March 31, 2014
March 27, 2014
The defence for Oscar Pistorius will lay out his case in great detail. In South Africa if the accused is going to take the stand in their own defence they must be first in the line-up of witnesses.
This week Mrs. Stipp gave her version of events. You'll recall that her husband Dr. Johan Stipp was an earlier witness for the state. She was a credible witness. Educated and highly intelligent. What stood out was she indicated there were two sets of shots with a pause in between when she heard the screams of a female. She was caught in a lie on the stand regarding whether she was present when the photographs of her smaller balcony door/window were taken. The defence brought to the court's attention that there was a hand visible holding back the curtain in the photo. The wrist of the hand clearly showing a woman's watch. Well, Mrs. Stipp was asked to show the watch she was wearing in court and it was the same watch in the photo. Mrs. Stipp said, she wasn't present for all the sets of pictures, but yes, for that photo in particular, she was. This is not significant in my opinion.
Next on the stand was the cellular expert, Captain Francois Moller. He had carriage of the technology evidence: iPads, cellular phones, Blackberries, Mac computer. The state had him read out certain WhatsApp chat/text messages between the deceased and the accused. Four messages were read into the court record that basically brought attention to the fact that the couple had some arguments. The gist was that Oscar treated Reeva with disrespect in public and he acted like a sulking child. He was jealous when she spoke to another male. He picked on her for her accent and chewing gum.
In my opinion, he portrayed some control issues, typical jealous - they were only four months into their relationship, so minor spats getting to know each other and being threatened of other men speaking to your gorgeous model girlfriend is not unusual. Being disrespectful and a tad controlling though is a red flag. As is apologizing and making excuses after i.e. Oscar said he behaved inappropriately because he was sick, had a headache and was hungry. Reeva in her text message was honest about how the accused made her feel, she stood up to him and stated that she was scared of him and didn't like the way he snapped at her. I personally once was in a two-year relationship with a man that was similar to this in the early stages of dating. I'll tell you, just from these text conversations alone, my feeling is Oscar and Reeva would not have lasted. It's unfortunate that she didn't end this doomed relationship straightaway after he treated her like shit these few number of times. Reeva gave Oscar one too many chances and she ended up killed.
Whether her death is proved accidental or not, this union had verbal abuse and potential for physical violence written all over it eventually in some form or another. Oscar was definitely a jerk boyfriend to her by belittling and embarrassing her in public more than once. His behaviour would have just continually progressed to different levels of a**hole.
I don't believe the text messages were that damning to the accused as there were over 1060 conversations between the two of them that portrayed a loving and kind nature. Which the defence took no time in pointing out in cross-examination. Some weight will go towards the fact that the deceased stated in writing that she was scared of him though. Women don't say they are scared of their boyfriends normally. That's a great concern. I know I have never felt or said that I'm scared of my husband. I was very scared of my prior boyfriend hence why I have no regrets of the demise of that relationship! Women don't say they are scared without good reason.
I continue to reserve judgment until the defence rest their case and final submissions are in from both counsel, which could be quite sometime before that happens. I predict the latter of May, perhaps the beginning of June before all of this is said and done.
The defence requested and was granted by the court the chance to recall forensic expert, police Colonel Johan Vermeulen who gave evidence regarding the cricket bat and the damage on the commode closet door. I didn't gather any thing significant from this recall of this witness.
The defence requested the court's indulgence to be given an opportunity to consult with those state witnesses that were not called. Court reconvenes on Monday.
March 24, 2014
The defence in my opinion has proved that the crime scene was contaminated by police and that some credibility is in question due to the missing watch, footprints, evidence handling without gloves etc. Is it enough though? No, as I believe the scene was also disturbed by the accused by moving the body, and when he went back upstairs to put a shirt on. This would explain the blood on the bedroom wall, simply blood transfer. He had blood on his hands and in moving his hands around blood was transferred to the wall. I don't believe anything occurred in the bedroom.
