns, and fame, and money and power… he could have led a genuine life that benefitted those under-privileged people but this is the road that HE chose to travel. Too little, too late.

Annette Vergeer, a probation officer, would be one of the more… um, interesting… people to speak at the hearing. Here is her offering:

• The Steenkamps stance on the accused is neutral. Huh?
• Expresses remorse, is emotional and seems genuine
• Realizes seriousness of the offense
• Publically humiliated
• He would sacrifice anything to have Reeva back
• First offender, no history of this type of behavior
• Has made monthly payments to the Steenkamp family
• Productive member of society… REALLY???
• Above average potential for reform
• Can give speeches to local disabled children
• Jail is risky – overcrowding, violence and sodomy
• Jail would make him financially dependent on state
• Reeva’s death is a bigger punishment than prison

In regards to that final bullet point – well then why the hell do prisons even exist? If the punishment of our own mind is far worse, let’s release them all today and let them roam the streets in their collective misery so that they can kill us and put us out of our misery too.

And Oscar can give speeches to disabled children? That would be great… hey kids, don’t murder your girlfriend and you too can earn tons of cash as long as you lie and manipulate and never get caught!

Nel is able to reveal that Vergeer didn’t even read the damn judgement and she responds that she is only there in court to discuss his personal circumstances, not the facts. Fantastic! Let’s forget about those nasty facts. She’d rather discuss how terrible prison is and the fact that Oscar is vulnerable to rape without his legs. Nel assures her, his legs will not be taken away.

The revelation of the Steenkamp family receiving money from Oscar, I have to admit, is very troubling to me. I really wish they had found another way to help them through their difficult financial times. It was revealed that Oscar offered them a bigger lump sum, but the Steenkamps refused calling it “blood money”. Nel puts it on record that the Steenkamps intend to fully pay back every cent that Oscar gave them.

It was a crazy day in court between the news about the Steenkamps receiving money and the appearance of Jared Mortimer, Mikey Schultz, Mark Batchelor and Samantha Taylor… It seems that the natives are getting restless!

http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/Oscar_Pistorius/Batchelor-describes-mounting-tension-in-Pistorius-court-20141020

natives

batchelor

Sam

After listening to the nauseating testimony about why Oscar should get a pass, the majority of the remaining testimony from the defense was about the conditions of the prisons and if they could accommodate a disabled person.

Nel countered with Moleko Zac Modise, the acting National Director for the Department of Correctional Services who was able to assure the court that they were ready and able to accommodate the accused, should he receive a custodial sentence.

This is not a vacation, Oscar. You don’t get to pick your bed linens and favorite shampoo. Prison sucks, whether you have legs or not. If you don’t want to go to prison, don’t commit crime.

http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/Oscar_Pistorius/Prisons-can-accommodate-disabled-dept-20141014

But the most memorable and important part of last week, was unquestionably the long-awaited testimony from the family of Reeva Steenkamp.

June and Barry Steenkamp, parents of Reeva Steenkamp listen to the judgement of Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria

The family has only spoken with the media a handful of times in the past year and half. They have been silent and guarded; a quiet presence in the courtroom. In Kim Martin, Reeva’s cousin, they would finally find their voice…

http://www.africanman.co.za/?p=3007

The State’s recommendation to the court for sentencing – Arguments from Nel

“Punishment should acknowledge the sanctity of human life.”

“We’re not dealing with a car accident, an assault, we’re dealing with Oscar firing four shots into a toilet cubicle.”

“His conduct tore a loved one from her family, it broke that family. He wants the court to believe that he’s a victim. He is not a victim. He caused it!”

“The accused’s remorse isn’t convincing – the fact that he’s sorry she’s dead can never be remorse. Remorse is when an accused verbalizes that he’s sorry he fired shots through the door knowing there was someone behind it.”

“Accused has coped brilliantly in life – he wanted to complete with able-bodied athletes, now shamelessly uses disability.”

“We argue that the only reasonable sentence will be a long term of imprisonment.”

“My lady, this is my argument. The matter is so serious, in the interests of society, the accused must get prison time.”

The state is asking for a minimum of 10 years sentence.

reeva and gina

What am I asking for?

In the words of Judge Chris Greenland…

“Justice must be done and must be seen to be done.”

