Author Topic: Oscar Pistorius trial commences in Pretoria, South Africa. Includes Court video.  (Read 84326 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Mr Moderator

Oscar Pistorius trial: Nel covers all options

by Andrew Harding
BBC Africa correspondent
8 August 2014

It was an impressive display of sustained incredulity.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel, standing in courtroom D for most of Thursday searched for new words - "mendacity", "deceitfulness", "a snowball" of lies - to describe Oscar Pistorius's version of events the night he killed Reeva Steenkamp.

The man so-often dubbed the pit-bull for his ruthlessly effective cross-examinations spent a good deal of time reading from his written arguments, which were surprisingly flowery in tone and language. It was like finding out your favourite boxer is a closet Proust fan.

But this was an important day in a long trial. And Mr Nel cast his net wide. He raced from one "lie" to the next, seldom pausing for breath as he sought to direct Judge Thokosile Masipa towards the strongest aspects of the state's case.

There were the neighbours who heard a woman screaming. There was the forensic evidence suggesting Reeva Steenkamp had eaten a late night meal. There was the disputed crime scene itself. And the defence's "incompetent" expert witnesses.

But most of all, there was Oscar Pistorius himself, his "weak" performance as a witness, and his "contradictory" explanations for what happened that night.

Where the prosecutor struck home most convincingly, in my opinion, was when he focused directly on those four closely grouped gunshots in Pistorius's toilet door, and argued that nobody who shoots repeatedly into such a confined space can possibly pretend that they did not intend to kill someone, whether a girlfriend or a perceived intruder.

Mr Nel went on to insist that Mr Pistorius was guilty of pre-meditated murder, because he'd had time to plan his actions as he grabbed his gun and advanced towards the bathroom.

But like a merchant seeking to seal the deal - any deal - Mr Nel offered Justice Masipa a range of other choices. Three more, by my count. From the deliberate murder of either of an intruder or Reeva Steenkamp (dolus directus), to the unintended but foreseeable murder of either of them (dolus eventualis), to culpable homicide.

In the past I've accused the prosecution of failing to offer the court a coherent version of what it believes happened that night, and of focusing instead of simply trying to discredit Pistorius's own version.

Perhaps it's not a bad strategy. Still, it was disappointing to see Mr Nel once again dodging the opportunity to sell a comprehensive theory.

The state has produced plenty of damaging claims about Oscar Pistorius's version of events and about his character - not least his refusal to accept blame for the other two gunshot incidents. But it has consistently avoided weaving them into a minute-by-minute timeline. Instead, Thursday seemed mostly to be a rehash of things Mr Nel has been saying for some time in court.

So for me, the real focus of these final arguments will be Friday's speech by defence lawyer Barry Roux. He's been eclipsed for some time by Mr Nel's show-stealing performance, but we were given a glimpse on Thursday of the sort of detailed timeline Mr Roux has been preparing.

I suspect Judge Masipa will find Mr Roux's timeline quite persuasive. But that won't affect the core question of this trial - the question that could yet see Oscar Pistorius convicted of murder even on his own version of events.

How could you fire four shots into a small cubicle and not intend to kill someone?

www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-28698620
« Last Edit: August 08, 2014, 01:38:04 PM by Mr Moderator »

Offline Mr Moderator

Sorry for the unavoidable absence.......So pleased the video diary was kept going  8@??)(


Good to have you back Anna.  Thank you for again posting the video diaries.



Offline Anna

Good to have you back Anna.  Thank you for again posting the video diaries.

Thank you, You are welcome.
Its good to be back, although I may have a few more absent spells. Fingers crossed I do not for some time.
 Thank you for keeping up the diary  ?{)(**

I think the arguments so far are in no way going to sway the Judges decision.....
Its murder IMO, but what degree, we must wait to find out.
“You should not honour men more than truth.”
― Plato

Offline Tim Invictus

Jesus wept! Oscar faces his own private 911!

Over a month to wait for the bloody judge to issue her judgement! What a ridiculous delay. This is hardly a complicated case .... justice delayed is justice denied! I am not impressed with the judge or the SA court system!


Offline Anna

Jesus wept! Oscar faces his own private 911!

Over a month to wait for the bloody judge to issue her judgement! What a ridiculous delay. This is hardly a complicated case .... justice delayed is justice denied! I am not impressed with the judge or the SA court system!

Toooooooooooooooooooooooo  Long!
“You should not honour men more than truth.”
― Plato

Offline Tim Invictus

Really annoying x 2!

Roux saying stumpy didn't have the flight response available as he is disabled! Gggrrrrr! Stumpy could have left the bedroom with Reeva thru the access door rather than walk along the passage way to the bathroom! According to Oscar the house alarm was on so even better ... he could have opened the bedroom door to escape with his gun for protection and set off the alarm at the same time!

Arnold Pistorius! Gggggrrrrrr! Stumpy's uncle slapping Roux on the back after the trial ended with a big smile on his face. He also called Roux 'a Mercedes' against Gerrie Nell 'a Fiat' and pointed to his stumpy nephew saying he wants him back at the Olympics!