Ballistics expert, Captain Christian Magena, was an excellent witness. He knew his stuff and rarely had to refer to his notes. It was very clear that:
- Oscar was on his stumps at the time of the shooting.
- He shot tap - pause - tap, tap, tap.
- Reeva was in a standing position by the toilet bowl facing the door when the first shot impacted her right hip. This bullet caused her to give out and became seated or slumped on the magazine rack.
- The second bullet did not hit her, but hit the wall and ricocheted, which caused fragments of the bullet to spray hitting her in the back causing bruising.
- The witness demonstrated how she was in a defensive position bringing her hands to her head with her arms bent upwards when the third bullet went through her upper left arm.
- The fourth bullet hit the victim's head through her fingers when she slumped completely over at the waist and her head came to rest on the seat of the open toilet. The blood from her head wound pooled into the bowl and the blood from her arm wound pooled on the floor below.
March 15, 2014
I continue to follow the Oscar Pistorius trial very closely. I have watched all ten days of the court proceedings in their entirety. That's what you do when you're on disability and not working. The viewing is bringing back many memories of my own days sitting in court day after day listening to all the facts, marking exhibits, swearing in witnesses, passing documents to the judge, etc.
I find it amusing how people who comment on YouTube are so oblivious to the court process. Well, I shouldn't say that because that is a good thing because one the commenter has never been to court before for either a criminal, divorce, small claims, family court matter whatsoever and/or they have never worked in the legal field. This would explain the comments related to why does defence counsel go around in circles with his questioning, he's so irritating, ugh, shut-up already, why doesn't he move on...and so on.
I will tell you this, Mr. Roux is extremely talented and knows exactly what he is doing. In the same breath, so is Mr. Nel, the prosecutor. They are both doing a good job. Witnesses have all been considerable articulate and have answer all questions put to them to the best of their ability.
The accused is behaving as he should in a courtroom. Keeping his composure when possible and being human when he is overcome with his emotions. I don't see an actor in anyway, shape or form in Mr. Pistorius' demeanour. He is a living person who smiles when he feels it, smirks when he disagrees with a witness in that "oh my God that's not what happened" sort of way, which is typical. He retched and vomited during Professor Gert Saayman's testimony of the autopsy as horrific still photographs of the victim's body were on the visual aids in the courtroom. The professor gave disturbing details in a scientific manner that to any person hearing them would be cringing, so I imagine if I were the person who inflicted all of this damage to a person I cared about and how it would impact me, yes, I may vomit as well and cry.
It's not that I feel sorry for the accused. I feel empathy for this entire situation that has changed many lives. Lives that were not being wasted. Reeva was just coming into her career as a model and television personality, a law graduate and advocate for charity. Oscar a champion runner, supporting amputees, with an education. Reeva's parents surviving the death of their only child. Oscar's siblings doing their best to support him during this trial. No one wins. There is no satisfaction in the end. When all of these matters are said and done, these people will move on with their lives and all of this trauma will be clung to their brains and hearts like adhesive that will never come off. Not unlike all of us survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
In week two of the trial details I found interesting were:
- Reeva's stomach contents indicated she had eaten two hours prior, meaning she would have had to have eaten at 1:00 a.m.
- Oscar did was on his stumps when he shot at the toilet door.
- Two cellphones were located on the floor in the toilet room, one white, one black. It will be interesting to see what the phone records show.
- The gun was lying on a mat still cocked.
- There is contradicting statements by police on who had gone upstairs and when. Former South African Police Services colonel Schoombie van Rensburg testified that he was the first officer on the scene at 3:55 a.m. on February 14, 2013, and that he and former lead investigator Hilton Botha followed the blood trail to the first floor.
- Mishandling of evidence and police competence in issue.
- Oscar Pistorius a gun hobbyist and aggressive/immature in nature with the handling of such.
I for one from what I've heard so far about South Africa would not want to reside there. I'm surprised that Mr. Pistorius hadn't applied for citizenship elsewhere and with his celebrity like others of the same stature move to Los Angeles or the US in general. Check out the crime statistics here. Pretoria Crime Stats They are mindblowing.
