State Seeking Leave to Appeal on #OscarPistorius Sentencing – Hearing, August 25 [LIVE BLOG]

The hearing begins at 9am local SA time.  I’ll be providing updates live on this page.  You can also follow Nick on Twitter at @HiRezLife

Nel is walking Masipa through the points of the state’s argument.  He calls the sentence “shockingly and inappropriately lenient.” 

Nel tells Masipa that Oscar’s personal circumstances were “over-emphasized”

STATE’S APPEAL DOCUMENTS

The camera primarily focuses on Nel but when it does pan to Masipa, she doesn’t look too pleased.

“The court misdirected itself in believing that the perception of an intruder entering home was a mitigating factor.”

Nel points out that Oscar formed his INTENTION to fire in the bedroom when he got his gun… not in the bathroom.  This should have been taken into account as an aggravated factor.

“The court failed to take into account the findings of the SCA”

Masipa

Nel says the court made credibility findings about Scholtz, therefore the court should have rejected that Oscar was in no condition to testify.  He also questions her finding that Oscar was remorseful…

“There’s a chasm between regret and remorse.”

Knowing that the SCA found that the accused had never given a proper explanation for why he fired, the accused should have provided testimony during sentencing.

Right on schedule…. a cell phone goes off.

Nel politely uses the words “respectfully” and “utmost respect” repeatedly while he basically tells Masipa her sentencing judgement is shit.

Nel hammers home – the benchmark is 15 years – that’s the starting point of a sentence, not a clean slate.  Go Nel!

“He decided in the bedroom to shoot at whoever – if there was somebody in the bathroom – whoever…”  “That was the fact of his intention – to shoot whoever.”

The court failed to grade the degree of Dolus Eventualis.  The court was bound by the inferences of the SCA.  Likely and Obvious are degrees in Dolus Eventualis… SCA found it was obvious that Oscar’s foreseeability was he would kill a person.  “Those are all very aggravating factors, My Lady.”

#Masipaface

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Nel talks about what bothers Mr. Steenkamp… he wondered what his daughter felt when she was being shot.  Nel feels this wasn’t fully taken into account.  He also emphasizes the cruelty of Black Talon.  It should have been an aggravating factor.  It didn’t get the attention in sentencing that it should have.

The court misdirected itself when the court ignored the SCAs finding that Oscar’s subjective intention was unaffected by his vulnerability.

Nel also points out that the physical demonstration of the accused in court was very different than a person walking down their hallway with a lethal firearm.  In other words, the reenactment in court is not a true reenactment.

The public’s misperception [of why Oscar shot, the argument theory] is irrelevant and shouldn’t have been considered.   Nel says, what is important to note about the public – society has an interest in a proper sentence being imposed based on the nature and gravity of the crime.

Nel wraps up by saying they can only appeal to the SCA, therefore they are applying for leave to appeal.

Roux starts by saying how shockingly inappropriate the state’s appeal arguments are.  Points out the state waited 15 days, and let poor poor Oscar sit in jail waiting to see what they would do.  Roux says the state is “prejudice.”  Reminds Masipa how much Oscar cried in court.  The state has not given a “fair appraisal of this matter.”

Roux says about Masipa’s judgement… “The judgement made me proud of judiciary.”

In case you want to revisit that nightmare, here is the document…

Masipa’s Sentencing Judgement for Oscar Pistorius 7.6.2016

Roux

“What is it that the state wants?”  If it’s 8 years, they want 10 years?  He ponders, should the respondent should sit and be subjected to uncertainty.  “Enough is enough.  It does not comfort you that justice is fair and reasonable.”

“My Lady, we live in the real world.  If I wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning, and I believe there’s an intruder in my house, it’s dark and I have no legs to walk on…”  He stops there… was waiting for him to say I’d shoot somebody too, but then he’d have to add in ‘4 times’ to be accurate and um, that kinda sounds bad.

Masipa still looks stern but slightly softer as Roux speaks.  She listens intently and takes notes.

Roux says the court was fair in dealing with Kim Martin and Mr. Steenkamp.

Very few people in the courtroom today.  Even Barry Bateman has given up on tweeting today.  They’re at the South Gauteng Courthouse today, not the usual North Courthouse.

courtroom

There must be a reasonable prospect that another court would interfere with the sentence. Roux trying to argue that there’s no basis for determining what the SCA would consider reasonable.

Karyn Maughan is going to town on her gum right now.

Roux says Masipa should dismiss the state’s application, with cost…

“It should be the end”  “It’s been exhausted beyond the point of any conceivable exhaustion.”

And Roux’s done.  Phewww… I love when he’s brief.  So essentially his entire argument is based on emotion.  That it’s unfair to make Oscar sit around and wonder when this ordeal will finally be over.  Roux did not cite any legal cases.

Nel counters with a few last points saying they did not ignore evidence as Roux suggested, the evidence he referred to was rejected by the SCA.

Nel also emphasizes it is indeed strikingly inappropriate if the minimum sentence is 15 years and results in 6.

Masipa:  “I’ll be back…”  She takes a break to consider the arguments… and make sure that Arnold has the proper routing number.  Haha… kidding 🙂 … Kinda.

Masipa dismisses the state’s bid to appeal Oscar’s sentence.  Dismissed with costs.

Ulrich Roux Chimes In…

Listen to the hearing…

Twitter buzz…

 

An Excerpt from WHITE HORSE III #OscarPistorius

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From the Chapter:

In Court

“The way they act in court – they act like they own the court!” — Mikey Schultz speaking about the Pistorius family

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I looked at Uncle Arnold surveying his kingdom, taking in the little people of the gallery.  He wasn’t just glancing from one side of the gallery to the other, he was scanning.  It reminded me faintly of a Terminator

He had his back to the front of the courtroom, and for a long moment, he took in all of us.  Slowly, calmly, he took in each face. It had a calm, calculated quality about it, but the feeling I got wasn’t evil or menace, more satisfaction. All told Oom Arnold felt like things had turned out basically as he’d hoped, was the impression I got.

If this sounds easy to say after the fact, it wasn’t.  It was my observation at the time – to Marc, and via WhatsApp to Lisa. Something else that was bizarre was a white policeman barking at us just before the trial began.  He told us to turn off our cell phones, he warned us not to take any photos.  

Marc BatchelorI was a little shell-shocked.  I asked Marc: “If our phones are off, does that mean we can’t tweet…No man, I think he means turn off the sound of your phones.”

Then, shortly before Masipa arrived to take her seat I asked Marc a few quick questions about Justin Divaris.  Botha had mentioned him and I wondered whether Marc could fill in any of those blanks.  
Justin and Sam

“Are Justin Divaris and Samantha Greyvenstein still together?”

Marc told me they had gotten married, had had twins, but that one of the twins had died.

“Are Justin and Oscar still friends?”

Marc replied that at first they [Oscar and Justin] had remained friends, but subsequently Justin had felt Oscar had misled him, and thus, were no longer friends.

“Who did Justin call after Oscar called Justin?” [At 3:55:02 on February 14, 2013]

Justin called Major-General Shadrack Sibiyaa policeman the former head of the Hawks in Gauteng. 

I guess Justin just happened to have the head of the Hawks number on his phone, don’t most of us?

Sibiya, who has been found not guilty of fraud, and I think not guilty as well of gross dereliction of duty, and not guilty of gross misconduct, was Justin’s first port of call.

Sibiya then made a call to…

WHITE HORSE III is available now on Amazon.

Stay tuned for the final book in this series titled Justice Eventualis.

WH3 Cover

http://www.shakedowntitle.com


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[FULL DOCUMENTS] Notice of Application for Leave to Appeal #OscarPistorius July 21, 2016

We respectfully submit that the sentence of six years’ imprisonment, in all the circumstances, is disproportionate to the crime of murder committed in casu, that is to say, shockingly too lenient, and has accordingly resulted in an injustice and has the potential to bring the administration of justice into disrepute. 

Read the Notice of Application for Leave to Appeal Here:

NPA Sentencing Appeal Documents July 21 2016

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WHITE HORSE and WHITE HORSE II available on Amazon

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An Excerpt from WHITE HORSE II #OscarPistorius

From the chapter…

#TheInterview Deconstructed



IMG_0998In the same way a horse rider uses a stirrup to ride and steer a horse, Oscar has used the ITV interview to ride and steer his horse.  The horse of course is the amorphous brand that once existed that was Oscar Pistorius.  Oscar’s still defending it, still trying to bring it back into visibility, back to centre stage.  At the end of this narrative we’ll reveal the most sickening insight of all – what all these snivelling shenanigans have been about, why we’ve been exposed to a stump walk with Oscar dressed in Nike, what it all means.

Before we get to that, let’s deal with the matter at hand.  The ITV Interview.   