Terrible behaviour in front of Reeva's family! I really hope justice is done and OP gets the harshest sentence!

Offline John

Oscar Pistorius trial - Barry Roux closing arguments for the defence

In his closing submission, Barry Roux, lead counsel for the defence, told Judge Thokozile Masipa that Pistorius' experience over many years as a disabled person – his lower legs were amputated when he was a baby – was comparable to that of an abused woman who kills her husband: "She has had enough … The cup is full to the brim."

Roux said the state had been wrong to pursue the charge of murder after assertions made at the initial bail hearing – that he was wearing his prostheses at the time he fired the gun, and that he was standing close to the toilet door as he fired into it – had been disproven. "Culpable homicide [manslaughter] is what the trial should have been about – but unfortunately it was not."

Pistorius' team submitted two lines of defence, despite criticism from prosecutor Gerrie Nel, who called them "not just mutually exclusive but mutually destructive". The accused should be acquitted, Roux argued, because if the firing of the gun was purely reflexive – because he was startled by a noise – he lacked criminal capacity.

Alternatively, it was "putative private defence" (self-defence) because Pistorius believed he was in imminent danger: that an intruder was coming out of the toilet. He had no motive to kill Steenkamp, Roux insisted, telling the court the relationship had been "loving".

The state's case that the couple were awake in the early hours arguing was dealt a "fatal" blow by evidence that a security guard went past the house at 2.20am and heard no arguing, the defence maintained.

Pistorius' hopes could hinge on a forensic timeline of events constructed by the defence to show that the state's version – in which the fatal shots were fired at 3.17am – cannot be true.

The defence says noises heard by neighbours at 3.17am were the thuds of the cricket bat as Pistorius broke down the toilet door. The gunshots, it contends, were several minutes earlier.
Advertisement

The timing might prove crucial in determining whether screams heard by neighbours on the Silver Woods estate were those of Steenkamp or, as the defence claims, Pistorius, who is said to sound like a woman when distressed.

Roux asked the court: "If the shots were, as submitted by the state, at 3.17am, would it make sense that before firing the shots the accused would shout 'help, help, help'?"

But in a surprise move, Roux said Pistorius should be found guilty of a separate charge of negligently discharging a firearm in a restaurant. Pistorius had pleaded not guilty.

In a brief response, Nel said Pistorius should be convicted of premeditated murder: "The accused intended to kill a human being. He knew there was a human being in that toilet. That's his evidence … He is guilty of murder. There must be consequences for it."

www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/08/pistorius-murder-judge-verdict-september
« Last Edit: August 09, 2014, 04:09:34 AM by John »
A malicious prosecution for a crime which never existed and an exposé of egregious malfeasance by public officials.
The truth never changes with the passage of time.

Offline John

Pistorius verdict 5 weeks away

(CNN) -  The defense for Oscar Pistorius used the final day of closing arguments in a South African courtroom Friday to painstakingly go through a time line of the night he killed his girlfriend, revisiting phone records and witness testimony to back his version of events.

The second and last day of closing arguments caps months of proceedings that have seen the Olympic sprinter gag, vomit and break down in heaving sobs. The judge will consider her verdict over the next five weeks and announce it next month, she said.

Pistorius sent a message to supporters through his Twitter account at the end of court Friday: "Thank you to my loved ones and those that have been there for me, who have picked me up and helped me through everything."

CNN legal analyst Kelly Phelps said she was impressed with the way defense attorney Barry Roux completed his closing arguments. "We've always said they'd need to come out with their 'A' game, and that is certainly what they did here today," Phelps said.

Roux alleged the prosecution made mistakes and handled evidence poorly. He laid out details of the noises from that night: the gunshots, screams and pounding -- the last from Pistorius' using a cricket bat to break down the door. Witness testimony shows an anxious man screamed for help three times, which supports Pistorius' case, according to Roux. The defense reminded the court that Pistorius, who uses prostheses to walk after his lower legs were amputated as a child, suffers from anxiety. Roux compared the Olympian's situation to that of an abuse victim who suddenly snaps after undergoing suffering for a while.

Roux argued that Pistorius should be evaluated as a "reasonable" disabled person with anxiety, not as an ordinary "reasonable man." If the court finds that Postorius was "reasonable," then he must be acquitted, he said.  In an attempt to discredit the prosecution's version of events, Roux also accused investigators of tampering with the crime scene by moving items around, including a fan and Steenkamp's jeans. In police pictures, the items appeared in different spots from where the Olympian said they'd been, Roux said. Roux pointed out that the burden of proof is on the state in this case, and accused the state of avoiding certain important facts and ignoring other reasonable scenarios.

Making his final arguments, prosecutor Gerrie Nel accused the Olympian's attorneys of presenting a defense that did not jibe with the facts.

Prosecution: Pistorius lied

Nel, renowned for his bulldog tenacity in questioning, maintained that Pistorius was dishonest and his testimony was "devoid of any truth." Using a metaphor reflecting Pistorius' career on the track, Nel said the athlete had "dropped the baton of truth."

