To think Oscar Pistorius deserves the benefit of the doubt?

(218 Posts)
SilverMoo Tue 19-Feb-13 19:10:10

Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? I think the media circus around this is really unfair and am shocked so many people are ready to jump on the bandwagon and call him a murdering woman hater before he's even been tried. Just that really.

cory Fri 22-Feb-13 00:01:51

The cases (in America and elsewhere) where people have been acquitted for shooting loved ones instead of suspected intruders have not normally involved people who knew loved ones were on the premises.

Fair enough if you believe you are alone, hear a noise and think "intruder". But if you know that your girlfriend is in the house, hear a noise from the one place people usually get up to go to in the night and then think "intruder" and shoot without stopping to reconsider, that is a little bit worrying.

If you get that disorientated and do not stop to deal with your disorientation, it is a question of whether you can safely be left at large.

SavoirFaire Thu 21-Feb-13 23:20:31

There are some great posts here, on all 'sides', which have really made me think. Most compelling argument above for me is why Reeva would have locked the door if just nipping for a quick wee in the night especially when you look at the layout of the bedroom suite which is now online. In my house (where the bathroom is not remotely tucked away), I often don't even shut the door, never mind lock it. I realise this isn't forensic or indisputable evidence, but when you think about the events and general behaviour, that seems very odd.

Last night I heard a noise in the middle of the night and convinced myself in my dopey state that it was an intruder. I called out to my husband and said "there's someone in the house". I totally get that in the middle of the night, woken from sleep, you can feel disorientated and irrational (although just woken from slumber is different from having been up, wandering about and getting the fan etc). I totally forgot for a moment that there are two other people in my house who are fully capable of getting up in the night and wandering around. I'm glad I live in a place where we don't have guns and the immediate instinct (which some people think is reasonable) is to shoot out in that scenario. If that was the culture, my four year old might not be here this morning. I live in an area where there have been 3 murders within a 5 minute walk of my house in the last 18 months and I totally understand fear of intruders (I have disturbed burglers - most probably armed - in my house) and of weapons.

In the UK context, the test of murder is mens rea, actus rea. Deliberate thought, deliberate act. Both were present. He intended to kill. Who he intended to kill is irrelevant in some ways. Feel very sorry for Reeva's family and very sad that an amazing story of an amazing man (his other achievements do stand at the moment) has such a sad ending. The fact there is no jury trial in SA (I did not know this before today) is fascinating and does make many of the concerns about media preventing a fair trial much less relevant.

Attny Thu 21-Feb-13 22:38:42

Agree NM about the bad publicity for SA and SA being such a damgerous place will be played up in his defence to say he is normal to be so paranoid and react to a noise in the toilet the way he did...and would you think an American boasting about having a machine gun is a normal person by comparision to normal society......he did that in an article...even if he does not actually have one but applied for a licence for one...that is kind of sick isn't it ..I wonder if the "bullet in the chamber catch phrase" in the Nike ad came from the man himself?

NumericalMum Thu 21-Feb-13 22:27:50

I really feel for Reeva's family. And I really wish Oscar hadn't brought all this awful negative publicity to South Africa. A country that can do without bad press. All very easy to play judge and jury from our nice easy lives in a nice first world country. Shooting people without warning is legal in some states in the US. Not all South Africans carry guns. Just like not all Americans would shoot someone. Gun licenses are extremely hard to get.

Rip Reeva.

I agree atny. I find the sympathy for him quite bizarre.

Attny Thu 21-Feb-13 21:50:06

He didn't shoot anyone by accident ....he took his gun and shot to kill without warning ...that is planned ...what he claims was his mistake was the identity of the victim...but even if his account is to be believed ..(implausible as it is) he basically executed someone in cold blood without even a glimpse of them...and yes if he is so paranoid that he thinks any noise in his bathroom is a threat to his life why leave the balcony open all night? And would his GF also really fumble to the toilet in the pitch black and lock the door at 3 am? His mask has slipped in the past and that will be used against him in the trial...obsession with guns...machine gun on his wish list ...threatening behaviour ...if he was an ordinary black man in SA who had shot his GF 4 times and claimed he thought she was an intruder ...no one but no one would be arguing he should get bail and say aww give him the benefit of the doubt at this stage and commenting on how devastating it must be for him as the killer

Doubletroublemummy2 Thu 21-Feb-13 21:41:06

As a SA ex thats highley presumtive and offensive

Doubletroublemummy2 Thu 21-Feb-13 21:37:33

the facts are that he did kill her, he has admitted that. the question is wether he did by accident or deliberatly, hmm yes he should and will get a fair trial and the images currently being shown are only his bail hearing not the trial. But there seem to be alot of holes in his story, we will see,... i just can't understand why anyone anywhere, let alone in south africa,would go to bed at night Knowling a ladder is propped up at an unsecured window,... thats just for starters

Btw, the SA criminal standard of proof is beyond reasonable doubt. Not sure how that applies to the question of whether or not an accused should be granted bail.

Corruption is significantly worse in SA than in most Western countries but I don't think there are grounds to believe that a bribe could secure an aquittal in a murder trial. The judicial system in SA, compared to average standards, is pretty robust and definitely preferable to, say southern or eastern Europe.

