Trials, tribulations of Pistorius

WE are now five days into the long-awaited trial of Oscar Pistorius which is playing out in the North Gauteng court in Pretoria. Not since the OJ Simpson trial has a murder trial captured the hearts and imaginations of so many.

Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius was born on the November 22 1986 to Sheila and Hank Pistorius. At 11 months he had his legs amputated. However what makes his story endearing is that Pistorius rose above this adversity to become a Paralympian sprint runner.

He made history by being the first amputee to compete in the Summer 2012 Olympics mainstream race alongside world champions like Chris Brown and Usain Bolt.

However, he quickly went from Blade Runner to Blade Gunner when news broke out of the tragic shooting on February 14 2013: “The St Valentine’s Day Massacre of Reeva Steenkamp”.

Pistorius purports it was an accident; that he mistakenly shot her thinking it was an intruder.

Many, (me included) think it was premeditated murder. I am not a lawyer, but I am pretty familiar with some tenets of the law, one of which is the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

However, I am like many others who have tried Pistorius and found him guilty of murder. For me, his guilt is based on the simple and maybe superfluous observations. For starters this was a new relationship which was only three months old and we all know how hot new relationships burn.

As such, I would not expect the couple to lie miles apart in bed. If anything they would be spooning like the crazy in love couple they were purported to be.

For anyone who has ever shared a bed with another (loved) person will corroborate that you aware of the movements of your partner whether it’s getting out of bed or turning to face the other side. And most of us will agree if we hear some strange noises in the middle of the night, instinct will make us reach for the one lying closest to us . . . “Did you hear that?” or “Wake up! What is that sound?”

Should that person not be there you would first establish their whereabouts before grabbing a gun and getting ready to shoot. My second gripe with this Pistorius story is the locked door.

Why would a girl at her boyfriend’s house enter the bathroom and lock the door? This is someone you are intimate with? Who has carnal knowledge of you?

Thirdly why was Pistorius shooting through a locked door. If the door was locked and he was not in the face of clear and imminent danger why did he not call out for help?

At the time of the shooting incident Pistorius lived in Silverwoods estate, a prestigious gated, security estate with controlled access. Why did he not alert the guards that he believed there could be in an intruder in the house before opening fire?

Or if he really was trigger happy why did he not fire a warning shot into the air? The final thing that baffles me is that in this entire drama not once did Reeva utter a word. Did she stand or sit in the bathroom in muted silence while gunshots rang?

Neighbours who have testified thus far attest to hearing anguished screams of a frightened woman. Yet the defence debunks this purporting that Reeva could not have screamed because the fired shots had left her brain damaged. I tend to wonder how they know with such accuracy which shot left her brain damaged. It could have easily been the third or the fourth?

However, I could surmise on this all day, but ultimately we have to let justice take its course. The law says everyone is entitled to a fair trial, Pistorius included.

Experience has shown that the fairness of the justice system leaves a lot to be desired; especially in an era where money can buy you the best counsel and one can easily get away with murder.

This is why it doesn’t surprise me when communities and families go vigilante and take the law into their own hands and mete out their own version of justice. You see at the end of it all a life was lost; a life that can never be replaced.

Steenkamp is but one of many women who die mindlessly at the hands of their lovers. May her soul rest in peace. I hope this trial will finally bring much-needed closure to her family.

As for Pistorius, I sincerely wonder if he’ll ever be able to rise above this tribulation even if he were acquitted.

Oscar-Pistorius-and reeva

Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius


Sue Nyathi is the author of the novel The Polygamist. You can follow her on Twitter @SueNyathi

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