March 27, 2014

Oscar Pistorius From the Courtroom Week 4

The State's case is completed. Prosecutor Nel put forth the facts to the best of his ability. It will be interesting to see what type of cross-examiner he is when he gets that opportunity beginning on Monday, March 28, 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. 


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