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…

 

Henke Pistorius: WTF Isn’t Adequate

“Oscar is a person who does not make mistakes” – Henke Pistorius

Thinking I was still fuzzy from sleep this morning, I reread the Henke Pistorius article. henkeWas there something I was missing?  Was there some pop-up covering a few paragraphs that would make what I was reading make sense?  After a third read, I realized it wasn’t me.  These were the schizophrenic ramblings of a hot-headed man.  He’s also kind of a nutter.

The following excerpts are from news24.com:

Scarcely 24 hours after the National Prosecuting Authority filed its appeal against Oscar’s six-year sentence for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, Henke has finally broken his silence in an exclusive interview with City Press’ sister newspaper, Rapport.

“I am now speaking out for Oscar. I am standing up for my child. I remained silent for too long. I stood back. Now that’s over,” said Henke, himself an attorney.

Henke 1Why wait so long?  It’s been three years – a trial, a sentencing, an appeal, and another sentencing, have come and gone.  But, hold the fort!  Henke Pistorius is an attorney?? Did I read that correctly?  WTF. If that crazy revelation is true, what does that say about Henke’s absence in court?

During the court case, Henke was seldom seen in the High Court in Pretoria. He was never part of the solid Pistorius family, standing squarely behind Oscar, something which has raised much speculation.

Henke says, don’t rush to judgement.  He was watching from the advocate’s office down the road.  But if you’re an attorney, and your son’s on trial for murder, shouldn’t you be there in court helping?!

One very good reason for Henke to not be in court was Oscar scapegoating his dad with the ownership of the .38 ammo that was found [and illegally possessed] in his safe.  Henke refused to sign a police document assuming ownership.  Which then, of course, makes it pretty awkward to sit in court and say hey son, I’m here for you.

Henke 3

I always wondered what part of the father-son estrangement story was true and what part of it was being exaggerated to further the poor me my life and family sucked narrative in court.  Although I do believe their family is quite divided and troubled, I’m also leery of how they use adversity to their advantage.

“I don’t have to defend myself, that I’m an absent father. Let them say so. It doesn’t matter.”

 “I am part of the family; we go out and eat together. But [Oscar’s uncle] Arnold and I are no longer Pistorius family close, the way we were when were schoolboys causing trouble and getting hidings together. Priorities began to differ, that’s all I can say.”  

I think Arnold must be dreaming of strangling Henke right about now.  For three long years, it’s been his mission to balance a wobbly house of cards.  Certainly with Masipa, Arnold has been successful in his efforts.  Now at the tail end of the game, Henke rolls up on the scene like a drunken sailor.  He accuses Oscar’s defense team of being a bunch of schmucks and claims to have inside knowledge of the case that the family ignored.  Oh, I’d love to be a fly on the wall in the Pistorius house today!

He saw his son in jail a few times, but the long, open-hearted discussion between father and son he had so hoped for never happened.

“We hug each other, but not a lot is said. Because I am the father, and a mistake was made, a tragic mistake. There isn’t really anything more to say.”  Henke 5

If there’s nothing more to say, why do this interview?

Now his frustration with Oscar’s advocate, Barry Roux, has finally boiled over when he read Nel’s appeal arguments in the media. According to Nel, sentencing must be focused on the fact that a person who was behind a toilet door and who presented no immediate danger to the accused was shot.

“Rubbish! For God’s sake, forget this guessing game of who was standing behind the toilet door, where and how. If Reeva was trying to get away – the State alleged she was running away from a ‘gun-wielding Oscar’ – she would have hidden in the opposite corner, or next to the wall alongside the door. She wouldn’t have been sitting on the toilet.”  trajectory

So what exactly is Henke saying?  There are so many things about this statement that frankly confuse the shit out of me.  First, it’s common knowledge that Reeva wasn’t sitting on the toilet when she was shot.  Second, it’s also fact that she wasn’t hiding in the corner of the cubicle.  So what is he implying?  Is he saying Oscar knew Reeva was there, and if he is, how does that help Oscar’s defense?  If that’s not what he’s saying, then it still doesn’t make sense because regardless of who’s there, an unidentified person behind the door is very much a ‘guessing game.’

