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The Oscar Pistorius Trial-observations from an outsider.

Updated on March 22, 2014


What happened on Valentine night?


From worldwide hero to fallen star. He made the front page of Time magazine twice. Once as an Olympic champion who overcame his disability to win gold in the Olympics for disabled athletes and even qualified for the normal Olympics. A name on every follower of athletics and many others lips. A second time as someone who shot his girlfriend. In February last year came the shocking news that this fearless competitor had shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine Day. His defence was that in a state of panic he mistook her for an intruder and shot her through the locked bathroom door. A claim that most clear thinking people find extremely difficult to believe.

As a different picture of this athlete started to become obvious he seemed to be a person with many flaws. Breaking the law as a speed freak in his high powered car, firing a revolver in a restaurant and being involved in a motor boat accident were some of the incidents that came to light. Sometimes friends took the blame for his reckless behaviour.

Now he sits in the Pretoria High Court charged with premeditated murder and several other gun related charges. It has been called the trial of the century, surely a rather dramatic claim. At the same time there seems to be unprecedented worldwide media interest. This is not a classical murder mystery of “who done it”, but rather a mystery as to “why he done it!”

As the evidence was lead in the court a couple of things have become apparent even to us lay people:

1. Can this case be proved?

Firstly this is going to be a difficult case to prove as the other person who was present during this horror shooting cannot testify. The best evidence in court seems to be the bathroom door. Secondly the police investigation team were obviously pretty useless in gathering evidence but adept at stealing one of Oscar’s watch collection. This gave the defence team the opportunity to have a couple of field days discrediting any evidence they may have actually collected. Fourthly the evidence from witnesses seems to contradict the claims that Oscar made.

When he was phoned by the security guard on duty after the shots had been fired and asked if everything was okay he replied, “Everything is fine!” It is difficult to reconcile this with the fact that he had just shot Reeva, broken the door down with a cricket bat and carried the dead woman down the stairs. Perhaps he was looking for someone to take the blame.

2. Most arm chair judges have already decided what happened.

Most people have made up their mind about what probably happened on that terrible day in February last year. The question that however is left hanging in the mind of the court is “why did he do it?” Once all the evidence has been led judgement will be made and Oscar will have to face up to that judgement. There will probably be appeals before the dust finally settles on this case. Probably the truth of that horror shooting will never come out. One thing however is certain, the life of a hero has come crashing down. It is difficult to imagine how Oscar will ever be able to restore his image of the wonder boy who overcame his disability. This may be a bigger disability to deal with than his previous one.

3. The gun issue in South Africa.

It also opens the debate as to the gun issue. Why was an ordinary citizen in possession of so many weapons and the type of bullets that killed Reeva?

4. The Marikana Mine disaster.

It is interesting that at the same time in South Africa another court is sitting to determine what happened at the Marikana mine in the North West Province, also last year. There police,like Oscar,felt that their lives were under threat. This case is not receiving nearly the same attention locally or internationally that the Oscar Pistorius case is. But then after all these were just ordinary people involved here!

The so called Maricana Masacre took place last year when thirty protesting miners were shot and killed by police. When the protest march took place emotions were already running high as in the preceding days ten people died,including police and security guards. Some of the miners had taken a muti (medicine) sold to them by a Sangoma who told them they would be immune to bullets. The miners were carrying pangas and traditional weapons, spears and knives. The police claim they were fired on before they opened fire. Some of the miners were shot in the back.

5. The South African Police on trial.

Finally it seems as if the South African Police Force should do some serious soul searching and put its house in order. If law and order is to become the order of the day in South Africa then the SA Police should take a serious look at some issues that have become apparent from these two cases.

It makes you think, doesn't it?

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    • Johan Smulders profile image
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      Johan Smulders 3 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Thanks for the comment-it is a strange world!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Many strange things are going on in this world. Seems to me that people are in fear about US and world economy. The world was on edge like this, too during the Great Depression of 1929. History repeats itself… great article and an equally valid question.

    • Johan Smulders profile image
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      Johan Smulders 3 years ago from East London, South Africa

      I had no problem with your comment Martie. You are absolutely right about good and evil. I was concerned rather about my judgement. I always try to think/ask "thanks be to God I was not in that emotional place/financial/physical place that others find themselves in!" At the same time I have little sympathy for Oscar as I learn more about him.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 3 years ago from South Africa

      Maybe I should not have used the word 'evilness'? On the other hand, in all of us are Good (God) and Evil (Devil). The one we feed is the strongest. I would like to say, "May justice prevail", but we all know that there is no such thing as justice on this planet. So let's just say "May everything turn out for the best."

      BTW, Oscar reminds me of my ex, so.... I tend to judge, knowing what I know, but I don't condemn. We have to know that if we were born and raised in the shoes of another, we would have been that person.

    • Johan Smulders profile image
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      Johan Smulders 3 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Great comment with compassion. It is easy to sit in judge of others but fortunately I don't have to do that. Thanks for reminding me!

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 3 years ago from South Africa

      Excellent review! I cannot help feeling sorry for him. He went too far, and now he reaps the bitter fruit he had sown. How will this change his character? This is a very-very sad case, proving that anyone, even a hero, can host an evil spirit in the depths of their soul. Even if he is telling the truth, the fact that he shot with the intention to kill while there was more than one alternative way to escape from expected danger, reveals intense hatred and evilness in his soul. R.I.P. Reeva :(

    • Johan Smulders profile image
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      Johan Smulders 3 years ago from East London, South Africa

      It seems as if everyone agrees that he is guilty but proof beyond any doubt will be difficult if not impossible. I fully agree that manslaughter is the probable verdict.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      I never realised about the ' “Everything is fine!” statement! I think he is as guilty as hell. simple as that. but I reckon he will not get 'guilty' but 'manslaughter'. because they can never really prove what happened, so if in doubt let him off. but they won't let him off so its going to be manslaughter, he will get about two years! I bet anything you like this will happen, nell

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Yes, things just do not add up on his girlfriend being killed in cold blood. Just because he looked like a wonderful person in the world's eyes, does not mean in reality he is, and now a beautiful woman is dead. Someone should pay for her death, and if he did it, then he should pay. I think I read that he was a bit obsessive, but not sure. When a man is obsessed, it does not take much to set him off. I do not want to judge any man, but justice should be done as a life was taken. We never truly know what is going on in the minds of others.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I find it very hard to believe this man thought an intrufer was locked in his bathroom, how stupid is that? Couldn't he wait til they charged out of the bathroom to shoot them or simple called the police and locked himself and girlfriend he thought was in bed into his room?

      Whatever happened that girl is dead and for whatever reason someone should pay for that. They probably got in a fight and she has belittled him; but that is not a reason to murder. That is a sick human being who thinks he is bigger than life. He should get sick to see her dead if anyone believed any of those antics!