Translated from the Beeld (29 Oct 2014), available at: Seekoei.Beeld
Story by Marida Fitzpatrick, translated (in a flash) by Darron West.
With regards the appeal – I assume the primary focus has to be the “person behind the door” rather than “Reeva”. Judge Masipa somehow got confused between these two conceptions.
I also assume the appeal can look into the reductio ad absurdums within the Oscar Pistorius cross examinations which I believe to be significant.
One thing that has consistently bothered me was Masipa’s statement that Pistorius would not have had the time to concoct his intruder story during the course of events that night, and was therefore likely to be telling the truth. But the scenario – rushing around his house with a gun In an attempt to ward off intruders – is nothing new to Pistorius. An “uncle” of his, an old family friend, said in a television interview during the trial that he believed Oscar’s story because his son had spent night in that same house with Pistorius, and when he created noise whilst using the bathroom, P came rushing out with gun in hand…ready to “protect” himself and the boy. While this interview was meant to bolster Pistorius’ claims of mistaking Reeva for an attacker, it illustrates that there would have been little time necessary for P to come up with his general story. Aimee Pistorius has also said that immediately, when she learned of the shooting but before she heard her brother’s version of events, she “knew” what happened because it was so inkeeping with his character. His story, like most fiction, probably has a lot of truth woven in.
Yeah I found that annoying as well. The state didn’t really argue it either though. But in reality what he was saying to everyone that morning consisted of the phrase “I thought she was an intruder” – there weren’t any other details at all. All the detail came 5 days later as his lawyers successfully asked for bail hearing to be moved from the Friday to following Tuesday because he was traumatised.
I find it very strange Oscar did not attempt to explain more of what happened to friends on the scene: Surely there would be a sense of wanting to communicate how such a terrible thing happened?
By Tuesday, Oscar’s lawyers had already hired 5 forensic scientists, he did everything from attend the autopsy to comb the house taking photographs and even finding a bullet casing which the police missed – something far beyond the reaches of the ordinary citizen. Also Roux argued his lawyer friends said he ‘must be crazy to submit a version’ – but the reality is Oscar would not have got bail without one.
So … was the version perfect? Well no! It had to be changed. Lots of changes were made, including really significant ones: His final brief chat with reeva was added, and further whispering to Reeva; also Reeva’s final significant “action” before being shot was added – the “door slam” – and this had to wait right up until his oral evidence. Many other changes may be noted. So there wasn’t “a” version – and this is an aspect of the case which the judgement absolutely fails to engage with, on any level – it is not even remarked upon.
In fact, they actually mixed and matched pieces of the story from different times, taking pieces from the bail (e.g. the ‘movement in the cubicle’ – rather than the ‘perceived door opening’), and other pieces from the oral evidence (e.g. the ‘door slam’), and describing it, without qualification of any kind, as “his version”.
Considering all three panel members has legal training i find it surprising that none of them would seek to clarify the term “his version”, given there was a lot of ADMISSIBLE evidence to the effect there were contradictions between the various version(s) presented. One would surely expect some careful discussion of how and why these contradictions were deemed tolerable, as a part of accepting the veracity of the version. No discussion was included. Instead., the a material weight was given to repetitions of “i thought she was an intruder” as evidence for his “version” that “he thought she was an intruder” – that’s circular, and the law states that a statement cannot be evidence for itself, hence, previous “consistent evidence” is inadmissible! The judgement got the weightings the wrong way round, ignoring admissible contradictions, but allowing inadmissible repetitions!
Would it make any difference to the outcome? That’s another story. But the reality is there are frustrating problems with the logic of the reasoning which makes it difficult to feel satisfied in the final analysis. I had really expected good things as well: I really liked Masipa’s writing style for the Weskoppies evaluation, and in general, I like Masipa! I just wish the judgement had been more rigorous and it was definitely a let down for anyone who had taken an active interest in all the theoretical legal matters in this trial!
Nel needed to be Roux like with minute detail on Ps version. N also needed great investigative team. Needed detailed re-enacted in same conditions.Sometimes seeing not believing. Duration, wording and quality of Ps shouts and screams needed to be replicated. Precise time taken for each step/activity required. Extreme detail will usually corner a liar. Needed to search for source of female raised voice on and off between 2 and 3 and presumably not heard again after 3. Needed abusive relationship expert evidence. Needed to test if window opening by someone from inside can really be heard by someone in the bedroom. Need to ask neighbors whether saw window already open. Finger/palm prints on window? Pressure housekeeper to come clean. Protecting employability as discreet or employer! What does P normally put over LED light? Not jeans! Case needed to be much more tightly detailed and professionally handled by Police/State. Of course, this was no easy task and you often don’t know what you will need until after the trial. Roux had a bit of help from Masipa.