The application of justice in all cases is imperative if we are to continue living freely and civilly within our societies. The public needs reassurance that the systems and the leaders that they have put in place are honoring the laws and providing protection for their citizens. When this breaks down, when the public does not see justice being done, it creates discontent and total chaos. Criminals are granted a license to behave as they please and law-abiding citizens begin taking matters in to their own hands. It’s a volcano that has been erupting in South Africa for far too long now. I am appalled by Oscar Pistorius. Utterly and completely appalled. Oscar must receive the 15 years allowable for Culpable Homicide. In case you missed it, the word homicide is included in that charge. It’s the killing of a person; the robbing of a life. You cannot get a pass for that.

In less than 24 hours, we will know Oscar’s fate. If it’s not the 15 years, not the 10 years, or worse, simply house arrest… what will you do? What can you do? Everything has a season and right now, we are just beginning autumn.

kristen-alana-took-this-photo-on-a-bridge-in-picturesque-northampton-ma

Leaves change and eventually die, the days become shorter and people are stuck inside… left to reflect the seasons of their own lives. Perhaps this trial doesn’t only have to be about death and injustice. Maybe if we look hard enough, we can find something more. Perhaps, transcendence…

RS2

BabyShoes and Titanium Hulk

oscar and jenna

An Eyewitness News investigation has revealed that Oscar Pistorius was talking to his ex-girlfriend (Jenna Edkins a.k.a. BabyShoes) minutes before he arrived home to Reeva Steenkamp, on the eve of the Valentine’s Day shooting.

http://ewn.co.za/2014/10/02/EWN-Exclusive-Oscar-Pistorius-spoke-to-ex-on-eve-of-shooting-Steenkamp

jenna-and-op

And…

Carl and Oscar

Eyewitness News has learnt that police suspected Oscar Pistorius’s brother Carl of deleting data off the athlete’s phone in the days after Reeva Steenkamp’s shooting.

http://ewn.co.za/2014/10/02/FIRST-ON-EWN-Police-suspected-Carl-Pistorius-of-deleting-data

And then of course….

The spin doctors have to step in and provide their statement to all of this. The Pistorius clan, and the loyal Pistorians, really need to crawl back in to their holes and stop insulting our intelligence.

http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/Oscar_Pistorius/Mystery-Oscar-statement-pre-empts-report-20141002

Titanium Hulk = Carl Pistorius

http://titaniumhulk.blogspot.com/2010/06/happiness-vs-joy-joy-road-less.html

Judge and Juror vs A Miscarriage of Justice?

green[1]

Judge and Juror vs A Miscarriage of Justice? by Nick van der Leek and Juror13 (courtesy South African Man website)

Did you know Judge Chris Greenland was the first non-white magistrate to be appointed in southern Africa? Did you know that he is very disappointed with the verdict Judge Masipa gave (one of the first black female judges in South Africa)? In RESTITUTIO, van der Leek described Masipa and her assessors as possibly too ‘unsophisticated’ for this trial. In the interview below Juror13 probes these and many other fascinating questions regarding the trial. What is refreshing is that Judge Greenland is not afraid to call a spade a spade, and to finger various mistakes (his ‘hook-line-and-sinker remarks stand out in particular.)

The audio, it must be said is not great, but the content is well worth the listen. A written transcript of the interview is available below.

Click here to learn more about Judge Chris Greenland, as well as to listen to the full audio interview:

http://www.africanman.co.za/?p=2840

TRANSCRIPT:

Judge Greenland Interview Transcript – Part 1

Judge Greenland Interview Transcript – Part 2

NOTE1: There are a few words throughout that were unintelligible and have been noted as “?”. I also took the liberty of removing most of my “ums”, “likes” and “you knows”… back to speech class for Juror13! 🙂

NOTE2: Judge Greenland has asked me to correct an error in one of his answers, pertaining to the appeals process. He now confirms that the Appeals Court would deal with both the verdict and the sentencing, should there be an appeal in this case. I have removed that portion of his original answer from the transcript per his request.

RESTITUTIO

restitution

RESTITUTIO was published on 19 September 2014, exactly 7 days after Judge Thokozile Masipa pronounced her controversial verdict; Oscar Pistorius not guilty on the charge of murdering Reeva Steenkamp in his home on Valentine’s Day 2013. On the same day RESTITUTIO was published, the South African Police announced the latest crime statistics:

17 068 people were murdered in South Africa over the past year. That’s 47 people per day; 800 more than the previous year. Reeva Steenkamp, however, will not be counted among those numbers.

The question RESTITUTIO asks is: ‘why not?’ And ‘where to from here’?