"Without the baton of truth, you cannot complete the race," he said.  Nel said the Olympian "displayed a blatant disregard for the law and the lives of others." In Pistorius' version of events, the prosecutor said, the athlete said he went to the bathroom door and fired with the intention to kill or hit, believing there was someone behind it.  Before he fired, he was armed with a high-powered weapon and was "in charge" of the situation, Nel said.  He said Pistorius should not go free regardless of whether the court believes he thought there was an intruder behind the door.

Calling the Olympic sprinter an "appalling" witness, Nel said the evidence from the bullet holes in the bathroom door suggests Pistorius had time to think, and that he looked down the gun sight as he fired.

But Roux referenced Nel's metaphors in disputing the accusations. "There's no crumbling of the mosaic [Nel's metaphor for the defense's circumstantial evidence] or dropping of the baton," he said.

Judge's decision

The closing arguments lower the curtain on a courtroom drama that, since March, has seen the Olympic sprinter weep and retch in the courtroom as disturbing evidence was presented.  Proceedings were delayed while Pistorius underwent a court-ordered, month long psychiatric evaluation.  He was depressed, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and is a suicide risk, the doctors concluded. But he did not appear to have a history of abnormal aggression or psychopathic tendencies linked to "rage-type murders in intimate relations."

The judge will give her verdict on 11th September 2014.

www.edition.cnn.com/2014/08/08/world/africa/pistorius-closing-arguments/?c=&page=3
« Last Edit: August 27, 2014, 01:04:59 PM by John »
A malicious prosecution for a crime which never existed and an exposé of egregious malfeasance by public officials.
The truth never changes with the passage of time.

Offline abs

OK, we´re waiting....
Here he is - I get such an EWW feeling every time I see his ugly face with those ice cold eyes and hear his pathetic voice! What on earth did beautiful Reeva see in this idiot?!

Offline Tim Invictus

What do you think the wording will be Abbs? And what do you think it should be?


Offline abs

What do you think the wording will be Abbs? And what do you think it should be?

The verdict?
You shouldn´t ask me about the wording! I am not English, you know that!!  8(0(*
I don´t trust this judge - she "babied" OP too much during the trial.

Offline Tim Invictus

The verdict?
You shouldn´t ask me about the wording! I am not English, you know that!!  8(0(*
I don´t trust this judge - she "babied" OP too much during the trial.

I must have early onset Alzheimer's Abs, by 'wording' I meant 'verdict'!

Offline abs

I have a feeling the verdict will be too mild for my taste! I also think he might receive some special treatment because of his handicap, perhaps he is allowed to serve his sentence at home (house arrest) with an electronig foot tagging.... wait......, he HAS no foot!  8(0(*

Offline Tim Invictus

I have a feeling the verdict will be too mild for my taste! I also think he might receive some special treatment because of his handicap, perhaps he is allowed to serve his sentence at home (house arrest) with an electronig foot tagging.... wait......, he HAS no foot!  8(0(*

 @)(++(*

I hope you're wrong Abs .... the judge has guidelines she must follow. Premed murder is life min. 25 years. Murder is life min. 15 years. Only culpable homicide could the judge give a lenient sentence like tagging and that judge is know for harsh sentences.

Even if the judge believes OP though it was a burglar in the loo it has (imo) still got to be murder because you can't just shoot someone unless you believe your life in imminent danger. We know the door didn't open so I believe it has ti be at least murder.

It will be fascinating watching on 11 Sept. Fingers crossed for justice!

Offline abs

@)(++(*

I hope you're wrong Abs .... the judge has guidelines she must follow. Premed murder is life min. 25 years. Murder is life min. 15 years. Only culpable homicide could the judge give a lenient sentence like tagging and that judge is know for harsh sentences.

Even if the judge believes OP though it was a burglar in the loo it has (imo) still got to be murder because you can't just shoot someone unless you believe your life in imminent danger. We know the door didn't open so I believe it has ti be at least murder.

It will be fascinating watching on 11 Sept. Fingers crossed for justice!

If OP receives a regular prison sentence and he has to serve in jail, he will have to be in isolation - if that is an option, the prisons are heavily over-crowded. He is easy prey with those stumps. South African jails are known for brutality among the inmates.

Here is an article, they claim they can deal with his special needs as a handicapped person: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/02/21/world/africa/south-africa-prison-conditions/index.html

And Pistorius, if he is eventually convicted and jailed, should find that his particular medical needs as a double amputee are taken into account, she said.

This could mean that he is sent to a prison with better medical facilities or wheelchair access, she suggested.

According to the bill of rights, prisoners are entitled to "be detained in conditions that are consistent with human dignity, including at least exercise and the provision, at state expense, of adequate accommodation, nutrition, medical treatment."

Correctional Services Department spokesman Koos Gerber said South Africa's detention facilities, whether for remand prisoners or those serving prison terms, "can accommodate people with any disabilities."