In the next twist to this case the Appeals Court judge recently determined (December 2015) that Oscar Pistorius committed murder. This decision is now being appealed by the Pistorius legal team to the highest court in South Africa – the Constitutional Court. The hearing begins in early 2016.
Not sure if others have been watching the Pistorius trial in South Africa. The legal pundits seem to think he will go down for murder. But I am not so sure. He ‘survived’ the cross-examination by the prosecutor, Mr Nell, without the expected guilt confession. He was able to state his case and say “no” when Mr Nell put words into his mouth he did not agree with.
I thought the times when he broke down weeping were genuine distress, not concocted. The judge seems empathetic towards him – suspending the proceedings when he was in tears and admonishing Mr Nell when he was being overbearing towards Pistorius. Just a hunch, but I think the judge thinks the shooting was a terrible accident.
Mr Nell seems a bit of an actor. The defence lawyer, Mr Roux, by comparison is the epitome of restraint.
The defence spent very little time in going over elements of the cross-eamination and giving Pistorius the opportunity to correct his answers to Mr Nell after Mr Nell had finished the cross-examination. This suggests either the defence thought Pistorius held his own in the cross-examination or that Pistorius had so incriminated himself that he was not worth saving! Time will tell.
I am no legal expert but I suspect Pistorius may dodge the ‘murder’ bullet (that is he did not intend to kill Reeva Steenkampbut) but be convicted of reckless and irresponsible use of a firearm causing death. This will probably have a prison sentence as punishment but will not be life imprisonment. We shall see.
Now the case has been determined it seems my prediction of Pistorius avoiding a murder conviction has been confirmed. He received a conviction equivalent to manslaughter. Both the judgment and sentence are under appeal. We shall see what the outcome is – see first paragraph above.