South African freelance photojournalist, Nick van der Leek, and forensic profiler and criminologist, Laurie Pieters-James, have teamed up for the first time to interrogate the subterranea behind the Oscar trial. Additional insights via the popular American analyst Juror13 provide international perspectives to the story. In sum, a trio of analysts means a singular narrative reinforced into an even more powerful, and thoroughly-considered story.

RESTITUTIO takes the reader on a journey through intellectual rivers and deserts, mountains and storms, until finally a guiding metaphor emerges…and presents us with an Abyss. Whether we float over it or plunge into it depends on how we respond to our own (individual and societal) ‘wrongness’. Can we even acknowledge ‘Being Wrong’?

The RESTITUTIO narrative seeks answers on this very central question and then probes an even darker mythos…our prospects for Ernest Becker’s brutal questions on the human condition. Is there an escape from evil for us? And from death (by crime in South Africa, for example)? Is there a way for us to find our way back to real reconciliation and true legitimacy?

The authors interrogate these questions using the Oscar Trial as a taking-off point.

Highlights of RESTITUTIO include stories by:

1. Sonja Raath. The last journalist to interview Reeva Steenkamp, writes candidly about her thoughts, feelings and firsthand experience when she met the couple at the Virgin Active Sports Awards, and her interactions with Reeva afterwards.

2. Criminologist and analyst for CNN, Laurie Pieters-James. Pieters-James, co-writer of Shattered Lives (the story of Dirk Prinsloo and Advocate Barbie) describes her impressions of Hilton Botha, who she had the opportunity to converse with during the bail hearings, which she attended in person. Pieters-James also provides insight into the (often disturbed) psyches of the fanatic Oscar followers, better known as the Pistorians.

3. Juror13. Over the past year and a half, South Africans have been in mourning, along with the grieving Steenkamp family. Has justice been done? Disappointment in the spring of 2014 is widespread following the verdict. US-based courtroom analyst and blogger, Juror13 interrogates the grief that societies suffer in the wake of such verdicts. Juror13 also describes her personal experiences of 9/11 and the Newtown Elementary school shooting in Connecticut. How can a nation move forward after such abominations?

4. Nick van der Leek. The author provides more poignant insights and analysis into the Oscar trial, into its ironies (the victim’s family being less emotional than the accused throughout), but also draws the reader further, far further than REVELATIONS, on a journey to the Existential Abyss…and beyond.

Oscar Trial – Was the Verdict… Reasonable?

justice

Count 1: Murder – Not guilty and discharged. Alternatively, guilty of Culpable Homicide

Count 2: Illegal Discharge of Firearm, Sunroof Incident – Not guilty and discharged

Count 3: Illegal Discharge of Firearm, Tasha’s Incident – Guilty of 2nd alternative

Count 4: Illegal Possession of Unlicensed Ammo – Not guilty and discharged

To say that I am shocked, saddened and angry about the verdicts that were rendered in the Oscar Pistorius trial would be an enormous understatement. Yes, I do blog as a hobby, but it is not to be mistaken for entertainment. It is with great purpose and passion that I write about these trials, and I believe that the majority of my readers share that same drive. We are invested in these trials because they are central to our humanity and our freedom. How can we possibly be disinterested in the value of human life or in the safety of our societies? I do not believe that human beings were intended to live isolated existences. We are physically, psychologically and emotionally designed to need each other on so many different levels. We need to care about the outcomes of these trials and we need to voice our opinions to hopefully affect change for our collective future.

The concept of what is considered to be reasonable has been a central theme in this case. When we first heard about the shooting in 2013, we all asked – is it reasonable that Oscar heard a window open, failed to check on the well-being of his bed partner or ask her if she too heard the noise, and instead took off running with a loaded gun to kill an unidentified person who was in a toilet room with the door closed? Now that we are at the end of this trial, we are asking – was it reasonable for the Judge to make the statement that Oscar was a terrible witness, was evasive and gave contradictory evidence, and acted negligently, and then turn around and determine his lack of guilt based on HIS story alone? I think we need to take a serious look at what the hell reasonable means to all of us.

Reasonable doubt means exactly that – a doubt that is “reasonable”. It doesn’t mean that every single other explanation presented for the crime has been ruled out because that would actually be impossible. What if I told you that an alien entered Oscar’s house that night and had his finger on top of Oscar’s finger, and the alien was the one who actually pulled the trigger. That’s another explanation. Surely if the Defense gave us this alternative explanation it must mean that we have to acquit because that’s another possibility. That is literally how ridiculous it is for me to believe that Oscar was the source of EVERY single vocal noise coming from the house that night. Not only does he scream like a woman, but he’s also a ventriloquist because he can throw two different voices at the very same time. It’s quite amazing actually. But since a few ear witnesses may have had their times off by a minute or two, let’s just totally consider them unreliable and believe whatever the Defense tells us because it’s not like they have any reason to make something up. Right?