Where was housekeeper from 6pm to 9 pm during dinner time?
GREAT observation Jack Smith! You are on the money. BTW does anyone know where that gardener, one “frank” may be? If such exists.
One of the accepted facts of this case is that the bathroom door was locked but curiously neither defense nor the judge addressed this aspect of the State’s case as indicating the occurrence of domestic violence in that house on that fateful night
So guys do you think South Africa should create a new department of state for academically inclined lawyers to do “inspections” on random judgements and look for legal errors? :-)))
If there had not been so much focus on this case, would it have generated minute attentions to details by many legal minds? And would this not be a good thing in general – there must be THOUSANDS of legal errors in the judgements every year, which prosecutors leave because they have more pressing work to engage with.
There is no need for an additional process – the Appeal system is the safety net.
My own view was I didn’t understand why this was broadcast to the global public. At the end of the day this is small salacious fare. I would rather have broadcast cases of political corruption, business scandals, military scandals – but these cases invariably are held in camera … yet are more relevant to the public.
Running through the cases which have been televised, and became globally famous (or at the very least well known), mainly they were all murder trials – OJ, Amanda Knox, Jodi Arias, George Zimmerman, OP, Michael Dunn, … and four of these has the “self-defense” debate at its heart.
These cases tend to excite a much greater interest level if there is also a love interest angle (OJ, Knox, Arias, OP) that if it is simply a matter of unjustified assault (Zimmerman, Dunn). That is what makes them salacious but it is also what ensures the engagement of a much larger section of the public.
They could broadcast military hearings and business scandals and to be sure there would be an audience but it would be much smaller – i guess relationships are a universal “human condition” so offers a much bigger draw in terms of people trying to understand what might have gone wrong in certain cases.
BBC Parliament channel in the UK televised “public hearings” such as “select committee inquiries”. It can be interesting, if you have an interest in the specific matter under discussion, but for the casual viewer, the proceedings will appear remote and ponderous. The viewing figures are low.
The TVs might have disturbed the process of cross-examining in certain ways, perhaps for Nel in particular. Most of the damage to the judicial process was done in the first few days in terms of things like “bloodied cricket bats” which would have had an adverse effect on witness reliability. It’s unfortunate and a little bit scary that this “derivative theory” has caught on to the degree that it has.
Find myself in agreement that the “global interest” levels are a kind of punishment because most “offenders” can just disappear into obscurity after serving a sentence, but that’s not possible for OP. Yes, he did wrong, but most certainly, the public has “learned a lot” about the law in the course of his trial, at the cost for him having his psychology dissected. So there is a sense of an equilibrium because of that (at least compared to other killers).
The Lord Chief Justice in the UK has ordered an “inquiry” into the effect of TVs in this case because there is a pressure group for “open justice” in Britain that would like to see many more of the them televised. The majority of the judiciary is opposed.
Personal feeling after participating in following this trial: Some cases should be recorded but NOT televised; rather, edited into the form of a documentary AFTER the fact, when the sentencing has already been done, and it is too later for a media storm to be whipped up about whatever is going on day to day.
This would fulfil “Open Justice” and it would show all the highlights but because the editing happens after the judgement, it is possible to present things in a much more balanced way that reflects how and why the judge or jury reached their decision.
There is no need for daily updates because it’s the “whole trial” that determines the outcome. It isn’t how a judge approaches a case and it’s not how a jury would be directed to approach a case, so why should the media approach a case that way as though it were a soap opera?
@Jason. No issue with journalists “tweeting” quotes during cross-exam, that seems like a good method to capture interesting thoughts day to day. The problem is the public cannot all be “instructed” as though they were in a gallery – the court protocol becomes unenforceable in the wider world. Even with contempt of court rules binding to a region it still won’t be effective globally (and who would regulate it anyway).
So it’s really just allowing a sort of conversational chaos to accumulate around the events, which would never occur in the gallery, where there is much higher degree of decorum. I think that’s my biggest issue with TV trials… even in the case of some really shocking crimes, courtroom still operates with great decorum to study the events. That sense of decorum is lost if the floodgates are opened to an ongoing global chatter of reactions as concerned with witness’ & lawyers personalities and hairstyles as with their actual evidence.