Henke claims that he performed calculations on the four bullet holes in the toilet door – measuring a square around the bullet holes and comparing it to how much space a person of Reeva’s height would have to stand – and reached his own shocking conclusion.

“If you look at the trajectory of the bullets, it’s clear: If she was standing in the opposite corner, or next to the wall alongside the door, the chances of her being hit were less than 1%.

Less than 1%?  Ummm… care to explain how you came up with that very precise, very scientific percentage?  Let’s take a look at the image above.  Based on my calculations, I’d say Henke is… oh about, 100% wrong.

“That’s irrespective of the fact that the bullets went through the door at a height of lower than 1m and all of them had a downward trajectory, which would hardly have been able to fatally injure a standing person. Now, 1% is miles from the reality Nel is trying to create.

So let’s see if we understand this correctly.  Is Henke implying that Oscar believed the person was cowering in the corner and therefore, firing into the very calculated “squared” area of the door, was just a warning?  Did he forget about the part of his son’s defense where the shooting was not deliberate, he didn’t have time to think, and basically was randomly firing while shitting his pants? That’s kinda different than shooting into a specific squared box with the intention of missing your target.   Most importantly, Oscar didn’t miss.

“God only knows how something so obvious was overlooked. To me, it’s totally inexplicable.”

Henke revealed his findings to Roux; Oscar’s attorney, Brian Webber; and his brother Arnold, but it was repeatedly ignored.  Henke 4

I can’t imagine why Henke was ignored.

“The advice I gave them was simply wiped away. There was no reaction to the request I made as a father.”

Henke even went to Arnold’s office to try to speak to him.

“I couldn’t, he was in a long meeting.” Henke then put his conclusions in a letter and followed them up with a phone call.

“It’s shocking, actually. The cardinal questions were not asked! I’m . . . bedonnerd [enraged] about it, to put it lightly. Furious with everyone who was involved because I said it over and over.”

Henke said he even told Roux a few days before the verdict that he hoped this oversight didn’t become Oscar’s Achilles heel.

“And then that was precisely what happened. In her judgment, Judge Thokozile Masipa said three times: the toilet was so small, Oscar knew that if he was shooting through the door he would probably hit a person.”

Even the sympathetic judge can see clearly on this one point – that shooting into the cubicle would put somebody in grave danger.

Henke, who was joined by defence ballistic expert Wollie Wolmarans during Rapport’s interview, also spoke of his unhappiness with one of the most unsettling moments in the murder trial, when Nel showed a video in which Pistorius was seen shooting a watermelon and then asking him if he didn’t know that Reeva’s head would also “explode, like a watermelon”.

The gun in the video is 10 times more powerful than the murder weapon, says Wolmarans.  oscar with gun

So, Reeva’s head wounds were not that significant?  Because the watermelon comparison is not an exact comparison, we should forget what Oscar did to Reeva’s head?  You’ve lost me.

The personal pleasure that he [Nel] visibly drew from [the case], isn’t just a reflection on who he is, but detracts from the critical importance of pure, fair thinking in our otherwise proud justice system. For anybody to apply ‘their own type of justice’ with falsehood, lies and twisted ‘facts’ doesn’t contribute to or build our proud Roman-Dutch law.

Is anybody in South Africa really proud of their justice system? Oscar’s entire defense is built on the terror that stems from a society that’s not successfully addressing crime and punishment.

And this whole notion of Nel enjoying this process, dragging Reeva’s family through hell for three years, is based on what?  Unlike the Pistorius family, we’ve never witnessed Nel giving press conferences or promoting himself outside of court.

But the best part of the entire article is this…

Oscar is a person who does not make mistakes, his father insists.

Didn’t he just say like a minute ago that it was all a ‘tragic mistake’? Has Henke been hitting the sauce?  What’s the opposite of a mistake?  The opposite is being deliberate.  It reminds me of something that Henke said to Oscar in a letter that Oscar published in his book Blade Runner.  While reminiscing about his son’s younger years, he said… you were fearless.”  That’s the Oscar we’ve come to know.  Determined, fearless… deliberate.  Thanks for reminding us, Henke.

