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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Oscar Pistorius gets away with murder

In the eyes of the world, Oscar Pistorius got away with murder and no one can argue that he hasn't received special treatment.  A few cushy months spent in a private cell in a hospital, then released into the luxury of his uncle's mansion under house detention is not a punishment, it's an insult.

Several legal experts agree that Judge Masipa's decision to rule out murder and find him guilty of culpable homicide (equivalent to manslaughter) was wrong.  

Prosecutors are now getting ready to appeal both the sentence and the verdict and push for the charge of premeditated murder.  "We believe that regardless of whom Mr Pistorius believed was behind the bathroom door on that fateful night, Mr Pistorius shot to kill and therefore a murder did occur" they allege.

Reever Steenkamp's mother has written a book about her daughter Reeva: A mother's story and in it, she says Reeva was ready to leave Pistorius.  If this is true, it changes everything.  She writes "Her clothes were packed and there is no doubt in our minds, she had decided to leave Oscar that night.  She believes Pistorius shot Reeva in a jealous rage and then shot three more bullets to ensure she couldn't tell the world what really happened.

James Grant, a professor of criminal law and expert on 'dolis eventualis' (awareness of the likely outcome of an action)
at Johannesburgh's Witwatersrand University, said last week that lead prosecutor Gerrie Nel had asked for his assistance in the event of a possible legal review. "I have advised that he should appeal and have agreed to assist" he said.

If an appeal goes ahead, the trial will be reviewed by a panel of senior judges and will not initiate or listen to any new evidence.  

This case reminds us of  OJ Simpson because it made a mockery of American law and now it's a blot on South African law. 

It reinforces the belief that if you are famous enough and rich enough to pay for the best lawyers and witnesses who will tell the court what a wonderful person you are, you can get away with anything, including murder.