In this chapter we want to deal with two issues primarily:

  1. The timing and execution of the interview
  2. An analysis of the interview itself.  

IMG_0971TIMING AND EXECUTION

Let’s start with the timing and execution. I’ve already stressed the assumption in the introductory remarks to this narrative that it’s very likely this interview served as Barry Roux’s paycheque, which is why Roux may have been instrumental in making sure a window was created during sentencing for the ITV broadcast. If Roux could pull this off maybe there was an additional incentive, perhaps an extra R5 million thrown in.  And everybody wins.  ITV could get maximum bang for their buck, Roux could get paid in full plus a hefty bonus and the deal would be no skin off Oom Arnold’s nose.  And obviously the cry-baby would benefit too – not just financially, but he’d get in the last word, a final PR boost before going silent again during his jail time.  IMG_0881

Even in the documentary itself Mark Williams-Thomas contextualises the narrative, he gives it a historical perspective and admits the production schedule when he says “Oscar will be sentenced in a few days”. Let me stress that again: in the documentary itself, which was released on June 24th, they already knew when sentencing was likely to be.  In other words…..  

WHITE HORSE II, the follow up to WHITE HORSE, is available on Amazon.

WH2 Cover

To read without a Kindle, just download the free Kindle Reading App to your computer or any smart device.

The final book in this series is due out in August 2016.

Follow the authors on Twitter at:

@Shakedowntitle

@HiRezLife

@lisawJ13


www.shakedowntitle.com

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Oscar Pistorius Sentencing July 6 [LIVE COVERAGE]

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Nick is live at the courthouse and I’ll be here online with all of you…

Follow me on Twitter @lisawj13  

JUDGE GIVES OSCAR 6 YEAR PRISON SENTENCE

Oscar is in prison as we speak.  As Nick was leaving the courthouse, he saw the procession of police officers and a van speeding by with Oscar in tow.  He watched them turn into the lot for Kgosi Mampuru prison. I wonder if Mashabane had a welcoming gift waiting for him… some cookies, some rub rub… maybe some itching powder in his sheets?

Oscar will need to serve 2/3 of his sentence [approximately 3-4 years] before being eligible for parole.

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Nick and I share our reaction…


Watch the full sentencing video here…


Just prior to delivering Oscar’s sentence, Masipa says this…

Masipa:  What was evident from the testimony of both Mr. Steenkamp and Mrs. Martin is that their lives shall never be the same.  Details of what they went through and are still going through as a family have been described abound.  Thankfully, healing has already started as both Mr. Steenkamp and Mrs. Steenkamp have stated that they have forgiven the accused.

Oh really, healing has started?  Does Barry Steenkamp jamming needles into his leg in order to feel pain sound like healing?

Masipa:  The life of the accused will also never be the same.  He’s a fallen hero who has lost his career and is ruined financially.  The worst that haven taken the life of a fellow human being in the manner that he did, he cannot be at peace.  It came as no surprise therefore when both Mr. [Maurius] Nel, his [Oscar’s] pastor, and Professor Scholtz described him as a broken man. 

It’s a low blow on Masipa’s part to use the Steenkamp’s “forgiving” Oscar as part of mitigation.  Forgiveness because of religious belief or obligation is not the same as pardoning somebody for murdering your child.  She’s exploiting what they’ve said to help her justify her sympathy for Oscar.

Masipa:  Recovery is possible but it will depend mostly on the accused’s attitude to the punishment imposed on him.  This court is aware that the accused through his pastor has shown a willingness and a wish to do community work as punishment.  That is a noble gesture. [Masipa stops reading and looks up directly at Oscar, and pauses] …however punishment is not what you choose to do.  It is something that is imposed on you.  By it’s very nature, punishment is unpleasant, it is uncomfortable, it is painful and it’s inconvenient.  It is certainly not what you love to do.

That, I agree with.

Masipa:  I have considered the evidence in this matter, the submissions and arguments by counsel, as well as the relevant case law and other authorities.  Although a custodial sentence is the proper sentence, I am of the view that…

a long term of imprisonment will not serve justice in this matter

Masipa:  The accused has already served a sentence of 12 months imprisonment, he is a first offender, and considering the facts of this matter, he is not likely to reoffend.  The sentence that I impose will have to reflect not only that fact but also the seriousness of the offense.  It will, in so far as it is possible, have to be fair to the accused, as well as to the deceased family and society at large.  

Highlights of Masipa’s reasoning…

Masipa:  I have to consider several factors namely the offender, the offense, and the interests of society as well as the victims of the offense.

Not surprising that she mentions the victims last.  She says the main purposes of punishment are:

Masipa:  Retribution, deterrence, prevention and rehabilitation.

Masipa:  Lastly, because of the nature of the offense that the accused has been found guilty of, I have to determine whether there exists substantial and compelling circumstances justifying the imposition of a lesser sentence than 15 years imprisonment which is the prescribed minimum sentence in this case.

Her voice trails off at the end, and she takes a long pause before continuing.

The Evidence

Masipa says it’s not necessary to go through all of the evidence in detail for this sentencing exercise, BUT…

Masipa:  The only evidence that shall be set out in detail is that of Professor Scholtz only because of its nature… and the detailed report he compiled.

That report, as usual, was only given to Nel about 10 minutes prior to the beginning of court during the sentencing hearing.  The same game that the defense played throughout the entire trial and that Masipa never admonished them for.

Defense Witnesses

Professor Scholtz – a clinical psychologist who also assessed the accused during the trial in 2014. He obtained permission from proper authorities to be a part of the sentencing so there were no conflicts of interest.  Masipa’s summary of his evidence.

Masipa:  The accused displayed signs & symptoms of PTSD, anxiety disorder & depressive disorder.  [She stumbles badly while trying to read her own writing.] His short term memory was compromised.  The accused’s condition was so severe that he would not be able to testify in the proceedings.  He also formed an opinion that he should be hospitalized since his condition worsened since 2014.

Ebba – From Iceland.  She got to know about the accused 11 years ago when pregnant and she found out son would be born without legs.  Her mom wrote to Oscar who then responded unexpectedly that it would be a pleasure for him to help however he could.  Since, he’s visited family often and cares for them.

Marius Nel – Pastor from 3C Ministries in Centurion. Oscar was a member of his ministry.  While in jail, he often visited and prayed with Oscar and found him to be a “broken man.”  The ministry assists disadvantaged children and the possibility of Oscar helping them out with athletics training was discussed.

Some points that Masipa highlights regarding Oscar’s circumstances…

Masipa:  During his incarceration, the accused completed a number of courses and workshops as part of his rehabilitation program. According to Prof Scholtz, the accused’s views about possession and use of firearms has changed.  He sold all his firearms and never wants to touch a firearm again. He’s not anti-social or psychopathic, he is currently enrolled for a BSc degree at University of London.  Prof Scholtz views that the accused’s mental health has deteriorated since 2014. He states, and I quote: ‘since the offense he has developed a serious psychiatric condition which has got worse over the past two years.  Major depression and PTSD.  His level of anxiety has also increased. He has become isolated and fearful of venturing out in public.’

Though apparently not fearful enough to go grocery shopping, to church or for walks… all things Roux mentioned in his arguments.

Masipa goes on to talk about Scholtz citing Oscar dealing with intense media attention due to his international profile.  She fails to mention it’s the same media that he greatly benefited from when times were good… prior to him, due to his own poor choices, becoming a criminal.

Masipa does throw a bone to Mashabane.  She says that Oscar’s reports [given to Scholtz] about poor treatment in prison were unsubstantiated and that Mashabane was credible.  The camera pans to Oscar and he has his eyes closed as in deep thought.  As soon as Masipa continues and says that she was however giving all of that little weight… Oscar opens his eyes and perks up. [16:08

Masipa:  Murder is always a serious crime.  The fact that the accused though it was an intruder does not make it less serious.  Serious as the crime is, for purposes of sentencing, it is always useful to place facts that led to the particular murder in perspective.  The short background of circumstances in which the crime was committed is therefore important.  

Masipa:  In the early hours of February 14, 2013, the accused shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, the deceased, in his home in Pretoria.  At the trial, the accused had explained that he mistakenly shot and killed the deceased [Oscar now attempts to cry – a clearly very forced effort, wipes his nose, but no tears [18:07]through the locked toilet door in his bathroom as he thought then that there was an intruder who had entered the house through the bathroom window and who posed a threat to him and the deceased.  

At the time of the shooting, he was on his stumps.  When he discovered HIS MISTAKE he put on his prosthetic legs and using the cricket bat to bash open the door, he was able to unlock it and reach the deceased.  The accused picked her up and took her downstairs hoping to get her to hospital.  Minutes later, still at the accused house, the deceased was declared dead by paramedics.  Witnesses who saw the accused soon after the incident told the court that the accused looked distraught.  

Dr. Stipp, a neighbor and state witness, who had earlier heard what he had referred to as shots and screams, had no doubt that the accused’s distress was genuine.  There was also evidence that the accused was crying, and calling upon God to intervene.  

Not withstanding the above circumstances, it is worth repeating, that the murder is a serious offense.  In the present case, the murder weapon in the form of a firearm was used and the results were devastating. The fact that the murder took place under circumstances as described above does not in any way make the offense any less serious.  

Masipa:  I now deal with the interests of society.  The interests of society demand that people who commit serious crimes, such as murder, be punished severely.  The interests of society that are considered and protected however must be legitimate interests.  

Counsel for the defense correctly submitted that there was an unfortunate perception in the minds of some people that on the night of the murder, there was an argument between the accused and that this is what led to the murder of the deceased.  [Barry looks off to his left with eyes down. He looks defeated.]