Do you sense my sarcasm? Good. I’m pissed off and sarcasm feels appropriate right now.

The Judge made some very puzzling decisions when she cherry-picked through the evidence. For instance…

Mrs. Stipp testified that the time on her alarm clock when she and her husband heard the first set of bangs was 3:02. She stated that her clock typically ran 3-4 minutes fast. The time on her clock when she and her husband heard the second bangs was 3:17. Again, running 3-4 minutes fast. The Judge thought it was unreasonable that the Stipps would have heard a woman screaming for 15 minutes without calling security. She also noted that Mrs. Stipp had the flu. Because of this, she decided that the Stipps were unreliable and threw out their evidence. She believed that the shots must have been at 3:14-3:15.

Now here is the important part… Dr. Stipp got through to security at 3:15:51. He testified that he heard the SECOND set of bangs just moments BEFORE the phone call. He reported to Baba that he heard gunshots and Baba substantiated this on the stand with his own testimony. Security phone records introduced as evidence proved that Stipp got thru at 3:15:51.

Next, Mike Nhlengethwa got through to security at 3:16:36 (his second attempt to get through) and he also reported bangs/gunshots, further solidified by Baba’s testimony. Based on these three witnesses, all bangs/gunshots were heard prior to 3:15:51.

But then… Charl Johnson testified that he heard the bangs/gunshots around 3:17. He estimated this due to a call that he made to security (a different company than Baba’s) around 3:16 that lasted just under a minute. After he hung up and went back outside, the bangs/gunshots rang out. His phone records were not introduced as evidence in this case.

So what did Judge Masipa do? She decided to believe Charl Johnson over the others. Why did she do this? Because the Defense told her to believe this.

And because she believed the Defense’s false timeline, she fell hook line and sinker for the gunshots being first at 3:14 and the cricket bat being the second bangs at 3:17, even though it defies logic. Does it seem reasonable to you that everybody (except the Stipps) slept through the gunshots but all heard the cricket bat hitting the door? And does it seem reasonable that the sounds were really a cricket bat when every witness described them to be gunshots? Keep in mind, almost all of these witnesses owned and had used guns previously and knew exactly what they sounded like. Is all of this reasonable?

My issues with Judge Masipa are three-fold. First, I question her application of the law to the facts of this case. Second, I’m appalled by her lack of common sense when it comes to determining subjective elements. Third, I’m concerned about her ability to understand and properly interrogate the objective facts put before her.

Here are the verdicts that were rendered in this case, and my thoughts about why I disagree.

Count 1 – Murder

Dolus Directus: The intentional and unlawful killing of another human being. Judge Masipa makes the determination that the State’s arguments for premeditation are not conclusive. This means that she has rejected the following evidence that when pieced together actually make a good circumstantial case for Directus, in my opinion:

• Mrs. van der Mewre hearing a loud female voice arguing from 1:56 until about 3:00am, intermittently. She stated it was intermittent so for the Judge to disregard it completely, solely because the guard (Baba) did not hear it when he walked by the house at 2:20am, does not seem appropriate. Hearing an arguing voice one hour before a person is shot and killed, and all sounds are coming from the same location – I say it’s very reasonable to infer that they are associated with each other. On Oscar’s story, they were supposed to be sleeping at that time. No other neighborhood witnesses were identified to be fighting at that hour on February 14th.

• Samantha Taylor testified that Oscar did sometimes lose his temper and yell at her, as well as other friends and family, while they were dating. There was also character evidence entered of him threatening to break a man’s legs (Mark Batchelor), verbally assault Quinton van der Burgh in a public setting, yelling at a police officer after the Vaal, getting in to a verbal argument at a party which lead to him getting hit on the head and there was evidence introduced via Peet Van Zyl that Oscar could get agitated easily. So how is it a stretch to believe that Oscar and Reeva were fighting that night?