Read an article of a different view of living in South Africa. Living in South Africa
I'll catch you up next week with details of week three.
March 7, 2014
Oscar Pistorius is charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. On February 13, 2013, in the early morning hours of February 14, 2013, Oscar Pistorius shot Steenkamp four times through a closed bathroom door at his residence in South Africa. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder and states that he thought a burglar was in his home and that he and Reeva's safety was his concern and that he mistakenly caused the death of Steenkamp.
I have been following the trial on YouTube sabcdigitalnews channel. South Africa Digital News
I personally sat for seven years behind the bench in court exactly where you see the presiding judges' clerk, Suzette sitting. That was my job for seven years. I've heard many cases, handled huge amounts of disturbing exhibits and have first-hand experience observing prosecutors and defence tactics in court. The trial is in the very early stages, but both sides are clearly doing their jobs. Witnesses so far are very well spoken, in control of their answers and not easily riled by Mr. Roux, Oscar's lead defence lawyer ( mini Roux CV ). He's obviously talented and working very diligently for his client. For the prosecution, Mr. Gerrie Nel. The judge is Her Lady Thokozile Masipa pistorius murder trial key people.
- neighbours were awaken by screams (bloodcurdling, loud)
- the screams sounded like a female
- the screams were of a nature that something terrible was happening, life threatening terrible, a family tragedy was occurring
- then there were a loud sound, like bang, bang, bang
- four shots were heard (it's confirmed)
- the radiologist heard cries for help three times, he called estate security and he attended the scene to help
- he observed Reeva's body at the bottom of the stairs with Oscar kneeled beside her with one of his hands covering the wound in her groin and he had his fingers in her mouth trying to sweep or open her airway
- the doctor stated that Oscar was crying and praying to God to let Reeva live, he was inconsolable, begging to devote his life to God if He would not let her die
- the doctor saw no signs of life, he check her pupils, neck pulse and noted there was blood and brain matter mixed in her hair that it was too late
March 4, 2014
January 28, 2014
I was assigned a Rehabilitation Consultant (RC) by my long-term income protection provider (disability insurance) back in July. She met with me in person on July 4th. This was her initial assessment of me. She asked me questions about what my restriction/limitations were. Whether I could return to my same job and what accommodations I may need. Do need. She wrote a report, made a plan and what came of that was my employer requesting that my medical information be more specific. The RC designed a questionnaire she called it for my doctor and sent it directly to him. Once this completed questionnaire was provided to my employer on Sep 11th, it took until Nov 26, for my employer to advise the RC that they wanted a Independent Medical Exam (IME).
So, yes I'm freaking out! I simply require a type of chair that has a feature to recline and elevate my legs, with a laptop table to work.
Has your employer ever put you through extreme measures when you felt it unnecessary? Have you ever fought for your Human Rights? I feel punished for having a disability. I never asked for this life, but you must fight for a life to have!
April 30, 2013
On February 8th, 2013, I underwent my second back surgery. I had to travel 1.5 hours West because there are no neurosurgeons in my city of 56,000. My surgery was scheduled for 7:30 a.m. There were no delays. The next thing I knew was I was waking up in the recovery room with about eight other patients. These new blow-in hot air blanket gadgets they have now are wonderful. I was nice and warm, but that was about all that was nice. I have never experienced so much pain in all my life. I have had a vaginal home birth with no drugs and that was a 5 compared to this ordeal.
I was given pain medication that had no purpose as it did not help. I have had a similar surgery to this and this felt in no way similar!
Recovery was difficult. The meds make me feel sick. Eating a chore. BMs a nightmare. I felt like a brick was left in my back, never mind a scaple. Gradually, I healed, but the numbness in my thigh, calf and foot remain the same.
I am thankful I can do most things: walk, climb stairs, stand. My limitations are basically lifting, bending and sitting and standing too long.