The existence of such a perception was inadvertently confirmed by the father of the deceased, Barry Steenkamp, who during the course of his evidence let slip this very perception. That counsel for the state stopped Mr. Steenkamp from proceeding any further does not change the fact that such a perception does exist. It therefore cannot be ignored by this court.  

The unfortunate part of it is that there is not a shred of evidence placed before this court that supports such a perception.

Except for this…

And this…

Reeva to Oscar

Masipa:  Courts deal with facts placed before them, not with assumptions and not with suspicions.  The fact that an accused may not have taken the court into his confidence or that he lied in certain respects does not give such court the right to speculate against the accused and to act on such speculations.

Huh?  An accused lying to the court should just be accepted and not questioned?  In the absence of a videotape, where we can see a crime committed with our own two eyes, doesn’t every case have some element of speculation?  Masipa also doesn’t seem to care that lying to a court is perjury, also a crime.

There is no evidence at all that the deceased was in an abusive relationship 

reeva text

Masipa moves on to Reeva, who she refers to as “the deceased and her family”…

Masipa:  The deceased was young, vivacious, full of life and hope for the future.  This picture was painted by the deceased’s father, Mr. Barry Steenkamp, and the deceased’s cousin, Kim Michelle Martin.  Both told of the pain that the family has suffered and continues to suffer as a result of the deceased’s untimely death.  Ms. Martin described the deceased as a loving and wonderful person.  She stated as a family, they would never completely get over the death of the deceased.  The deceased had plans, not only for herself, but for her parents as well.  She supported her parents financially and expressed a wish to continue to do so to make their lives easy.  According to Mr. Steenkamp, the deceased used to call home every weekend to speak to he and his wife separately.  It is therefore not surprising that three years later, the family is still grieving.  It is clear from the evidence that the Steenkamps had a very close bond and used to celebrate special occasions together as a family.  Now, Christmas, birthdays and Valentines Day are a painful reminder that the deceased is no longer with them.  

Masipa summarizes Barry’s testimony.

Masipa:  The evidence of both Mr. Steenkamp and Ms. Martin shows that the pain runs deep and that the impact of the accused’s conduct on the family of the deceased has been devastating.  

Ms. Martin told this court that the family is anxious and depressed.  They’ve [also] been exposed to the media.  She is loath to meet people or go places as she never knows when someone might say something about the deceased, the accused or about the incident..  She however has to cope and go on with her life for the sake of her children.   That fact is relevant and must be taken into the court’s consideration in the sentencing process.

Masipa addresses the aggravation vs. mitigation…

Masipa:  Each case must be decided on its own peculiar facts.  A useful point of departure therefore is a proper investigation of the pertinent facts and circumstances in the present matter.  In addition, to answer the question whether there exists substantial and compelling circumstances,  justifying a lesser sentence, courts must also consider aggravating factors as well as mitigating factors in a particular matter.

Aggravating Factors:

  1. The accused used a lethal weapon, a high caliber firearm and ammunition, and fired not one, but four shots into the toilet door, knowing full well that there was someone behind the door.
  2. The toilet was a small cubicle and there was no room for escape for the person behind the door.
  3. The accused had been trained in the use of, and in handling, firearms.
  4. He used the firearm without taking precaution of firing a warning shot as found by the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Mitigating Factors:  

  1. The accused approached the bathroom in the belief that an intruder had entered his house.
  2. At the time he was without his prosthesis and felt vulnerable.
  3. His belief that there was an intruder in the house is supported by his actions when he realized it was the deceased in the toilet.  Details of the sequence of events after the shooting, most of which were not disputed, are on record.  The accused immediately took steps to try to save the deceased life.  She refers to Dr. Stipp again saying he believed this as well. He begged God for help, etc, etc. She points out quite adamantly that the state never contradicted Stipp’s evidence.

Remorse…

Masipa:  [Counsel for the state] reiterated the accused showed no remorse as he did not come clean before this court.  I disagree.   At the commencement of the proceedings, the accused apologized to the family of the deceased.  This public apology could easily have been interpreted as a ploy to gain public sympathy had it not been for the fact that the accused had previously and unsuccessfully tried to meet the parents of the deceased to apologize for the pain he had caused them and to ask for forgiveness.  

What weighs heavy with me amongst other things was the request was repeated more than once. This court was informed that after his release from incarceration, the accused tried once more to approach the deceased’s family with an apology without success.  Mr. Steenkamp confirmed that the accused had made such a request through lawyers but the Steenkamp family was not yet ready to meet the accused.  

It is my view that it must be one of the most difficult things for any accused to have to face the victims of his crime and apologize.  It is highly improbable therefore that the accused would persist in his request to meet the parents of the deceased and ask forgiveness if he was not genuinely remorseful. [38:27] [Jenna shakes her head in agreement.]

Counsel for the state submitted further that in the event the court found that the substantial and compelling circumstances exist justifying a lesser sentence than the prescribed minimum sentence [15 years] the courts still ought to impose a very long term of imprisonment on the basis that the crime the accused was found guilty of bordered on Dolus Directus. I disagree with this submission.  

I have taken all of the above into consideration and am of the view that mitigating circumstances outweigh the aggravating factors. 

[39:36] The Steenkamps exchange glances of disgust. And the investigators in the front row mumble a few words to each other.

 


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Carl 5

Carl 6

This is why nothing ever changes….

Max

Does “life” really handle its own?  If that were true, why do murders continue to happen?

Life handles its own

More reaction…

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9:45am – Right off the bat, even though Masipa can’t read her own damn writing and fumbles all over the place, there’s an air of this leaning in favor of Oscar…

Nick

9:40am – Oscar is noticeably much calmer, less drugged, less emotional than the sentencing hearing.  Only once did I see him try to muster a tear.  Other than that – he was bone dry, looking rather stone-faced.

9:37am – Masipa’s on the stand.  Tells Oscar to sit until its time for her to read sentence.

9:31am – Nick very surprised at the casual atmosphere:  ‘Arnold smiling.  Dunno they seem way too relaxed. Too comfortable, even Oscar.  A day at the beach?’

9:30am – Here’s the seating order for the Pistorius clan:  Henke, Aimee, Jenna, Arnold, Carl.  Aimee was seen hugging Henke.  Oscar was seen hugging everyone (again).

9:29am – Uncle Arnold has a very keen eye on everyone in court.  He glares out at the gallery as if to take note of everybody who was there.

9:27am – Batchelor tells Nick that when Oscar was testifying during trial, Aimee saw Marc in the coffee shop and told him ‘you disgust me.’

marc and oscar

9:21am – Gina Myers is in court with her mom.  She waves to Marc Batchelor.  Marc and Nick have developed a bit of a rapport and Marc’s been helpful answering questions for us.  I love this picture of him from trial back in 2014.  That face says it all……

9:19am – Security is tight in the crowded courtroom.  Guards telling Nick where he can/can’t go.

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Hey… there’s @HiRezLife hard at work….

Oscar arriving

9:03am – Nick just had the pleasure of running into Henke as he was leaving the men’s room.  Last fall, Nick photographed Nel coming out of the men’s room… Note to all men at Pretoria High Court… use Men’s Room at your own risk 🙂

9:02am – Oscar arrived just behind Roux & entourage… kinda scooted in behind everyone to avoid as much media as possible.  Now inside, Nick says OP is chatting on his phone.

8:53am – Nick’s new buddy Marc Batchelor walked in with a hello as well. Marc’s chest looks like it’s about to explode out of his shirt.

8:52am – Carl Pistorius just arrived and said good morning to reporters. He’s wearing yellow socks and his suit has a slight metallic sheen.

8:48am – Colonial Van Aardt has arrived along with some of the Pistorius extended family.

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8:43am – Barry and June Steenkamp, and Tania Koen and Dup de Bruyn have all arrived.

 

8:35am – Some of the legal correspondents on-scene talking about how whatever sentence Oscar gets, he must serve half of it.  So if he gets 10 years, 5 years must be in prison.

8:30am – Ulrich Roux (sporting a beard) is getting ready to do interview with ANN7

 

Interesting streets signs in Pretoria… a little bit of somethin’ for everyone.

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7:53am – Karyn Maughan is wearing spiffy blue rimmed glasses today. John Webb from Carte Blanche just sauntered by.  Media scrum is starting to thicken.

Karyn

7:49am – An official outside is telling people the court won’t open til 9:30am.  Doesn’t sound accurate.  Nick says it’s fairly subdued at the courthouse.  Just feels like an ordinary day (so far).

7:08am – The weather in Pretoria today is not too cold, no clouds.  Nick stopped by the convenience store and none of the papers had any mention of Oscar today.

 


Nick in Johannesburg today…

Tashas


CARL’S CORNER…. He’s back!!