I’m all for freedom of speech, but I don’t believe this “democratic chaos” can be good for justice in the end.
I have put together some comments in the previous blog entry suggesting issues to address that could point to OP knowing that the person behind the door was Reeva … and personally I would have been satisfied if Judge Masipa had taken a more harsher line and found OP guilty of murder. He could have always appealed with his billionaire family connections and it would have given him an opportunity to be more candid as to what exactly happened and dispel the sense that he was lying or reconstructing events.
I blame the police investigation team for not properly locking down the shooting scene, allowing OP to be alone in the bedroom / bathroom afterwards (but I think that happened before the police arrived), allowing OP and others to remove stuff from the shooting scene including mobile phones. I am not sure how tied the State prosecution team were with the State Police and their potential incompetences. I am not sure at what stage the state prosecution team discovered their bat first – gunshots second scenario and their woman’s screams after the first set of noises scenario was in danger but they should have accepted it and changed tack – because it was disastrous for them.
Even if OP knowingly shot and killed Reeva I am satisfied that he can get off the murder wrap if the police and state were suitably incompetent to lose evidence and not make the best of what can be proven. This happens all the time and OP is just one of many and nothing special when it comes to due process and the law of the land.
I accept that a state that allows citizens to own guns and to shoot and kill people legally is going to face difficulties in such cases as mistaken identity and just plain stupidity and gung-ho ness of people. In Britain we have people killing other people by dangerous driving and often they do not even serve custodial sentences.
I recognise that people can make use of these difficulties to get away with the perfect murder – although they will always be tainted with having killed someone (whether by dangerous driving or by guns).
I recognise that life is tough and sh%t happens.
Going back to OP I have looked at interviews he has had in the past (pre Reeva shooting) and he seems like a “good bloke”, thoughtful and considerate and impassioned in what he does. Others have looked back at the same interview and say they see evidence of his base evilness but I don’t.
I know that many people who actually have got to know him behind the scenes think he is genuine and remorseful – but puts on a protective shield when exposed to the cameras … such as this reporter … http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2750850/Im-convinced-Oscar-Pistorius-innocent-says-journalist-spent-time-time-athlete-murder-trial.html
I think the psychiatrists that analysed him thought he was a genuine and sincere person.
A few things in support of OPs version of events (mistaken identity)
a) ladders were outside in his yard
b) There was an interview of a friend or colleague on the youtube (I can’t seem to find it now), where this male person says he was staying in OPs house in the next bedroom. In the middle of the night this person got out to do something with the fans made a banging noise (the fan fell over), then suddenly he heard OP in his room, gun in hand, still in the dark, on his stumps, asking if everything was okay.
c) The story of him getting out of the bed to bring in the fans and draw the curtains, then the jeans over the blue light scenario seems so stretched – that maybe if he was to come up with a story to cover his tracks it may have been easier to just say they slept with the curtains closed, he woke up with a start hearing a noise in the bathroom, and just went off to investigate without bothering to wake Reeva, then fired impulsively when hearing a noise in the toilet after seeing the window open … he could just claim he was thinking straight having woken up early in the morning. So the weirdness of his actual story may in itself suggest some semblance of truth.
d) His basic story did hold up with the phone records.
e) This all occurred within about 15 minutes or less of OP waking up at 3 in the morning (we have to assume OPs basic story here) – yet some of the discussion indicates that minutes were hours etc – people were on the scene pretty quickly by 3.22 am.
But yes we have to accept that as outsiders we are not going to know what happened and just have to accept the uncertainties. The only major issue I have with the case is Judge Masipa’s reasoning as picked up by James Grant.
“he could just claim he was NOT thinking straight”
Jason, also if he’d just stood there and said: I am so sorry, I was born without legs, I made the mistake of loving a very beautiful world-wise girl, m’lady, she couldn’t be with me anymore and she started mocking me (which of course, Reeva would never have done since she’s very refined) and all my life I’ve had to laugh it off and before I knew I just shot her. Then he could’ve held his ears and started wailing. Now THAT would’ve garnered all of our sympathies (to the detriment of Reeva’s character), but we’dve known somehwat of a truth and been really sympathetic towards him and he’d get a light sentence in any case. BUT, alas, I gues that’s how defences make their money – by advising their clients to stay the course – my G-d.