His biggest punishment, which he will have to carry for the rest of his life: He is responsible for the death of his lover.

I also found this statement to be telling.  Henke doesn’t refer to Reeva as a beloved Paralympic Star Oscar Pistorius Arrested Over Shootinggirlfriend, as the woman that Oscar loved dearly, or the woman that Oscar wanted to share a home with… no, Henke refers to Reeva as Oscar’s “lover.”  It speaks volumes about the value Henke assigns to women.

Is it really so hard to imagine where Oscar gets it from; the narcissism, the entitlement, the justifications?  After this mind-numbing rant from the guy who’s been mostly silent for the past three years, all I could think was… like father, like son.

My son should have got no more than punishment for manslaughter.

 

 

[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

www.shakedowntitle.com

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.

rhino

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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This is why nothing ever changes….

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

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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…

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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.’

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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….

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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.

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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…

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CARL’S CORNER…. He’s back!!

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What does Twitter think?…

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Remember Reeva…

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An Excerpt from WHITE HORSE #OscarPistorius

From the chapter…

First Impressions: Hugs and Window Dressing

“I have learned that there is more power in a good strong hug than in a thousand meaningful words.” ― Ann Hood

oscarThe first thing I notice, when I see Oscar first-hand, is that he doesn’t look very different to how he appears on television. I thought there’d be some surprising or unexpected charisma which one only picks up directly – you know, seeing Oscar one on one, in the flesh.  But there isn’t.  He doesn’t seem as tall as I’d expected.  He doesn’t seem muscular or particularly frail.  He seems like an ordinary guy with a corny hairstyle and an expensive suit, who looks like he got less sleep than I did.  That and he has a wonky way of walking.

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If the absence of the door is mildly disquieting [because I wanted to inspect it first-hand] the excessive police presence inside the courtroom is downright weird.  But what’s even weirder is what Oscar’s doing right now:

Oscar is going to each member of the police and giving them a hug and a handshake.

Then it’s his family’s turn.  When last did Oscar see these people?  When last did he see his family? Months ago or a few minutes ago? IMG_0255

Is this a movie premiere?  Is this the red carpet of the Oscars or is this Oscar deep in the red in more ways than one, facing the charge of murder?*

Oscar’s showy entrance may be aimed at controlling the sentiment of the court, especially this side of the court, where I’m sitting. If that’s the plan I’m not quite falling under the same hypnosis. The hypnosis I believe goes something like this: IMG_0271

Surely if Oscar’s jailers think he’s an okay guy, who are we – his persecutors – to argue?

If you’re thinking this is overthinking, that this is venturing into conspiracy theory – stop.  What we know for a fact from the O.J. Simpson trial [now that it’s over, now that it’s 22 years later], is that everything from the defense and prosecution side was meticulously planned and choreographed.  Everything was placed like mannequins in a shop window in order to solicit a particular response from the swarming public.

The Oscar trial is similarly contrived, which is why there are a bevy of blonde paralegals [aka Reeva lookalikes], defense and prosecution ploys [designed to catch the other off balance], and why Oscar himself has a carefully choreographed demeanor.  We see clues to this preprogrammed “roleplay” in….

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Read more in WHITE HORSE available now on Amazon Kindle.

Follow #Shakedown on Social Media…

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Oscar Pistorius Case Discussion – Open Forum

This page is open to all who’d like to discuss the Oscar Pistorius case.  All related topics are welcome.  Click on “Leave a Comment” at the top of the page to begin a discussion.  Those who are interested in participating can reply in return to that comment.  

I do monitor for trolls, spam and inappropriate material.  We don’t mind spirited debate, we encourage it, and it’s fine if you like to swear – we do too! – we just ask that you be respectful of your fellow posters.  We look forward to the conversations.

 

 

 

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…

arnold & wife

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.

Mangena

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.  

Arnold 

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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