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What does Twitter think?…

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Remember Reeva…

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Oscar Pistorius Sentencing Hearing: Day 3

 

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JUDGE MASIPA WILL DELIVER OSCAR’S SENTENCE ON JULY 6

Nick & Lisa’s Day 3 Wrap-up…

12:20pm – It’s now Nel’s turn:  “I will attempt, my Lady, to address relevant points.  I will not address society.  I will not address investigators that wrote the book.  I will not address perceptions.  I will not address perceptions in the media, although I will consider dealing with some of the perceptions that Mr. Roux has mentioned.  May I start my Lady that I was rather perplexed when Mr. Roux – and I heard these words – when Mr. Roux argued about the lady in a shop that wasn’t happy with Mr. Pistorius in the shop.  Mr. Roux said the following: ‘She called him a murderer, a murderer of what?’  Not who, a murderer of what.  Someone that he thought was an intruder.  As if, my Lady, the mere fact that the accused thought it was an intruder would detract from the seriousness of murder.”

“A murder of what, my Lady, that ‘what’ is Reeva.”

Nel’s points:

5. Mr. Roux argued that Mr. Steenkamp’s pain was exacerbated by an understanding that this may have been Dolus Directus.  “My Lady, I’ve been astonished by the argument diminishing the father’s real grief.  I’ve been astonished.”  

“If we want to talk about a broken man, we saw a broken man” – Nel talking about Barry Steenkamp

6. He address the Visagie case.  Both the trial court and the SCA rejected putative self defense.  That puts Visagie to rest.  It’s not relevant.

7. The accused accepting the court judgement now because it’s the judgement and he has no choice, Nel says is very different than accepting wrong doing.  It is a pretty laughable argument on behalf of the defense.

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8. The argument about Oscar not being able to study in prison is just not valid.  Many people study in prison.  Nel says there’s no foundation for this argument.  Oscar’s no longer crying.  He’s staring intently at Nel looking particularly pissed off.  Nel reminds the Court that Oscar asked for many things while in prison, including a TV, and was granted many of them.

9. Roux argued about Sister Mashabane’s evidence that if he were in Oscar’s shoes [in pain and wanting his medicine of choice] that he may have acted as the accused did.  Nel:  “I don’t expect of any man to enter a room where there are three female sisters sitting, banging a table and throwing things on a table. Being aggressive. But my Lady, we have a convicted prisoner doing that.  Convicted of a violent crime.”  This was only 4 months into Oscar’s incarceration.

10.  Nel:  “Is it not time to see what this accused did to Reeva Steenkamp?”  Nel tells the Court that the family wants to show the world, and they have requested Nel’s help in making that happen.  Nel says he will be asking the Court to lift the ban on the images of Reeva.

11. In reference to State vs. Herrera, a case cited by the defense, deals with an abused lady who killed her partner after years and years and years of abuse.  That is not what we have in this instance.

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Nel reads from Masipa’s judgement:

“There was ever a feeling of unease on my part as I listened to one witness after another, placing what I thought was an overemphasis on the accused’s vulnerability.  Yes, the accused is vulnerable, but has excellent coping skills.  Thanks to his mother, he rarely saw himself as disabled and against odds, excelled as a top athlete, became respected worldwide and even came to compete against able-bodied persons. For some reason, that picture remains obscured in the background”

The SCA’s judgement also points out Oscar’s success as an athlete.

Dr. Scholtz went to great pains to describe Oscar’s depression and anxiety.  There is medication that can help Oscar with these conditions – medicine that was ordered for him in prison – that Oscar never took.  Scholtz also suggested that Oscar should be hospitalized, yet no steps have been taken to hospitalize Oscar.

“If one takes that paragraph – ‘I know there’s somebody in the bathroom, I fired 4 shots through that, into the toilet door’ – why is that not very close to Dolus Directus?  So we argue the accused’s degree of culpability is very close to Dolus Directus.”

Nel then address the ITV interview.  In addressing Oscar’s multiple versions, he says:

“I don’t know what will happen with ITV, my Lady,

but in this Court, there’s no acceptable explanation ever offered.  He had the opportunity to do so

– he failed.”

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“Our courts have a duty, my Lady, despite any personal doubt, to impose the minimum sentence.  It’s a duty of this court.” – Nel

Part 2…

Part 3…


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Roux concludes by saying Oscar could not possibly be deterred any more than he already is from his former imprisonment, from his rehabilitation programs and from the restrictions of house arrest.

“If a sentence is now imposed on a basis of further general deterrence, this will mainly serve as a veil for retribution.”

After Oscar puts his legs back on and takes his seat in the dock, a phone rings out playing music from the gallery.  The owner of the phone attempts to turn it off but can’t and gets booted out.  In the front row is Carl with Jenna Edkins [now rumored to be living with Oscar at Arnold’s mansion] and father, Henke.

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See for yourself, Oscar’s demonstration in court.  Begin the video at 02:28:30:

“I don’t want to overplay vulnerability, that’s not what I want to do.” – Roux

Part 1…


12:00pm – Roux asks that Oscar may stand before the Court to show them how he gets around on his stumps. It’s time that the Court sees, Roux says. I hadn’t really considered it before that they might pull something like this, but as soon as I saw Oscar in his gym clothes earlier I just knew we were in for a show.

Masipa grands permission and Roux turns around at Oscar and wags his finger at him signaling him to come up.

“He’s very embarrassed but understands that it’s important to do that.  He’s very, very embarrassed and ashamed.”

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Yes, damn right he should be ashamed.  Here’s a reaction from one of my friends on Websleuths:

“I was at Mass this morning and spoke about this with a parishioner who can’t walk because of spinal stenosis and she was livid at his audacity.  As you say, disability is not an excuse for murder and every disabled person I know would never ever wish to suggest so.  Oscar really is the pits!”


11:40am – Oscar comes back from break dressed in a grey t-shirt and work-out shorts, with Nike logo.  Can’t imagine their PR people are too happy about that.  IMG_9489

Roux starts in with PTSD talk. Reminds the Court that Oscar is a broken man and isolated.  But he has completed all rehabilitative programs that were required.  Which is an interesting topic.  The defense’s stance was always that Oscar has anxiety, but wasn’t a disordered person.  He wasn’t aggressive nor was he narcissistic. Yet, he had to take anger management, assertiveness, conflict-handling and other behavioral courses.  Doesn’t exactly stack up with a guy who supposedly had one bad night, does it?

These programs are designed to correct the offending behavior.

Roux next addresses the fact that Oscar’s been labeled a female abuser. It upsets him that he’s basically the poster child for gender violence.  Oscar cups his face with his hands and covers his eyes while Roux tells the court that Oscar has always been opposed to abuse of women.  Reeva would disagree with that.

Reeva snapped at

So would Samantha Taylor

Samantha said she was left with bruises and scars after the Blade Runner bit and pinched her, but she was also tortured mentally by him during the 18-month relationship. “I was really scared. He made me stand on the stairs and shouted at me. It was like I was on the naughty step.”  “He’s a very insecure man. He’d call at all hours. I was scared of him at times because he had very bad anger issues. He was so possessive, he would look through my phone and find a photo from long ago or look on my Facebook, and often get quite angry.”


11:20am – As break begins, Carl is doing his usual schmoozing  with the crowd.  You’ll hear Nick’s first hands impressions of him in our day 3 wrap-up podcast.  Carl seems oblivious to the fact that this is still a murder trial that’s taking place.  He chats and jokes with the gallery, while playing with his phone.  Meanwhile, the Pistorians munch on candy bars.

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11:15am – Ok, I confess.. I just bailed on the last 15 minutes, but did catch Roux saying that Oscar has sworn off guns, wants nothing to do with them and has sold off his collection. It’s time for tea break.  Masipa is comatose as usual.  Other than saying – yes, Mr. Roux and yes, Mr. Nel, she hasn’t said a damn word the entire day.  She also has no clue what time it is, and has to ask Roux.  The camera pans over to Oscar who looks absolutely drugged to the gills.  He’s been weeping on and off all morning.  His face is red and he continually wipes his nose.

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Masipa’s notes…

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9:51am – Roux goes first with his arguments for the defense.  He tells Masipa they’ve taken her judgment and compared it to the SCA’s judgement to reconcile the differences.

Roux says the Steenkamp’s pain has been aggravated by “enemies” who have promoted the accusation that Oscar intended to kill Reeva [Dolus Directus].  He also says the public [the enemies] have unfairly brought up Oscar’s prowess on the track.  He says you can’t think of this case in terms of an Olympic athlete killing Reeva, it was a 1.5m man on stumps in the middle of the night.  That’s a different person.

It’s a weird beginning to his arguments because he’s basically moaning about what the public thinks of Oscar.  Who cares.  I can’t tell you right now, Masipa obviously doesn’t doesn’t care what the public thinks.  Just get to the point.

The first case he cites is the Visagie case.  The man who shot and killed his daughter who had mistaken for an intruder stealing his car.

“There must be an unease when anyone tells you you must send Mr. Pistorius 15 years to jail when it’s a man on his stumps at 3 o’clock in the morning who did not want to kill his girlfriend.  Who believed that at the time she was in the bedroom.  Do you send that person 15 years to jail?  How is that so far far removed from Vleis Visagie case?”  

Roux mumbles quickly, there are differences, and then keeps rambling on…  Woah, hang on there.  Yes, there are MAJOR differences.  Visagie didn’t pump 4 bullets into a person standing behind a door who was never seen nor spoke a word, on Oscar’s version.