Some of the things I have read in discussions on other websites brings a smile to my face. Such as the scenario that OP “had” to kill Reeva because Reeva had discovered something about OP and was about to reveal it by calling someone. Of course Reeva had only discovered that something that evening or that morning and it was better for OPs reputation to shoot her dead in his bathroom than for it to be revealed. Yes better for OPs reputation that he shoot her dead in his own bathroom. Then to yell out “help help help” to attract the attention of the neighbourhood and to mock her as he prepared to murder her in order to save his reputation.
INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE and HUMAN ERROR
@Jason. In the event where police, witnesses, state, or others, fail to bring enough evidence, or even worse, wrong evidence, to a court room as basis for conviction, the default MUST be the person is given a pass on whatever they were charged with.
It is more important to protect that principle than to convict people, even if they may be guilty. I suspect if more people were concretely aware that the state timeline is probably a huge error then their views on the judgement would be radically altered.
Similar remarks apply to “illogical arguments” – the judge can’t be expected to do all the work of the prosecutors if things do not add up – for example saying, on the one hand, he was on stumps, on the other, they might have been rowing downstairs.
Having said that, there is then the question whether further errors are cropping up in the judgement itself, and that seems to apply nonetheless.
So information is being degraded at each link in the chain here, which is to be expected given it is nothing but human beings working, often multiple jobs at the same time. It’s only academics and voyeurs that has the time to painstakingly work through things as a matter of pure interest really. I’m sure the majority of criminal cases has plenty of “errors” in that never see the light of day.
Perhaps this is one of the really valuable lessons to come out of the trial?
There is a saying comparing justice to sausages: For anyone who loves them, it is best you don’t see how they are made… 😉
@Jason. There’s loads of evidence for his version. Which is what makes it all the more interesting lol 🙂
Yes. The other thing that I haven’t seen a lot of in the various discussions is recognition that something loud must have woken up all or most of those witnesses at three am in the morning. The statistics of so many people waking up / being awake at 3 am centred around the OP household does suggest something loud emanating from the OP household waking them up rather than mere chance. Yet some insist that there was only one set of audible noises because many of the witnesses say they only heard one set of noises.
I have also seen some insisting there must have been three sets of bangs (bat striking the door first (or guns being fired at the BEDROOM door) , then the gunshots then the bat). Some have insisted that OP battered the bathroom door partially down so that he could see Reeva behind the door, then fired the four bullets (when he could see her behind the door) and then prising out the rest of the panel to get at Reeva – in order to be able to agree with the State that it was the second (and or final) set of noises that were the gunshots.
I put these many versions of visualising what may have happened as testimony to the creative genius of people.
This brings me to the defence’s accusation of the State conflating two separate events to pour scorn at OPs testimony … and I seem to recall the defence having strong arguments to back this accusation up. For the basis of fairness I should add that the State did not know precisely what happened (only OP knew what happened although he may have been in a partly dozy state at the time) and so many of these conflations were probably fishing exercises by the state in order to get OP to say something potentially incriminating.
@Jason. I don’t think the state was conflating to pour scorn.
They just had ~3 people saying “female screams” in a “climax” before some “bangs” and then “stopping” pointing to Reeva being scared before being shot. It’s only after a lot of work that problems become clear – strong enough to ultimately reject it. Perhaps a lack of open-mindedness that something very unexpected/odd had happened while assembling the case leading to a huge, unfortunate error.
That is why Nel sounded so crestfallen in closing arguments trying to explain how this “amazing corroboration” had guided him in leading this evidence (but inwardly suspecting, i have no doubt, that it would fail as a result of defense arguments which accumulated during the trial).
Nel let it go anyway: He didn’t trouble himself to make a version in its place.
The “late shots” is a fantasy world. The real question is what is the reality that is left when that layer of misinformation is stripped away?
Perhaps it looks almost exactly the same to the error but 5 minutes earlier.
Which is bad luck for the state for sure, if so.
“I put these many versions of visualising what may have happened as testimony to the creative genius of people.”
LOL yes most definitely – some of those scenarios were maybe forms of abstract expressionism (a pure emotional chaos). 😉
‘Yes. The other thing that I haven’t seen a lot of in the various discussions is recognition that something loud must have woken up all or most of those witnesses at three am in the morning. The statistics of so many people waking up / being awake at 3 am centred around the OP household does suggest something loud emanating from the OP household waking them up rather than mere chance.’
