Tag: Oscar Pistorius (page 2)
Oscar Pistorius is back in court as his defense team continued to call witnesses.
The defense psychiatrist, Dr. Meryl Vorster, testified as to Oscar's vulnerability as a double amputee, and the prosecutor asked to have the trial delayed and Oscar sent for a 30 day mental evaluation.
This is gamesmanship. The witness clearly stated Oscar knew the difference between right and wrong. There's no indication or defense claim he was insane or suffering from diminished capacity such that he couldn't appreciate the nature of his actions at the time of the shooting.[More...]
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Reading through the twitter feeds of 6 journalists I follow who tweet the court proceedings in real time (rather than the media articles published after which selectively summarize the testimony, mostly in favor of the prosecution), here's what happened at the latest court session:
The defense called two more neighbors who live closer to Oscar than the state's witnesses. They heard bangs followed by a man howling in a high pitched voice. None heard a woman crying or screaming. One is a female psychologist for the Department of Labor who lives right next door or right behind him. She replicated the howling. The state's cross-examination of these witnesses was so short the defense ran out of witnesses and the trial recessed early.
There are now four neighbors who support Oscar's version of events. These witnesses were on the prosecution's witness list but were not called by rhe state. Instead the state called witnesses who lived much further away whose testimony was remarkably different but fit their theory. If the job of the prosecutor is not to convict but to see that justice is done, the state's failure to call these witnesses speaks volumes. [More...]
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Oscar Pistorius is back in court after a two week recess. His first witness is the estate manager Johan Stander. Stander was the first person Oscar called after the shooting. He arrived at the scene almost immediately. Oscar told him immediately he mistook Reeva for an intruder.
Stander was on the state's witness list but was not called to testify. Oscar's co-counsel, Kenny Oldwage, is questioning Stander. [More...]
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Oscar Pistorius has completed his testimony. The prosecutor picked apart every little detail hoping to show his version of events was not possible. The state is pushing an alternate theory, however, it sounds like it's nothing more than "it might have happened this way." He didn't get Oscar to admit that any of the elements of his theory were correct. The state's theory is predicated on an argument between the couple, and given Oscar's denial and the lack of any other witnesses present, I don't see how the theory can be considered proved in any way, let alone by proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Here is the state's version, succinctly put on Twitter by reporter Barry Bateman, who has been in the courtroom every day:
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The press seems to be fawning over prosecutor Gerrie Nel and his "bully-ish" cross-examination of Oscar Pistorius. I was not impressed. I was glad the Judge called him out over his inappropriate sarcasm and laughter and claims Oscar's emotional outbursts were manufactured.
“You possibly think this is entertainment. It is not,” she told Nel. “Please restrain yourself.”
I don't think he proved Pistorius is lying about his account. Nel is trying to get Pistorius to admit to Nel's interpretation of the facts, and when he won't, because he doesn't agree with Nel's interpretation, he blasts him as a liar and murderer and tells him to accept responsibility.
It's not the prosecutor's job to tell a defendant to accept responsibility for the crime for which he's on trial and denies committing. It's his job to ask questions and test his version of the facts.
Unless a defendant's story is so rehearsed it never changes, there are obviously going to be minor discrepancies. It's not surprising that Oscar's memory is better on what led up to the shooting than during the moments of trauma afterwards when he realized Reeva was dead. [More...]
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After a week of recess due to the illness of of one of the judge's fact-finders, the Oscar Pistorius trial resumed today, with the defense calling Dr. Botha The topics ranged from the angle of the bullets to when Reeva last ate and emptied her bladder. When he was done, Oscar took the stand.From the reporters in the courtroom I follow via Twitter: [More...]
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It was a dramatic day 8 at the Oscar Pistorius trial. The investigator who took over the case from the Hilton Botha, Colonel Vermulon, testified about the physical evidence. There are some serious problems.
Both sides now agree Oscar was on his stumps when he shot through the door, and after that, he used a cricket bat to bash in the door. Here's the rub: The state, which claimed at the bail hearing Oscar had his prostheses on when he shot at the door, now says he didn't have them on at either time: when he shot through the door or used the cricket bat. The defense says Oscar put them after shooting at the door and had them on when he used the bat.