• The Whatsapp messages between Reeva and Oscar that indicated they had recently fought and Reeva was sometimes afraid of him and how he would snap at her. Now typically I would agree that it’s hard to make a judgement call about a relationship based on text messages. But I also know that I have never once texted somebody and told them I was afraid of them. If I did text something like that, I would mean it. The Judge seems to forget that two weeks after those text messages were sent, the author was killed. That hardly seems like just a bad coincidence to me.

reeva3

• The bathroom light that was on at the time of the first bangs, per the Stipps’ testimonies. Lights being on during those initial bangs mean that Oscar’s story is not true. Period. But apparently the Stipps were not reliable because there seemed to be some time discrepancies. The Judge is illogically far more critical of the witnesses than she is of the accused. She stated that the accused was evasive and gave contradictory evidence, yet she believed his story. With the Stipps, because Mrs. Stipp may have gotten the time of the initial bangs wrong, the Judge immediately discounted EVERYTHING they witnessed. Does that seem reasonable to you?

• Terrified female screams heard by Dr. and Mrs. Stipp, Burger and Johnson which lasted several minutes, intermingled with a different, male voice, that were later stifled by the sound of gunfire. Then silence. Is it reasonable to you that Oscar would have been screaming like a terrified woman, and a man, starting immediately after the gunshots right up until the moment that he hit the door with the cricket bat? There is no reason for him to be screaming at that point – he hasn’t even checked the bedroom yet for Reeva. The Stipps testified that the screams started immediately after the bangs. Why is he screaming immediately after? That wasn’t his version, but it sure became his tailored version after he heard Stipp’s evidence. But then even after he goes to check the bedroom and doesn’t see her, he claims to be screaming at the top of his lungs. Let’s consider his supposed physical movements at that point which do not support him being able to yell like that… Oscar was roaming around a pitch black room, rolling across the bed, checking curtains, running over duvets and cords and not falling… do you honestly believe he was screaming like a terrified woman, and a man at the same time, all throughout those movements? I say no, that is completely unbelievable and unreasonable to believe any of that. And once again, Judge Masipa decided to ignore critical evidence – the physical evidence in the bedroom.

• The undigested food in Reeva’s stomach pointing towards her eating much later that night than Oscar testified. I will concede that this point is subjective and can’t be considered conclusively on its own. But when you consider it in light of the other information listed above, it’s not a huge leap to believe that Reeva was awake later than Oscar says she was. Mrs. van der Mewre’s testimony supports that they were not asleep at 2am, even if she heard one angry voice only, and the Stipps seeing the bathroom light on further bolsters that.

• The pause after the first shot, allowing Reeva time to scream and Oscar to re-aim. This was a point that was substantiated by 4 pieces of evidence. First, Burger’s testimony. She stated she clearly heard a pause after the first shot and before the remaining three shots. Second, bullet holes B, C and D are from a different angle than shot A. Oscar changed positions after shot A. Third, Mangena’s ballistics evidence showed that in order for the bullets to hit Reeva on her body where they did, utilizing the trajectories of the holes in the door, there had to have been a period of time in which Reeva fell down after the first (hip) shot and when the second shot was fired that missed her. If she had not fallen down yet, that second shot would have hit her somewhere on her body. It did not. So some period of time, even if it was small, had to pass between shot A and shot B. A pause! Fourth, the blood spatter, brain matter and hair that were found on the toilet bowl lid proved that Reeva’s head was directly in front of the toilet when it was hit. In rapid succession, her head would not have been in that position. Judge Masipa is deliberately ignoring physical evidence here.

To me, the above evidence pieced together makes a very compelling case for Directus. Oscar’s lying alone makes a compelling case. But let’s be conservative. If you are part of the camp that just can’t make that stretch, just like the Judge, then let’s look at the next level of Murder – Dolus Eventualis.

Dolus Eventualis: In considering the issue of intention to kill, the test is whether the
[accused] foresaw the possibility that the act in question would have fatal consequences, and was reckless whether death resulted or not.

Since the Judge did not believe that the grand majority of the State’s witnesses were reliable, she accepted Oscar’s version of events as reasonable. She deemed it reasonable that Oscar truly thought Reeva was still in bed at the time that he fired.

The Judge says that we are clearly dealing with “error in persona”, in which who it was behind the door is irrelevant because the accused had the intention to shoot, but not the intention to kill. She incredibly came to this determination because very shortly after the shooting, Oscar told everyone at the scene that he didn’t meant to kill Reeva, and he was consistent in that story. Seriously? Did you expect him to tell his neighbors that he shot her in cold blood because he was pissed at her? An accused or defendant’s remorse, or lack thereof, after a crime should NEVER be considered in a verdict. That is something that you take in to consideration for sentencing. I’m just simply astonished that she actually told the world that because he said he didn’t mean to do it, that we should believe him. That is ludicrous.

