March 7, 2014

Oscar Pistorius Trial - From the Courtroom Not the Youtube Comments Courtroom - Week 1

The Blade Runner's first week of trial has come to a weekend adjournment and will resume on Monday, March 10, 2014, at 9:30 a.m.

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

Day 1, Session 1

Day 1, Session 2

All witnesses are under a protection order that they cannot be shown on camera or are any still photos to be posted of them by the media.  You simply view the courtroom staff, judge, lawyers, audience, and Mr. Pistorius sits alone in the holding dock.  My observations of the accused are that he appears somber and wishes that this had never happened.  The trial days are long and monotonous and you see Oscar rubbing his eyes and forehead in exhaustion.  On day 4 when radiologist witness is on the stand and he is asked what did you see when you arrived at the accused house and is shown a photograph of the deceased victim, I clearly saw Oscar emotional and remorseful, but that was the single time this wee, otherwise his composure is calm.

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.

The witnesses testimony summarized so far is:
  • 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
It's unfortunate that people make up their minds before hearing all the facts and evidence and have determined an accused persons guilt or innocence based on just their own opinion.  Did Oscar Pistorius killed Reeva Steenkamp?  Yes, he did.  That's not what's in question.  Did he kill her with premeditation, with plan, with intention.  Perhaps they did have an argument (that hasn't come out yet in testimony), even if they were arguing and in a fit of rage still doesn't prove premeditation.difference-between-murder-culpable-homicide

I'm not sure why South Africa hasn't had jury trials since 1969, and I'm not comfortable with one not having the option to choose judge and jury or judge alone.

Perhaps it is from my experience the weight I put on reserving my personal judgments until after I've heard all of the facts in the environment of the judicial system, but I also give credit to myself for the person that I just am - one who believes in fairness and justice for all persons.  

I will continue to follow this trial and we will see whether I agree with the Judges' decision in the end based on what I heard from the courtroom.


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