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“There was nothing in the SCA argument saying there was an argument; saying that she ran to the cubicle; saying that he wanted to shoot her.   That’s not this Court’s case and it’s not the case in the SCA.”  Oscar not knowing who was in the cubicle is an ‘undisturbed’ fact.

Then they talk about aim.  Roux uses one of Oscar’s arguments from trial, that if he intended to kill he would have aimed higher.  An incredibly lame argument when you consider 3 out of 4 shots hit his target, with the 4th shot only narrowly missing.  I’d say Oscar’s aim is actually just fine.

“The SCA found that the accused must have foreseen that the accused must have been gambling with that person’s life. Not Reeva. It is irrelevant who was behind the door.”

“He was guilty of being irrational, that’s it.”

“The SCA found that although the accused may have been anxious, and although the accused was frightened, most certainly nobody was going to say he was frightened of Reeva, the deceased.   For the persons still not wanting to believe this, are they saying he was frightened she might attack him? What would the thought process be.”

Well, let me explain the thought process simply.  Yes, Oscar may have had a lot to be frightened about.  Frightened that Reeva knew something he didn’t want anyone else to know which Reeva could have exposed.    Frightened of something on his phone because we know his dipshit brother wiped it clean.  Frightened that he’d lose his stature, his career, his contracts, his money; everything.

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Roux whines that Visagie got sympathy but nooooo, not Mr. Pistorius.  Boo hoo.

Roux also says:  “We deal with moral blame-worthiness, and may we make this submission. Once
you have a reduced moral blame-worthiness,  I cannot think that any court would say you qualify for the minimum prescribed sentence [15 years.] Because factually, it’s wonderful that you have remorse, and it’s wonderful that you have five children to look after and that you go to church everyday, and that you make money for charity. And additional smaller factors.  What is really important in a case?  You look at that person’s moral blame-worthiness to determine, who is it that I’m dealing with.”   

Roux for some insane reason compares Oscar’s crime to a person who rapes a 3 year old, to say who has more moral blame.  Huh?

“The fact that the accused is criminally liable for dolus eventualis, does not mean he thought the deceased was in the cubicle.  It remains that he thought an intruder was in the toilet.”

Roux also takes a dig at the Molletts referring to them as “new investigators”… he questions why people are publicly putting new theories out there when all the experts in court agree that it was shots first, then the bat.  The Pistorius’ nod their heads as Roux talks.

His next statement is a doozy.  Roux refers to the lady in the grocery store [a story told in earlier sentencing testimony] who screamed when she saw Oscar, because she didn’t want to be in a store with a murderer… To that, Roux says:  Screenshot 2016-06-23 21.21.15

“Murderer of what?”

Uh, murder of a person.


“He stands before you on murder and we know that what the man wanted to do in his vulnerable state was to protect himself and the deceased and he incorrectly in law fired four shots and is guilty of Dolus Eventualis murder.  But it does not mean that he did not want to protect.  It does not mean that he was not scared.   It does not mean that he didn’t think it was an intruder.  It does not mean that he wasn’t vulnerable.  It does not mean that there were many supporting facts indicative it was an intruder.  They all remain.  You cannot ignore that.” 

Now there’s mention of Scholtz and his big F-up saying that Oscar now accepts that he did intentionally shot.  Interesting that Roux uses the words “accepts” and not “admits.”  Kind of a big difference.  Oh, and also… it’s not like Oscar got his ass up on the stand and confessed anything.  His ding dong psychologist ran his mouth a little too much, and in an effort to make it seem like Oscar was remorseful, let it slip that yes, Oscar intended to shoot.  Slippery, Roux.  Very slippery.

“It’s not a third version, it’s an acceptance.” 

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Roux brings up the following [undisputed] mitigating factors:

  1. Personal circumstances of the accused [Roux references page numbers for Masipa to view;]
  2. Accused is first offender.
  3. Accused is remorseful.
  4. Accused lost a person who he genuinely loved as a result of his unlawful shooting.  He must live with that for the rest of his life. Self-punishment/inescapable guilt.  The state has shown compassion for this type of human tragedy before – Visagie.
  5. Accused apologized to the parents of the deceased after making concerted efforts previously to do so in private.
  6. The conduct of the accused after the incident shows that the accused wanted the deceased to live.
  7. The accused can never resume his career.  He’s punished himself and will punish himself for the rest of his life far more than any court of law can punish him.

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“He lost his future with his chosen loved one.  He has paid physically with losing his health.  He has paid emotionally.  We say he’s a shell of the man that he was.  He has paid financially. He’s left independent of others.  He’s paid socially.   He’s judged and vilified by many and verbally attacked.  He’d paid by the loss of his identity.  He’s a person filled with self-loathing. He’s paying constantly.”  But, he notes, I’m not taking away from the grief of the parents.  IMG_9646

Roux says it should be taken into consideration… Oscar can perform public service in Reeva’s memory and notes some of his charitable works.  He’s changed the public’s perception of disabled people.  He’s ‘desperate’ to speak to the Steenkamps.   He’s studying with the London School of Economics [and online course] which he wouldn’t have access to in prison.

Roux says Scholtz “produced a second report and we say it’s a report of exemplary scientific rigor.”

“He [Oscar] is not a psychopath.”

 

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9:42am – Roux reads quotes from Reeva’s friends and wants Kim to comment on them:

Sam Greyvenstein:  “Reeva told me that Oscar was amazing and that he  treated her like gold.  And that she thought they had a lot in common.  Reeva told me she really liked Oscar.   The relationship slowly progressed and became more serious.  Reeva often mentioned how happy she was and that Oscar made her feel that way.  Reeva confided in me that even though she and Oscar had not been together for very long, she really loved Oscar and she could see a future with him.  She told me that if Oscar asked her to marry him, she would probably say yes.”  sam g

Kim responded that she didn’t know Sam G at all [even though Roux says she was one of Reeva’s best friends].  Sam was Justin Devaris’ long-time girlfriend. And Justin was part of the hot-head, car-loving, skirt-chasing crowd that Oscar got involved with in the last few years prior to meeting Reeva.  Justin and Sam are actually the people that got Oscar and Reeva hooked up.  It seems like Reeva didn’t talk much about that group to her family as she did about some of her other friends.  Can’t blame her.   It’s not unusual to have our “party” friends and our true blue friends segmented to some degree.

Kim said she and Reeva were as close as sisters, and she asked Reeva if she was happy.  Reeva just shrugged her shoulders, smiled, and said we’ll speak later.  “I could see there was a fondness for Oscar, but I didn’t see any love.”  Screenshot 2016-06-17 20.08.23

Here’s Oscar’s weepy expression….  

It’s really sick how the defense has exploited Reeva’s feelings to save the future of the man that killed her.  Reminds me of when Oscar told the Steenkamps during his testimony at trial that Reeva went to bed loved that night.  To this day, that’s still one of the most infuriating things I’ve heard from his mouth.

Roux also read some quotes from TV interviews with Gina.  Kim says she knows Gina very well and as far as she’s concerned, Gina was Reeva’s best friend. This is something that’s in contrast to what June told us.  These interviews were given on February 27, 2013 [13 days after the murder.]

Gina Myers to Mandy Wiener:  “She was happy.  I think in every relationship there’s ups and downs, and you know, stuff that you go through when it’s a new relationship.  But everything was normal.”  gina m

Gina Myers to Andrew Harding:  “I did [think she was happy.]”

Kim says, “I know she liked Oscar” and doesn’t dispute that.  But she doesn’t think Reeva loved him.  Roux can read all the quotes he wants, the fact remains they had only been together for a few months.  I sense something a little different in Roux.  It feels like he doesn’t have quite the same level of passion in his arguments as I’ve seen in the past. 

There was also a moment where Roux screwed up the evidence.  Roux points Kim towards the Piers Morgan interview in 2013.   Kim told Piers about when Reeva lived in Jo’burg she confided in her about an abusive relationship.   Roux says – “that was your previous evidence, and we know now you could not say that.”   IMG_9647

Nel objects and tells Roux to double check “that relationship” because it’s not Oscar she’s referring to.  Kim confirms, she was talking about one of Reeva’s first relationships.  Doh!   Roux apologizes a few times, somewhat flustered – I think some legal intern is gonna get their ass chewed out after this.   

He finishes off with one last quote from a February 20, 2013 interview where Kim talks about how she first learned Reeva was dating Oscar.  “When it first came out, there was rumors.  When she attended the one function with him, and I remember I sent her a message and I said, ‘is it true cuz?’ and at the time she said no, but he’s a very nice guy. And that’s basically it.  She never really spoke much to me about him other than that.”   Kim agrees, that’s true. 

Roux ends like a petulant child and reminds the court, and Kim, that Reeva said I love you in her Valentine’s card.  Kim doesn’t really acknowledge him, and that’s it.  Witnesses are done.  

No offense to Kim, because she handled herself well against Roux, but this testimony was kind of ho hum.  She was up and off the stand in, I don’t know, maybe 15 minutes. Kinda crazy for the last witness of this saga.


9:40am – Direction examination was very short.  Roux doesn’t mince words on cross.  Basically in a nutshell, he says he was nice to Barry yesterday, but don’t expect the same from him today.  He wants to bring the focus back to Oscar and wants there to be a true interpretation of Oscar’s relationship with Reeva.  Oh, this should be good.