Professor James Grant, Associate Professor of Law, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, has contributed many helpful articles about the law, as well as their appropriate applications, throughout this trial. He has once again provided a thorough take on the verdict, particularly as it relates to Dolus Eventualis, and believes that the State should appeal.

You can read it here:

http://criminallawza.net/2014/09/13/pistorius-remains-in-jeopardy-of-a-murder-conviction/

When I heard Judge Masipa utter the words that Oscar clearly could not have foreseen the possibility that he would kill the person behind the door, my jaw dropped. So I guess that means that Sean Rens was a useless witness too. Sean Rens came to court with Oscar’s gun competency test results and also testified about Oscar’s time spent at the range, and proficiency with shooting. There is no question that Oscar knew the law and it is illogical for the Judge to assert that he didn’t. But more importantly, he absolutely was aware of what four hollow point bullets would do, thanks to the watermelon video that Nel showed at the beginning of Oscar’s cross-examination. Of course Oscar could foresee that he would kill the person. He foresaw that he should not shoot at the shower because the bullet could ricochet and hurt him. Too bad he didn’t give that much consideration to the person in the toilet. Add to that the legal issues that Professor Grant highlights on his blog and it certainly does seem that the Judge got this part of the verdict very wrong.

She did however decide to find him guilty of Culpable Homicide.

Culpable Homicide: Negligent, unlawful killing of another human being.

Ironically, her reasoning used to determine Culpable Homicide was that the accused must have foresaw the possibility of the death of the person behind the door and was negligent in his actions.

How is this possible? She said exactly the opposite when she found Oscar not guilty of Dolus Eventualis. I’m confused. She goes on to say that he should have taken a different course of action such as calling security or Johan Stander after hearing the window open and before firing his gun. Well ok then. Thanks for your sudden bought of common sense.

We move on to Count 2, the illegal discharge of firearm out of a sunroof. Darren Fresco and Samantha Taylor both testified that this incident did take place. The Judge states that Fresco was not an impressive witness and he was proved to be dishonest. She points out the evidence of Darren driving over 200km/hour and blaming it on Oscar during trial. She actually spent more time criticizing Darren’s credibility than she ever did Oscar’s.

She next questions the sincerity of Samantha Taylor’s testimony as she and Oscar did not have an amicable split. Even though the Judge felt there was a “ring of truth” to her testimony, she could not ignore that Darren and Samantha gave differing details about the event and made the determination to acquit Oscar on this charge.

I was not surprised by this verdict, and actually could go one step further and say that I agree with it. I too did not find Darren to be an impressive witness. I do think he held back and potentially may have changed some of the details of that day to preserve his own reputation. I don’t want to totally throw him under the bus. I give him credit for his courage to get up on the stand against his ex-friend. He probably wanted to do the right thing, but was just in a difficult spot and didn’t want to get himself in any further trouble. As for Samantha, I just feel bad for her in general. In the last few days she has chosen to finally reveal the true nature of her relationship with Oscar via media interviews, and it was pretty disturbing.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/ex-girlfriend-how-oscar-pistorius-terrorised-4206556

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/48-hours-to-air-special-on-oscar-pistorius-verdict/

Next is Count 3, the illegal discharge of a firearm at Tasha’s Restaurant. Oscar was correctly found guilty on this charge. Although Oscar tried to point blame at Darren Fresco for handing him a loaded weapon in a public place, the Judge countered that it was Oscar who requested to see the weapon in a crowded, public place. The gun went off in his possession therefore it was his responsibility.

Finally, Count 4, the illegal possession of ammunition. The Judge found Oscar not guilty, to which I disagree. She cited case law which illustrated that the accused not only had to possess the ammunition but they also must have had the necessary mental intention (animus) to use the ammunition. The Judge claims that the State did not provide this evidence but she seems to forget that Sean Rens did provide a receipt for 7 new guns that Oscar had purchased, and was pending the proper licensing. One of those weapons was a .38 Special, the exact ammunition that was in his safe. Is it not reasonable to consider that gun purchase as animus?

After the verdicts were rendered, the Judge then heard some brief arguments about whether or not Oscar should be granted bail while pending sentencing. Can you take a guess what she did? Well of course she granted bail. Sentencing will be held on October 13. I’m sure we can all expect it to be a light punishment, if any.

In the meantime, there is much discussion about the State appealing the verdict. Yes, that is correct… in South Africa the State can appeal according to section 310 of the Criminal Procedure Act, if there is a potential error (question) in law. Gerrie Nel is reportedly investigating this possibility and I think the grand majority of us agree that an appeal would be more than… reasonable.