Definitely. It’s a bit strange because Stipps, Van der Merwes and Nhlengethwas (and some other uncalled witnesses as well) all has 1-2 people waking with a start on 1-4 loud noises. Chances are it’s the same group – the loudest sounds – the gunshots.
But how on earth for Mike’s wife to wake up same time as Annette says on her clock it was just after 3:02 (fast)? And a further red herring: Nhelengethwas did not hear second bangs. These two “facts” held the defense time line at bay in a way.
However start from the loudest noises, the ones causing everyone to wake up, and working from there, suddenly everyone’s descriptions of all their activities makes sense and fits together: Everyone spending similar amounts of time doing things, chatting, getting up, looking out windows, chatting some more, perhaps going around house or maybe back inside, then phoning…because there were loud cries coming up to 3:16ish.
The idea of Mike’s wife and the Stipps waking up at the same time was really not how things seemed with that 3:02 time point. But Dr. Stipp’s evidence should make people doubt it: Why would a doctor spend 15 minutes listening to cries after shots and do nothing such as make a phone call? It’s not realistic. Dr. Stipp and Mr. Nhelengethwa’s activities perfectly match one another and it is very credible they do them at the same time.
Also the Stipps said Mike’s house had “all the lights on”. There was much discussion about his night lights and the nature of the blinds, etc.
Incidentally the two houses that heard the bats: Both south/south-west-facing windows. It was unfortunate they also did not have Mr. Van der Merwe staying over for the night to say “that sounds like Oscar”. Just one of those things where the wrong neighbours were in the wrong houses in order to cause a completely unprecedented strange error. Unique, i am sure, to this case.
Interesting thing to leave you with (I’m signing off these debates now):
Christo Menelaou, a friend of OP’s, he took the last photo of Reeva and Oscar together a few days before she was killed. Nice picture too. He lives on the estate and was woken up, according to his clock, by “3 loud thunder-claps” at … 3:08. Think of all the time that was wasted on 3:02 etc if the actual time was 3:08. And then defense proposed 3:12 since Charles Johnson estimated it as the start of the cries. The judgement concluded shots were at 3:13-3:14 without explanation. This being for the “first bangs”. Everyone else said “around 3”.
I find the Menelaou time point very intriguing as he was the only one to look at a clock actually as he woke up…was his clock accurate? who knows. but it’s like, what else didn’t get brought into court? Shouldn’t it have been a big priority to work out the gun shot time? And why would the state argue for 3:17 if they are aware fo Menelaou? And why wouldn’t the defense call Menelaou either (because he’s too early??). It’s all very intriguing.
“But how on earth for Mike’s wife to wake up same time as Annette says on her clock it was just after 3:02 (fast)? ”
Someone elsewhere suggested the possibility that 3:02 could have been a misreading – that it could have been 3:12. I mean someone waking up early in the morning glancing at the clock – how reliable is that – 100.000% reliable, 99.999% reliable, 95% reliable, 85% reliable. I also have a suggestion – there is something called microsleep – you wake up look at the clock 3:02 am look at it again 3:12 am – you have microslept for 10 minutes. It happens. It has happened to me.
Let’s take a look at Dr Stipps recollection of making phone calls that morning after waking up. In his testimony he says he first called security. Didn’t get through. So called 1110 or something but misdialled, he got a wrong number tone. Then he got through to security and started talking and walking around the room.
The phone record as described by the Defence and accepted by the State was that Dr Stipps called security and got through straight off at 3:15:47 am or something for 15 seconds duration then tried calling 1110 or something at 3:17 and didn’t get through and that it. So at odds with his recollection:
1) he made two calls not three.
2) he got through to security first then made the misdial but his recollection was the opposite.
So that is an indication of how good a medical doctors recollection was – someone who in theory is trained to be observant.
After the phone calls we have the testimony of security (Mr Baba I think) and Dr Stipp coinciding: security came round shortly afterwards – they chatted with Dr Stipp going onto his balcony to chat. Then they both went round to OPs house arriving at 3:22 am. So Dr Stipp made the call to security at 3:15:47 am, misdial at 3:17, then chatted face to face with security, then arrived at Oscars house 3:22 am. That seems to quite at tight schedule.
So Dr Stipp getting up around 3:12 am is more in keeping with the pace he set afterwards as could be independently checked.