9:32am – Kim says she and her family are coping but her three children have suffered a lot.  They have issues which she doesn’t want to openly discuss in court.

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Kim saw her father (Reeva’s uncle) cry for the first time when Reeva died, and the second time when he heard Kim had to testify again. “It’s very unfair what our family’s been put through.”  Makes me wonder what Masipa thinks of that.  Of course, if she hadn’t screwed up the original verdict, none of them would be in the courtroom today, almost 2 years later. 

As far as what Kim thinks about the ITV interview which will be aired June 24:

“I’m not happy about that at all.  I just think it’s very unfair to want to talk to the world about your version when you had the opportunity in court to do so.” 

“All we’ve ever wanted was the truth.  I don’t feel there was an apology from him.  I don’t feel the true version came out.”


9:30am – I’m surprised to see Kim Martin, who gave very moving testimony during the trial, back on the stand as the last witness for the state.  I was really thinking it would be June based on the fact that Nel said this witness could potentially take a few hours.  Kim, not knowing Oscar at all, is really more of a character reference for Reeva, which is great, but she doesn’t have information that could be picked apart at any great length.

Aside from June, the other person I was really hoping to hear from was Samantha Taylor, or her mom, Trish.   I know the Taylors take a fair amount of heat from the public in terms  accident waiting to happenof their intentions, mostly because Trish wrote a book.  Which, by the way, if you’ve never read An Accident Waiting to Happen, I highly recommend it.  There’s some seriously crazy shit in there.  Nick and I have occasionally spoken with Trish and I believe her to be a sincere, well-meaning person.  I think she and Samantha have moved on and want nothing to do with this whole fiasco.  


9:28am – Nick made it to court just in time, after needing to pull over for a chat with the cops.  He got away O.J.-style and managed to find his seat without having to ask the Pistorius family for directions 🙂

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Meanwhile, other court reporters are doing this…

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After Barry Steenkamp gave emotional testimony on Tuesday, Carl gave a comment to his [his rumored girlfriend] Karyn Maughan. 

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Has Judge Greenland Become Persona Non Grata?

One of the most vocal critics of Oscar Pistorius’ culpable homicide verdict has always been retired High Court Judge, Chris Greenland.  Not only has Judge Greenland been a regular legal pundit on Carte Blanche, he’s also become a Facebook and Twitter friend to many who follow the Oscar case.  He’s been generous with his time and opinions.  Speaking personally, I’ve had the opportunity to Skype and Whatsapp with him on several occasions and have always enjoyed our conversations.

Now, three weeks prior to Oscar learning his sentence [on July 6th], the tide has suddenly changed.  And oh, the seas are rough.  People have unfriended him in droves.  They’ve chastised him across social media.  The reaction to his most recent public comments has been harsh, yet completely understandable.

Judge Greenland told Carte Blanche:  mansion

“The sentence that I would impose is one of 15 years house arrest where house arrest means, house imprisonment.  In other words, no liberties except liberties within his home environment.  Coupled with 15 years of community service.”

WTF?

He further explained on his Facebook page:

“…that way he [Oscar] would be in prison without being brutalized and have a chance at rehabilitation, society would benefit, the offence is not trivialized and good is done in Reeva’s name.”

Nick and I do not subscribe to the notion of leniency in sentencing for rehabilitation purposes when it comes to murder.  So 15 years house arrest is not something we support. We feel strongly Oscar needs to go to prison.  There is the flip side of the conversation though, and that’s addressing the reality of law.

Judge Greenland laid out 19 points on his Facebook page explaining why he would give house arrest.  We’ll address those details in our upcoming narrative WHITE HORSE.  Here’s the problem.  The Court [Judge Masipa] found that Oscar didn’t intend to kill Reeva.  Not only that, he didn’t intend to kill the intruder either [although he could foresee that possibility, and decided to act anyway, which was the cause for the reversal of his verdict.]  Oscar just shot off 4 bullets like a jackass with apparently no intention at all in the eyes of Masipa.  Because that’s kinda sorta reckless, Masipa slapped him with a culpable homicide conviction.  Yes, those are the shitty “facts” of this case.   So what does a judge do?  Do they now issue the appropriate sentence based on their findings, or issue one based on the new verdict alone?

What Judge Greenland is doing is providing a purely legalistic view of what he believes Masipa 2should be done based on the letter of the law, not based on what we all believe the findings should have been.  He believes, like most of us, this should have been a Dolus Directus conviction and Oscar should be in prison.  But something important to remember, the conviction of Dolus Eventualis does not change the original findings.  Sadly, they will always remain.

Interestingly enough, Judge Greenland and I just talked about this topic last month when I asked him if he felt trial by judge was generally better than trial by jury.  He believes trial by judge is best, but he did speak frankly that it frustrated him at times when he’d have to acquit an accused that he felt was guilty because of some narrow law.  With juries, even though they have instructions too, they’re more inclined to convict if a person is clearly guilty, regardless of what the law says.

There are a few points here for us to debate:

  1.  Taking into consideration the Court’s findings, and forgetting your own personal opinions of what you believe really happened, is Judge Greenland’s suggested sentence reasonable for this crime?
  2. By sharing his opinion publicly, Judge Greenland runs the risk of Judge Masipa listening and being influenced by his opinion.  Should he have shared it publicy or kept it to himself?
  3. Finally, how much weight should a family’s wishes be considered, above and beyond the narrow letter of the law, when delivering a sentence?

“He has to pay for his crime.” – Barry Steenkamp

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Oscar Pistorius Sentencing Hearing: Day 2 [LIVE COVERAGE]

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Oscar’s sentencing hearing is in full swing, and with the help of Nick, who’s on-site in the courtroom, we’ll be bringing you the sights and sounds from Pretoria [LIVE], right here on this page.  The most current updates will be posted at the top.  All time stamps are South Africa time.

You can also follow our Twitter feeds at:

@shakedowntitle        @HiRezLife        @lisawj13

Court will resume tomorrow, Wednesday, at 9:30am

2:05pm – With only an hour left to go in the court day [they always wrap up promptly at 3pm] Nel asks that they adjourn early so his last witness doesn’t have to carry over until tomorrow.  He said it’ll be emotional testimony and may take up to two hours, or could be less.  There are a few different theories of who the last witness will be.  I originally read Kim Martin, but Kim wouldn’t take 2 hours.  Some other theories are Gina Myers, Trish Taylor or Samantha Taylor. I think it will be June.  

Roux was pretty annoyed by the multiple breaks that Nel has been requesting.  He objected to them finishing early and said to Masipa he felt like it was a tactic.  Nel barked back that it wasn’t, he was just trying to manage his witness and this adjournment was in their best interest.  Masipa hesitated, but gave it to Nel.  She seems to be a little softer on him these past few days than she was during the original trial.

After the last witness testifies tomorrow, both sides will argue their case, and then it goes to Masipa for a decision.  Many think she’ll decide the sentence by Friday.  I’m really not sure, although I lean on the side of Friday as well.  I just don’t think anybody, including Masipa, wants to drag this out any longer.

1:22pm – From Nick:   ‘June looks shattered.’  

A voice of reason…

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12:56pm – Roux is coming at Mashabane pretty hard.  She’s been very emotive on the stand talking about her experience with Oscar.  Roux trying to package it as simple incompatibility, but Mashabane clearly feels Oscar was out of line with his tantrums.  Roux’s trying to get her to say that Oscar isn’t violent, to which she will not agree.  Roux gets admonished by Masipa for trying to trick the witness. Hmmm… is Masipa starting to wake up?

12:55pm – Notice the dining table in the picture below – that’s the dining set that Oscar had in his Pretoria home.  The one where he says that he and Reeva had dinner on the last night of her life while working on her modeling contracts.  The one that was just feet away from Reeva’s dead body as Oscar dumped her at the bottom of his stairs.  Carl’s working extra hard on PR this week… fishing for sympathy for Oscar but proving to the world how utterly insensitive their family can be.

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12:35pm – Oscar glaring at Mashabane 

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12:30pm – From Nick:  ‘Shrink lady shakes her head when Mashabane says Oscar was never assaulted as he claims.  No report ever filed.’ 

12:27pm – Mashabane is going into a detailed explanation about what medication was officially prescribed for Oscar, and what wasn’t.  When she tried to explain to him the protocol and why he was being denied certain drugs, he threw hissy fits.  He also claimed that one of his medications wasn’t working, yet when he turned the bottle into Mashabane, it hadn’t been opened.

From Nick:  ‘Masipa looks bemused.  Barry Roux looks a bit worried.  Like WTF has my client been doing?’

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12:14pm – Oscar’s hand is on his forehead, staring at the prison official.  This is the most interested he’s seemed in any of the testimony thus far.

12:10pm – Nurse Mashabane, a nurse from the prison where Oscar served 10 months, is the 2nd witness for the state.  She’s talking about how on March 1, 2015, Oscar screamed at her to get out of his cell while he was sleeping and she was trying to complete her rounds. Apparently he covered himself with his sheet and told her she was disturbing him.

11:54am – From Nick:  ‘Barry and June not really talking.  Henke and Arnold not really talking.’