In Oscar's bail affidavit, he says he shot through the door while on his stumps, then "I put on my prosthetic legs, ran back to the bathroom and tried to kick the toilet door open."[More...]
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Last week, Oscar Pistorius' defense team spent a lot of time trying to get witnesses to acknowledge that they might have confused the sound of gunshots with the sound of Oscar bashing in the door to to the toilet with a cricket bat. Here's an interesting You Tube video of an experiment comparing the two sounds. Conclusion: If you weren't able to listen to both sounds for comparison purposes, you could easily mistake the sound of the cricket bat for the sound of a gunshot.
Here's a recap of yesterday's testimony. In a nutshell, Reeva was shot three times, in the hip, the arm and the head. She would have died within a few breaths of the gunshot to the head.
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I've been watching the Oscar Pistorius trial live on the internet since it began Monday. They are still on the first witness.
The format of the trial is different than in the U.S. In South Africa, the defendant has the right to make a statement addressing the charges at the beginning, before the state gives an opening argument. Oscar's lawyer read a detailed statement, in the first person as if Oscar was speaking, refuting the charges paragraph by paragraph. He went through the facts of what happened, and it was much like what the affidavit from the bail hearing. (The only difference I could discern was that he said Oscar went to the balcony to bring two fans back. In the bail application, they said there was one fan.) [More...]
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Oscar Pistorius goes on trial Monday in South Africa for the killing of his girlfriend and illegal possession of ammunition. Yesterday, a judge ruled parts of the trial will be televised and live audio will be provided for all of it.
The trial will take place in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.
Eyewitness News, eNCA and MultiChoice are launching a 24 hour Oscar trial channel on Sunday.
The televised portions include opening and closing arguments and the state's witnesses. Oscar's testimony, and the testimony of his witnesses will only be available on audio. [More...]
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Update: The Indictment and 107 person witness list is here, courtesy of journalist Barry Batemen of Eyewitness News. The first charge is the unlawful and intentional killing of a person. (On page 2 the indictment says it doesn't matter if the person killed not the person one intends to kill. In other words, the state doesn't have to prove he intended to kill Reeva Steenkamp, only that he intended to kill someone.) The second charge is illegal possession of 38 rounds of ammunition at his home. [More...]
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This may have been the most long and drawn out bail decision ever. It went one way, then the other, for over an hour. It wasn't until the last 2 minutes you knew Oscar Pistorius was getting bail.
Here are the main points expressed by the judge in making his findings and rulings: [More...]
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Court has begun in the final bail hearing for Oscar Pistorius. The prosecutor is finishing his closing argument. He complains Oscar submitted an affidavit instead of testifying. Magistrate Desmond Nair asks: "Is he not permitted to bring the application by affidavit?" Nel says: "Nobody can force him to, he makes an election." (The correct answer is "yes".) [More...]
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Investigator Hilton Botha has been removed from the Oscar Pistorius case, but not suspended.
In court yesterday, the Judge questioned Botha about aspects of his testimony, but not the attempted murder charges against him. (See earlier post here.)
The new team of detectives will be led by "the country's top detective" Vinesh Moonoo. [More...]
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At 11:00 a.m. SAT (2:00 am MT), defense lawyer Barry Roux and prosecutor Gerrie Nel will make their closing arguments as to why Oscar Pistorius should be allowed or refused bail.
Chief Magistrate Judge Desmond Nair will then make the decision. The big questions:
- Will Magistrate Nair reconsider his prior ruling on premeditation and reduce the charge to a class five offense from a class six, which has a lesser standard to meet for bail?
- If he stays with a class six offense, will he find exceptional circumstances for bail?
- If he reduces the charge to a class five offense, will he find the ends of justice require bail?
I predict Oscar Pistorius will be granted bail and the judge will find Oscar is not a flight risk or a significant danger to himself or the community. I do not think he'll conclude, as many have since Investigator Hilton Botha's confused and misleading testimony yesterday, that the prosecution's case is DOA. Nor do I think the revelation of reinstated attempted murder charges against Botha will have any impact on his bail ruling, although it may complicate things. [More...]
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