That misdial he made: that could be evidence that his brain was still half asleep, or a quarter asleep or just a bit fuzzy. Alternately he just might have big fingers.
@Jason. Yeah that was the point about 3:02 being a “red herring” – along with Nhlengethwas not hearing 2nd set of bangs (the Van der Merwe’s didn’t either). Mrs. Stipp .. I have a few concerns. She wrote down that she herself saw a man and later became sure it was something her husband remarked to her, but not seen with her own eyes. She was fluish. So in general – probably not very reliable evidence. And yes in retrospect the “2 voices at once” must also be wrong.
I think 3:12 is probably another “false” time point (well, a guess), there is no point to pin it to a nearest minute really. Since it was only a “rough estimate” of when cries started.
Most witnesses said “around 3”, one said “before 3:12”, one is “unknown minutes before 3:16”, OP’s lawyers said “5 minutes”, one not called said 3;08, but the judgement said 3:13-14 (i.e. as little as 3 minutes before bats). I am concerned the judgement picked a smaller interval than any of the evidence before the court, because the judgement also noted that the actions after the shots were “prompt” – but this was partly by the creation of facts in the judgement. Dubious.
‘So that is an indication of how good a medical doctors recollection was – someone who in theory is trained to be observant.”
Yeah, but he would have to be kind of Rainman to remember every tiny detail – and yep that applies to OP too – but run through Stipps evidence – far more data than any other witness (except OP) had to contend with (easily 4 times as complicated as Johnson’s, say). The difference between Stipp and OP is Stipp is witness to a scene of which he is picking up fragments, whereas OP has a continuous narrative stream in memory where each step makes sense, so that is somewhat different.
I always liked Stipp: his language was great, very scientific in his observations of the qualities of things, for example, he was the only “state witness” who mainly resisted “screams”, and said things like “cries … in what sounded like the voice of a female” – he didn’t say “a woman’s screams” (initially) – rather “what sounded like a woman”. It’s more objective. So this kind of stuff is really good.
The thing I’ve taken from this trial in terms of witness evidence is that the things which “resonate” are small % of all the stuff the person is saying. The bathroom lights for example, yes very very important to know if this is reliable, but with so much data to process, there has to be a doubt about that because the sense of a “rush” is quite subjective perhaps.
His observations of Reeva very valuable in my view, her dried cornea, and the onset of rigor mortis, this could also assist a pathologist to make an inference to time of shots perhaps.
His observation of OP is also really important, as an independent witness – the fact he had genuine tears “rolling down his face”, this means we can rule out “cold hearted killings”. It must be an accident or a remorseful crime of passion of some kind. These are really the only 2 options.
There is much more to remark in terms of speculating who thought what in the Stipp household and other such things lol but i am going to stick to my word and leave this topic now. NP to chat over email some time if you want to carry it on. I just feel the trial has ended so the whole “public debate” thing is getting a bit past it now.
Good chats, thanks.
@Jason. Just read back a post. Completely understand now your reply about Annette sleeping. Sorry, I had explained my thoughts badly. That’s what i meant to imply!
It’s possible to argue who woke when but I think the “correct” solution actually is nothing other than most households waking up on the shots!
So no matter what anyone else’s evidence says, if people would start from that idea, things do tend to come into agreement well.
So yeah fit things around the FOUR VERY LOUD BANGS and the pieces all slot together, albeit probably at a slightly earlier time point than the state, judgement, or defense, claimed.
Moral of the story if investigating a neighbourhood disturbance with some gunshots then fit all your witnesses waking up to the loudest banging sounds.
I’m genuinely confused as to how a legal expert assisting the state in their appeal could allow absolutely baseless and factually disproven comments to remain on your site.
I was not aware that lay people like us were not allowed to comment here? There was an express window for us to comment in – no? What is the difference between people in the court room gallery and those on the outside? Surely everyone has a right “into” a court, since it is relevant to mankind as a whole. Isn’t that why there is a court in the first place? Definitely not for the few and definitely not for the learned in law only.
Yes Chloe there is a god of free speech but it is weak and needs defending 🙂
The God of Chaos has caused my comment to be posted at the wrong place 😦
Hi Allison, what do you mean by “factually disproven” thank you.