More of Carl’s B.S….

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11:40am – Still on break.  Carl was overheard talking to a security guard in the hall about facial recognition software.  Lord knows what the hell the Incredible Hulk is up to now…

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11:35am – From Nick:  ‘Oscar did eventually leave the courtroom out a side door with Aimee and Carl.’  

It’s hard to say if there’s tension amongst them, or if it’s just the emotion of the moment that has Oscar with his panties in a bunch.

11:29am – From Nick:  Aimee and Carl went over to Oscar in the dock to console him but he turned away from them.  I wonder if he’s upset with his family for not testifying?  Whose decision was that?  That must be pretty disappointing when not a single person in your life stands up for you.  Where’s his buddy Alex P. who was a huge supporter of his back during trial?  

11:20am – It looks like Oscar has some type of bruise or blister on his forehead.  Any guesses on the cause?  Fight? Drunken fall?  Intentionally banged his head on the wall?

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11:19am – Roux starts off cross-examination saying he had considered going through the objective findings with Barry today.  But now after hearing his testimony, he has decided it wouldn’t be appropriate.  He basically gave himself a pat on the back for working extra hard not to be a dick.  FYI Roux, mentioning that you decided not to be a dick, still kinda makes you a dick.

So instead Roux just says they understand and they’re really very, very sorry.  Barry acknowledges that Oscar did reach out to them through his lawyers to meet with them and they [he and June] declined.  He says they’re just not ready to do it right now.  Barry, says through tears, someday he wants to sit down alone – he and Oscar – to have a conversation.  

Nick said he could see Oscar nod his head in agreement when Barry said this.  And Roux reiterates that it’s indeed what Oscar wants.  Can you imagine.  How the hell do you have a conversation with the murderer of your child without ripping their throat out?  But I can also appreciate how a victim would want to ask questions of a perpetrator.  They’ll never get the answers they’re looking for, but I can appreciate the effort to try.

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11:12am – Perhaps the most painful part of his testimony was when he talked about how he could visualize Reeva’s fear and pain as she was being murdered.  He was in a place of not knowing what was real, and what he was imagining.  Like a perpetual nightmare that you’re unsure whether it’s a hallucination or not.  He would hurt himself by punching the wall and other objects so he could physically feel the pain. Feel Reeva’s pain.  He was shaking uncontrollably while sharing this with the court.

Meanwhile, Aimee is seen in the background sitting totally stone-faced.  The only visible emotion that I could detect was annoyance.

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I’ve always found it incredibly telling that Reeva never mentioned Oscar to her dad.  It’s a big deal for any woman to tell her dad about a guy she cares for.  Dads don’t want to hear about random hook-ups and casual dating – obviously – nor do women want to share that kind of stuff.  Women do however talk to their dad about special relationships.  The fact that Reeva never even mentioned Oscar’s name to her dad, even though they spoke on the phone every Sunday, says a lot.

11:10am – Barry explained to the court that he and June were in a terrible financial situation at the time of Reeva’s death.  Reeva had told friends that she wanted to make enough money to look after her parents one day.  Barry says that just two weeks after Reeva’s murder, their landlord sent them a notice because of what she had seen in the news.  They were so upset by this insensitivity that they decided to immediately relocate.

Barry talked about his disappointment that Oscar’s defense brought up the fact that Oscar gave them money.  It was something that the lawyers had worked out and had agreed to keep out of the public [because it’s nobody’s fucking business.]  It wasn’t blood money.  Just like every family that’s ever filed a civil suit, the Steenkamps needed financial help – needed, not wanted – and Oscar paid up.  

10:59am – I’ve seen a lot of court cases over the years, and a lot of devastation, but can honestly say that Barry’s testimony is some of the saddest testimony I’ve heard in a long time.  

At one point he turned and spoke directly to Masipa asking that the court allow photos of Reeva’s injuries to be shown so the world can see the wounds and pain inflicted upon her.  He also hopes “…. that the world can see this and that most probably distract people who are thinking of that type of deed to stop them in the future.”

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10:29am – Barry is crying and shaking.  It’s heartbreaking.  He says they have pictures of Reeva all over the house.  He’s changed completely since Reeva’s death.  He can’t mix with people anymore.  He sits on his veranda at 2/3am and smokes and has his coffee.  Nick and I can attest to Barry having a bit of a wall.  June has it too. When we met the Steenkamps last year, we all sat around one table, except for Barry who sat at a nearby table.  He just needed a little bit of extra space.  He didn’t really engage in much conversation.  He seemed content with just being there and listening.  Despite Barry being an incredibly warm and gracious person, it’s impossible to miss his brokenness.  Now that’s REAL brokenness.  Not the stuff that Oscar fakes.

“Every day of my life is the same” – Barry explaining, through tears, how although people say time heals, nothing has changed for him since Reeva’s death.

10:26am – Kim Martin’s husband is offering Barry support.  Barry’s in the witness box now. [images courtesy of Karyn Maughn]

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9:59am – From Nick… he says the tone in court today is “quite festive.”  So obviously his vibe is much different than ours watching from afar, as is always the case anytime you’re actually present in court.  Oscar came over briefly to where he [Nick] is sitting and looks less whacked out than yesterday.  He’s hugging lots of people.  Aimee gave her dad, Henke, a big hug.  There hasn’t been any noticeable one on one interaction between Henke and Oscar.

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9:54am – And again within minutes… the witness is done.  That’s it for the defense?  No family, no friends?  An extremely lack luster ending on Oscar’s side.  One can’t help but wonder, why.  Have they given up?  Do they know something we don’t?  

Nel wants a break which means Barry Steenkamp is probably coming up next.  Such an odd feeling these last few days.  Like we’re on the home stretch of this quest for justice, and yet, it just feels empty and kind of unsatisfying.   Oscar’s still playing games and the defense witnesses are still useless.  Everyone has had enough.

9:33am – Today’s 2nd witness, and the final witness [I believe] for the defense is Marius Nel.  He’s a pastor at 3C Ministries which helps the underprivileged.  He’s also a registered spirital worker at DCS.  He has visited Oscar many times over the past few years.  He experienced Oscar as a man that was broken.

Marius says there are schools in need of assistance, for sports, nutrition, etc., and they’ve expressed interest in having Oscar help them out.  When he says this, Jenna smiles and looks in Oscar’s direction with little imaginary hearts beaming from her eyes.  Meanwhile, Oscar has his head down, probably doodling.  He seems pretty uninterested.

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9:30am – First up, is a woman from Iceland named Ebba Gudny Gudnundottir (not sure if I spelled that right.)  11 years ago, she found out while pregnant that her son would be born without legs.  She went online and researched double amputee and images of Oscar came up.  Her mother decided to write to Oscar, not really expecting to hear back.  But Oscar did write to them and eventually they all met and a friendship formed.  Oscar was a friend/mentor of sorts to both of Ebba’s children.  At one of Oscar’s competitions, he gave his medal to Ebba’s son.  

Ebba spent all of about 5 minutes on the stand.  The only question Nel asked was the age of her son to which Ebba answered, eleven.  My guess is that when/if Nel addresses this witness in his arguments that he’ll say the person Oscar was eleven years ago [when he first engaged with the family] is different than the person he is today.  Screenshot 2016-06-14 20.56.35

Something to note:  Oscar’s ex Jenna Edkins (BabyShoes) has been in court this week.  She’s in the olive green sweater, sitting next to Aimee.  Hmmm.. friends or lovers again?  

 9:23am – Nick reports there are big smiles at the start of Day 2.  The courtroom is a little less full than yesterday.  I’ve also experienced a quieter Twitter this morning.  I think Scholtz completely turned everyone off. One of my friends on Websleuths sent me a message saying the following:

“I really lost heart with it all yesterday.  Obviously we all want him locked up for as long as possible but know that won’t happen.  Apart from being a first offender and having done anger management courses and having done anger management courses and getting psychotherapy, both of which were ordered by the court, IMO there are no mitigating circumstances.  

It seems the anger management courses didn’t work, but I’m waiting for Nel to produce evidence that OP  lied to Scholtz about having heard the man being raped and then saw him hanging for 30 minutes the following morning, and the fact that he was not assaulted.  

If they are both lies, Masipa should read him the riot act and hand down a longer rather than shorter sentence.  I’m afraid I have no confidence that her sentence will be appropriate.  I’d love her to hand down another shockingly light sentence that the State will appeal to the SCA who I’m sure will deal with him harshly, but in her own way she’s as cunning as OP and will give him the lightest sentence she can without provoking the State to appeal.”

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What is the Twitter world saying?…

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Day 2 will begin at 9:30am on Tuesday, June 14

In the meantime, while we wait… Here’s a nod to the batshit crazy Pistorians…  Pucker up, Oz.

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Oscar Pistorius Sentencing Hearing: Day 1 [LIVE COVERAGE]

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Oscar’s sentencing hearing is in full swing, and with the help of Nick, who’s on-site in the courtroom, we’ll be bringing you the sights and sounds from Pretoria [LIVE], right here on this page.  The most current updates will be posted at the top.  All time stamps are South Africa time.