Attny Thu 21-Feb-13 21:22:43

Oscar...please dry your croc tears and tell the court:

1. why if you are innocent and it was all a "tragic accident" (though how can that be when you shot to kill no matter who it was) did you not take the stand to allow for a cross-exam instead of just filing an affadavit?

2. how did you manage to go and find your fan and then hearing a noise find your gun by your bed in the pitch black but not see your GF was not in the bed (based on your account you thought she was fast asleep in bed)

3. how you managed to so accurately shoot her in the pitch black?

4. why did you not call out in the bathroom..."Reeva honey is that you?", before getting your gun off FOUR times?

5. why in the midst of your grief in jail you told your brother to go and find a memory stick with details of off shore funds so soon after the shooting

6. why in the midst of your grief you had the wherewithal to see your agent as one of your early visitors...well I guess all those endorsements were at stake.

7. why are so so trigger happy when you lived on a heavily guarded secure compund and not in some isolated farmhouse?

8 Who really believes in their heart of hearts that someone would immediately assume they have a burglar in their house (to all accounts never having been burgled before) when they hear a noise in the toilet instead of assuming it must be thier GF who is staying over night after night ...and then shoots the person to death in their tiny space through a closed door without once checking it is her !!!

Let's wait for the trial and forensics and the independent witness statements to come out ...but smart alec legal gin for hire and your good looks and PR spin should not be a get out of jail card for murder

HollyBerryBush Thu 21-Feb-13 21:14:48

I didn't realise, until talking to a SA friend (and the whole thing came up in convo) that RSA is a corrupt country and bribes are the norm.

So, as I said on day one as the news broke, he'll be acquitted, regardless, because he can afford it.

greenfern Thu 21-Feb-13 19:56:01

i truly hope that there is a fair trial. Especially for Reeva's family whom have lost a beautiful daughter.

Legowidow, I've also been surprised at the amount of media coverage allowed by the court. In the UK, media comment is tightly constrained to avoid influencing any future jury, ie, they might decide on the basis of media comment rather than the evidence. This isn't a problem in SA as the court assessors will ignore such things.

runningforthebusinheels Thu 21-Feb-13 15:24:38

MrsTerryPratchett - yes I hear horses too. Great post.

I was mulling this over and I've realised that the reason I think he is guilty is Occam's razor. You hear hooves you think horses not zebras. A sadly deceased woman in a bathroom and a BF with a gun, you think DV you don't think intruder, who he heard, who was actually his GF, who had got up while he was closing windows, which were open even though he is so scared of intruders he has a gun...

However, the SA posters are saying that maybe there are more 'zebras' in SA. More people have guns, more people are fearful of intruders.

I still think I hear horses. How many women get killed by their partners? I know there are cases where people have accidentally killed their family members but they are a tiny, tiny proportion compared to all the women who are killed deliberately.

olgaga Thu 21-Feb-13 14:01:33

That's not the issue though.

Someone was killed, by a man ready to arm himself and shoot through a locked toilet door, killing whoever was inside. It isn't an issue of whether or not it was domestic violence, or even self-defence.

The only issue for the bail hearing is "Was it pre-meditated?".

If it was, he doesn't get bail.

If it wasn't, he'll probably get bail.

TheSmallClanger Thu 21-Feb-13 13:34:53

The stuff I mentioned is important in assessing whether he's a danger or not: there's a massive difference in risk between paranoid protectivist and misogynist killer.

olgaga Thu 21-Feb-13 13:30:20

Can I point something out? This is not a trial - it's a bail hearing.

The trial will probably be in about 4 months when all the forensics, evidence and witness statements have been collected and analysed.

Also, the reason they don't have jury trials in SA is because there are 11 different first languages.

TheSmallClanger Thu 21-Feb-13 13:23:32

Someone said upthread that they needed to know more about the domestic violence allegations before they made their mind up properly. I am the same.

At the moment, the story he is telling more or less makes sense, when put in its context. The witness statements alluded to which describe screaming and rows have not been put into enough of a context for me to think about them properly. For example, did the concerned party call the police? Where were they? I would need some sort of explanation of why someone would hear screaming and gunshots, yet not take any action.

Ditto, the hints about domestic violence and previous police visits. Did they relate to Reeva and Oscar, or to other parties? What was meant to have happened? Who actually summoned the police? When did they occur? If a previous partner gives a definite account saying that he was violent/abusive to her, I will believe her, but now, I can't make anything of what we've been told.

KellyElly Thu 21-Feb-13 13:00:15

One thing I wondered is why you would leave a fan on your balcony? Surely on hot nights you'd have it in your bedroom plugged in ready to get up and turn on if it got too hot. That's what I do in the summer anyway. Not speculating either way but just seems a bit odd.

kimorama Thu 21-Feb-13 12:17:25

The law in south africa may be different. But you would not get away for shooting a burglar through a door in this country.

Hulababy Thu 21-Feb-13 12:13:12

In England a fair trial and benefit of doubt go hand in hand. You are found guilty if it is beyond all reasonable doubt after all.

Jins Thu 21-Feb-13 11:56:46

Does anyone know what Testocompasutium Co-Enzyme actually is or where it could be bought. The only references I can find on google are in relation to this case

BMW6 Thu 21-Feb-13 09:07:40

I am appalled by the suggestion that he should be given the benefit of the doubt

That phrase is totally inappropriate to the magnitude of this offence. A person has been shot to death, not "accidentally" removed goods from a shop without paying for them!!!

FFSangry

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