Ps Prof James Grant has made it clear he hasn’t the time at this stage of his life to respond to us so he just asks we be civilised to each other when making comments. He did respond to comments a few months back when he had the time. I have read most of the comments and I have seen nothing wrong with any of them so far. In general they are considerate and well thought out. As per Hegel’s dialectic the best approach to progress is by juxtaposing contrary views and debating them. Best wishes & praise be to the God of Free Speech
Really Jason, there’s a god of free speach? wow! ;))))
If that judge gave reliability to only ONE of GN’s ear witnesses (and as far as I’m concerned Dr. Saayman was also an ear witness saying that it would be impossible for a person NOT to scream when shot in the hip) she would HAVE to have ruled “directus”. Thus she was compelled to throw out every single ear witness (with with NO relation to OP, who went out of a feeling of duty, since what Oscar relayed didn’t make sense to any of them – extremely reluctant very educated witnesses). How could she possibly not even have found a single one of them reliable? At that night? and 5 of them hear a woman screaming for her life? We have to fear the courts now when our loved ones are hurt through ill intent. I don’t care what BR costs per hour or week or month. That judge MUST have made up her mind very early on in the case. It’s too impossible. AND, if she DID scream, then not even thre Law is an ASS, but all of us to believe even “eventualis”. Does common sense not ever apply in a court of law? I am sorry for Oscar Pistorius, a child of circumstance – a very infantile young man, but the court’s opinion is quite off.
Hi Chloe, you need to read the defences HOA or and listen to the defences closing statement to appreciate the reason employed for casting reasonable (to likely) doubt on the four ear witnesses hearing a woman’s scream. Basically the defence brought up other neighbours that didn’t hear a woman’s scream and other neighbours identifying the “scream” to be Oscar Pistorius (the husband who corrected his wife). Also the positioning of the screams with respect to the time line, apparently derived from actual phone records, was strongly suggestive that the screams heard by the neighbours occurred after the gunshots and not before.
The State needed to respond to the defences arguments but they didn’t. Since the phone record was common cause, and since the State were unable to debunk the defences argument, the court was impelled to accept the defences general argument on this matter.
I would have worried if they all heard exactly the same thing at 3 in the morn. Michelle Burger COUNTED the shots. She was awake. There was NOTHING unreliable about her. The ‘other’ 2 lots of neighbours were right alongside of him. Michelle Burger and co had zero reason to be there, other than conscience. I care little for the law and its sub sections. Something sinister happened here and the whole world knows it. As for timelines a mathematical guy worked out that the cricket bat occurred first, hence the arterial spatter on the bottom furniture and if we should believe that she DID in fact die in OP’s arms. This could not have been the case after the last death shot. No matter how fast he could strap on those prosthesis and then bash the door in, she could not have possibly been alive still by then. I’ll stop now.
Hi Chloe, I agree the case was complex.
I do agree that it was likely at least Dolus Eventualis of the person behind the door and possibly a heat of the moment murder of Reeva, but the police and the State needed to work harder on the case.
I agree that the Judge Masipa made a big mistake in law in her reasoning for dismissing DE of the killing of the person behind the door.
I also agree with Judge Greenland in Judge Masipa’s somewhat arbitrary reasoning in getting OP off the hook of a murder charge … after Judge Masipa had judged OP one of the worst witnesses ever to be brought up in front of her: she described him as evasive, having semblances of untruthfulness, and only getting emotional when feelin threatened by Nel’s questioning, rather than getting upset about Reeva …
‘As for timelines a mathematical guy worked out that the cricket bat occurred first, hence the arterial spatter on the bottom furniture and if we should believe that she DID in fact die in OP’s arms.’
Hey Chloe, I’m a mathematical guy, and respectfully have to say that the cricket bats occurred second, and it was him crying out, although Michelle Burger sounds persuasive insofar as she was emotionally affected by the cries she heard, at such a great distance, 180m, there is really not much chance for her to be sure what she heard, and the evidence, no matter how hard you try, cannot sensibly be fitted into any picture of events that morning.
I am 100% definite positive sure that the state made a mistake in sharing in the misinterpretations arising from this evidence.
It was the shots – then him crying and wailing a great deal, which is easy to imagine as he is an emotional person often it seems – and then it was the bats. This i agree with the defense is proven “beyond a reasonable doubt”.
The next question is whether or not he shot at a perceived intruder or Reeva in the first instance before all that crying took place. It could be either. The court found it was a perceived intruder, but opinion is divided in the wider world as to what took place.