You can also follow our Twitter feeds at:

@shakedowntitle        @HiRezLife        @lisawj13

Check out Nick’s recap from today on Soundclound.  He sat next to Marc Batchelor during the proceedings who couldn’t say enough bad things about Oscar – he truly hates the guy [no surprise].  Nick also met Gina Myers for the first time who he said was very friendly and sweet.  He had a chance to briefly talk to Barry who, despite the terrible circumstances for which they’re in court, was his usual Barry self… a kind, warm man.

Carl’s Corner…

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Oscar day 1 sentencingThe defense has stated they’ll have two witnesses for this hearing.  One is Professor Jonathan Scholtz who testified today (Monday).  The second witness has not yet been named.  We don’t know how many witnesses the state will have, although we do know that Barry Steenkamp is expected to be one of them.

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Here are some key points brought up by Scholtz, as reported by The Guardian:

  • Scholtz said in his view Pistorius was “broken” and should be in hospital rather than prison.  He says “Mr. Pistorius would be better served if he gave back in a positive and constructive way, using his skills”
  • The doctor said Pistorius’ depression, anxiety, paranoia and social phobia had worsened since his trial. He has post-traumatic stress disorder but is not a psychopath.
  • Scholtz said Pistorius cannot bear the sound of gunfire, even on television,and has sold all his firearms.
  • The former athlete has participated in courses on anger management and restorative justice, and the doctor believed his risk of violent reoffending was low.
  • Barry Roux, for the defence, said an episode in which Pistorius banged a table came after he had been denied access to a painkilling drug, Voltaren, for three weeks.

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12:10pm – Blow after blow, Nel calls out Oscar’s [and Scholtz’s] bullshit.  First, Oscar told Scholtz some sob story about how he saw a dead body [an inmate who had hanged himself] in prison and it traumatized him.  It turns out, he never saw what he said he did.  Oscar lied to Scholtz.  Then we find out that when Oscar’s cell was raided in July 2015 [as part of the Krejcir debacle] the medication, Cipralex, was found.  It’s not an illegal medication – it’s used to treat depression, OCD and GAD – the point was, it was against the rules for Oscar to have it, but Oscar being entitled, had it anyway.  IMG_9271

As Nel requested a break, and the camera panned to Oscar, he look positively drugged.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Oscar so despondent.  Instead of the drooling, sobbing guy from 2014, this was a zombie version of Oscar. But as Nel so aptly put it, Oscar wasn’t so despondent that he couldn’t participate in a TV interview.  

Nel busted out a few brand new stories about Oscar for the court.  The first one was a prickly little exchange with Captain van Aardt at a previous hearing.

From News24:

“He [Oscar] confronted an investigator, Colonel [Mike] van Aardt directly, saying ‘please give us space and privacy, you didn’t do your job in any case’. That’s not a person who’s given up on life. That’s a person in charge,” prosecutor Gerrie Nel told psychologist Prof Jonathan Scholtz.

Then there was this:

He confronted one correctional services official, a sister Mashobane, in January, Nel said.  “He got so upset with sister Mashobane that he approached her in her office. He was shaking and he banged the table.”

11:52am – The debate about Oscar’s intentions is now officially over.  Sorry, you balloon-loving Pistorians!  Scholtz says Oscar does [now] admit that he intentionally shot “the person” behind the door.  Although, I get the sense he didn’t actually mean to admit that, but Nel certainly wasn’t gonna let him off the hook.

11:45am – Nel’s giving Scholtz a run for his money.  He stood up for June and read from her book her passage about forgiveness.  He pointed out to Scholtz that June forgave Oscar because her religion required her to do so.  It as for heading for herself  – it had nothing to do with excusing Oscar. 

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11:00am – One of Oscar’s mitigating factors, according to Scholtz, is that he wants to go to work for his uncle’s company.  Not quite sure how that’s relevant, but ok.  Oscar complained about the conditions in prison.  He got an infection in his stumps from the shower floor.  In perhaps the most insulting moment so far, Scholtz told the court that “the deceased’s” [not Reeva, the deceased] family has forgiven him and took money from him that they didn’t have to pay back.  Bastards!  Finally, before break, Scholtz ends off by saying there are two Oscars.  The one with his legs, and the one without.  There’s actually now a third Oscar too… the one who’s given up… cue violin.    Tea break. 

10:45am – Some of the highlights so far:  Scholtz says Oscar’s condition is “severe.”  His depression is worse than it was in 2014.  His sister Aimee leaving town (for London) has been difficult because the two shared a close relationship – closer than the one he has with Carl.  The grand majority of this report is the same as the one delivered to the court in 2014.  Much emphasis has been put on his deceased mother and absent father.  He claims to now want nothing to do with guns. He spends a lot of time praying, and at church, and has taken solace that Reeva is now with God.  Wow, that’s generous.  

10:06am – Dr. Scholtz from Weskoppies is first witness for defense.  I’m curious to see who he interviewed this time around.  Last time, it was basically just Oscar’s besties.

10:00am – Court starts on time.  Masipa is very slow getting to the stand.  There are no assessors for sentencing.

9:47am – What the hell is up with this picture??  Arnold looks like he’s on his way to hunt rhinos…

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9:40am – Nick is now in the courtroom.  He said Gerrie is all smiles.  He just spotted Oscar who looks very sleepy.  Oscar is hugging everyone – including cops.  From Nick:

“Oscar looking very awkard.  Surprisingly awkward.”

9:30am – Latest arrivals:  Henke (Oscar’s dad), Brig. Gerard Labuschagne (ex-head of SAPS Investigative Psychology unit), and Barry Roux.

9:27am – Aimee just walked in.  She recently relocated to London.

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9:25am – Mangena’s there today!  So great to see him.  I’d love to hear some testimony from him again.  Without a doubt, one of the strongest witnesses of the entire trial.

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9:20am – Gina Myers is there and was reportedly giving the Steenkamps a hug.  Interesting because when we met with the Steenkamps last year, they mentioned they did not have a relationship with the Myers family due to some mistrust.  Maybe they’re just putting their differences aside for this hearing.  Gina tweeted the following this morning:

“When I look into Barry Steenkamp’s eyes, I see Reeva’s.  They’re beautiful and deep.  He’s like a big teddy bear.  Her parents are so strong.”

9:15am – It’s a full house with the Pistorius clan – Arnold, and at least one of his brothers, three of Oscar’s aunts, Carl and some other relatives are there.  No Aimee.  

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9:00am – Barry and June have arrived.  Kim Martin is there as well.

8:37am – The Hulk is in the house… Carl just arrived.  He looks pretty somber.

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8:20am – Court should be starting in about an hour and a half.  Here are some scenes from outside the court, courtesy of Gia Nicolaides and Power987

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8:03am – The weather is really lousy today in SA.  As I Skyped with Nick earlier this morning (his time) I could see huge cracks of lighting outside his window.  He’s currently stuck in traffic but not that far from the courthouse.

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7:45am – Nel is at the courthouse.  No sign of Oscar and family yet.

7:25am – Ulrich Roux on the radio says Oscar needs to testify to show remorse.  He also anticipates there will be testimony from personnel at the prison commenting on Oscar’s behavior.   Roux seemed a bit confused while speaking about Kim Martin – he referred to her as Oscar’s aunt.

6:30am – The hearing is expected to last for approximately four days.  The proceedings will begin with mitigation.  Who thinks that Oscar might be the first to take the stand?  If he does, will it be the same old boohoohoo?  I personally think we will see some of that again, but it may be tempered by some feigned remorse.  Not that he’ll ever admit to doing anything wrong, I just think that he may try to go the route of acting a little more humble as opposed to his argumentative responses from the original trial.

When it’s the State’s turn, Barry Steenkamp will be speaking for the family.  It will no doubt be a gut-wrenching moment for all.  barry

Andrea Johnson, Nel’s right hand prosecutor who’s taken on a primary role in the case, has been vocal about her disapproval of Oscar doing an interview for TV [to be aired on June 24.]  She’s said they’ll be considering the material as something that may be used in court.  She’s also publicly said if Oscar’s sentence is less than 8 years, the state will appeal Masipa’s decision… again.

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For those who may not be aware, the minimum sentence required for a conviction of Dolus Eventualis is 15 years.  Judge Masipa will then apply credit for time served, as well as credit for mitigating factors, IF warranted.  Has Masipa’s sympathy for Oscar waned over the past year?  We’ll find out soon enough.  

While we wait for the first arrivals at court, here’s what people are saying on Twitter… 

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And…. we can always count on Carl to quote from the bible…

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What sentence will Oscar Pistorius receive next month?

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Even though the Appeal Court overturned Oscar’s previous verdict, and in the eyes of the law he’s now a murderer, will Judge Masipa continue to show him mercy?  Essentially all the court has done so far is change Oscar’s label.

Here’s something to keep in mind…

“Masipa’s findings are still her findings. Nothing has changed.”  – Judge Greenland

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What do you think the outcome of the sentencing hearing will be after time served and mitigation are applied?  Take the poll, and then share your comments below.  I’d like to know if you think justice will only be served once Oscar does the mandatory sentence (15 years) behind bars.  Or, is there justice in the Dolus Eventualis conviction alone?  Let’s discuss.

 

Follow Lisa on Twitter @lisawj13