In practical terms: The purpose of the appeal is not to further test between those options but rather to determine what the boundaries are in regard to four shots through a locked door as opposed to a momentary slip in concentration. This comes down to debating the judge’s specific findings about a variety of legal principles which might or might not add up to a proof of “dolus eventualis”. It’s going to be a dry and technical process.
That’s all the appeal will be looking at.
“Dr. Saayman was also an ear witness saying that it would be impossible for a person NOT to scream when shot in the hip”
That is a fair point but I think the police and state should have worked harder on estimating a duration time for the four shots being fired … to show that there was enough time between forming a scream after receiving a bullet to the hip (was this the first shot?) and having her life more or less ended by the bullet to the head (the fourth bullet). It is unclear to me why Reeva was standing up in front of the door rather than hiding behind the wall that afforded some protection from a screaming Oscar just 2 to 3 metres away.
Jason, I reckon she stood there because she thought she was hiding from a cricket bat onslaught? Possibly never expected the gun to be used. Perhaps THAT’s what he went back for . By then it was easy to open the door. What GN needed was a mathematician who went to some trouble with the time lines. BR knew no-one cared overly about that, thus HE made a big schpieel about it? Cheers Jason
Hi Chloe: In James Grant previous blog “Unsuccessful Attempts to Justify Judge Masipa’s Errors (Revised & Expanded)” I made several comments including two linked comments in which I attempted to prove that OP knew Reeva was in the bathroom based on OP’s own testimony and the common cause evidence and without the need to refer at all to a woman’s scream nor an argument.
I don’t think I was able to persuade TIM of the irrefutability of my reasoning but if I was paid a million pounds or something then I would put in the effort to fill in the details (including a mathematical model for incorporating OPs testimony and the common cause evidence).
[…] http://criminallawza.net/2014/10/29/the-seekoie-hurdle/ […]
The cynic in me wonders whether the Seekoei hurdle is the reason why the startle defense did not lead to a full acquittal.
The person who was startled here, is REEVA, she ran for her life. Many women make the mistake of running to the toilet – it’s a comon occurence in life threatening times and they find themselves trapped there. This court system frightens me, since we live in a criminal ridden country and if this kind of ruling is made, there is NO hope for any of us, especially women who have to face the wrath of a violent husband everyday.
MOST MERCIFUL SENTENCE
1. False evidence on state of mind while firing did not lead to foresight of the reasonable man being imputed.
– had he not taken to the stand it would have been, so false evidence is better than no evidence.
2. False evidence meant the court need not consider lesser included charges but gave benefit and did so, constructing a scenario arguably consistent with culpable homicide namely grievous wounding of intruder.
3. And while 1 bullet at chest height would be imputed as “dolus directus” four bullets at waist height was found to be less than “eventualis”.
4. Finally having established by hook and crook that it is culpable homicide the court then exercised it’s perogative to apply mercy once again in choosing the longest “short” sentence subject to the 1/6 sentence time rule, giving a jail time of just 10 months if he behaves himself.
This being despite the offense lying on the “boundary” to a charge with 3-fold longer sentence and not subject to the 1/6 rule.
1st Mercy could be due to wrong evidence and harsh charges
2nd one could be due to the trauma / tragedy of the case
3rd one could be due to being young and a first time offender.
What’s the reason for Mercy #4? I reckon it’s ‘cos he’s Oscar. 🙂 lol.
A man with no legs CAN only fire at waist height. BUT I don’t belive that either. I do believe that the cricket bat was used first otherwise she would not have died in his arms. Dr. Saayman said the last bullet killed her instantaneously and he was still “socalled” putting on his prosthesis by then. Why don’t prosecutors have a mathematician on their teams for time lines.
Very interesting – thanks.
Another point: Is there a second bind, in relation to what the original charge was?
I really do not know the answer to this but worth checking as there are 3 levels of included charge here rather then 2, and it is the middle one that it is in dispute, not the original:
So if the original was Murder (“premeditated”) could you appeal that THIS charge level was acquitted to a competent charge due to a legal error – but not necessarily appeal that it should have been the middle level = “dolus eventualis” because that was not the original charge?
I just don’t know what i saw the phrase “original charge” somewhere and it got me thinking.
Oh well, then women will just simply keep on being killed off. Very simple. Others will plead the same as Oscar and ear witnesses will be thrown out lock stock and barrel, even experts like Saayman and Mangeni. The law is an ass over and over again.
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