The Dark Matter of the Oscar Behind the Great Pretender [White Horse II Review]

WHITE HORSE II: Oscar Pistorius

Review by Melissa Manzella, August 21, 2016

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“A brilliant narrative, replete with super sharp observations of both the case and the characters, this narrative brings the truth into ever clearer focus, and does so by having a kind of running theme on the ‘real’ narrative, Oscar knowingly killed Reeva, versus the ‘bogus’ one, Oscar thought he faced an intruder, referencing both often. In doing this, one really sees the flaws in the bogus one.

These two have such a good grasp of the case, having sorted Oscar long ago, and that now applies to their narrative of what happened the night Oscar killed Reeva, and I consider it to be definitive. In this narrative, the reader is brought early on to what may be a fascinating juncture in the case, this involving the rescheduling of sentence date by Judge Masipa, a matter which otherwise might be seen as an ordinary one, except that it was sentencing and the author was in court and caught the face of surprise on Prosecutor Nel, who obviously wasn’t expecting it.

He also noted an awkward looking Masipa, whom he thought looked to be gazing Roux’s way, for some kind of direction. Perhaps guidance on that date? This is what occurred to Van der Leek as he watched this exchange unfold. She changed it from June 17th, to July 6. With this single observation by Van Der Leek, bewildered trial watchers the world over who’d witnessed two vastly different Oscars at the sentencing hearing as opposed to the sentencing, might have just received clarity. We’re talking about collusion here, or more appropriately, the possibility thereof.

Without giving too much of the book away, the author does establish a plausible nexus between the rescheduling of this sentencing date, and a particular activity Oscar was engaged in at the time, outside of the realm of court. Did it happen? Well, Van der Leek doesn’t commit to saying that it did, but does supply the reader with relevant facts that would support it, and leaves readers to draw their own conclusions. Who knows if there was trickery afoot? Who knows that there wasn’t?

Here’s what I like about Van der Leek, and Wilson too, for that matter. They see something that looks wrong, and aren’t afraid to say it. They’ve always called a spade a spade, and have gone where the evidence has led them. Nick also talks about where he thinks this case went wrong, and it’s his belief that Masipa might have had her limitations, with that said, might simply have been overwhelmed with so much evidence. He thinks the case could have benefitted from a narrative, something that might have served to help her focus. He wishes Nel might have employed such. I tend to agree with him. He mentions that as a legal matter, and especially before a judge, showing motive certainly isn’t required but in this case might have been helpful.

Oscar being the scoundrel that he is, did an interview for ITV weeks before his sentence, looked well as he lied and cried his way through it, and then wouldn’t bother to take the stand in court. Van der Leek considers Mark Williams-Thomas the king of the soft ball questions, noting his bias. This narrative also saw new evidence emerge to do with the blood, and the authors made a crucial find here to do with Reeva that is a real game changer! Wow. I’ve not seen what they found documented anywhere else, so leads me to believe they were first in this finding! Impressive.

Both lament the fact that the bogus narrative is now the legal one, and Nick was incensed at Masipa’s doubling down at sentencing, memorializing this joke of a conviction. I’m hearing now however, that there’s a chance for a counter that may be coming down the pike in White Horse III, and I definitely say cheers to that! Looking forward to that read.”

WHITE HORSE II is Available on Amazon

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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”

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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

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“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.

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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…

 

Expert Psychologist Discusses Oscar’s Narcissism

“Oscar was a disaster waiting to happen.  And everyone who witnessed his cross behavior, and didn’t caution him he shouldn’t own a gun, is actually complicit with what happened.  If you add all the incidents together, this was inevitable.” – Leonard Carr

A few weeks into trial in 2014, while the media and most expert contributors were
reluctant to make their opinions known [most still are today], expert psychologist Leonard Carr made no bones about saying what many of us were thinking…

“[Reeva] was in a typically abusive situation.” – Leonard Carr

From the Times Live article titled, Is Oscar Pistorius the Boyfriend from Hell?

Carr said the messages between Pistorius and Steenkamp suggested “a highly controlling relationship”.

“He controlled her with jealousy, with isolation. From these [messages] he looks like someone who is unable to really love. He doesn’t show any empathy for her; he doesn’t show any deep respect for her.”

Pistorius was “highly manipulative” and had “an overdeveloped sense of entitlement”, said Carr.

Nick and I have always believed that Oscar is a narcissist.  Despite the watered down test results from Scholtz, and the endless stream of sympathetic defense witnesses touting Oscar’s simply a man suffering from anxiety, a thorough investigation of Oscar’s life tells us something very different.  Something much darker and more frightening.  Although, at times, Carr expresses that he doesn’t believe Oscar’s a “bad” person.  Nick and I are not on that same page with Carr.  However, we do all agree Oscar is damaged.

“Oscar is a person who from infancy has always relied on mechanical, external prosthetic devices for a sense of wholeness and power, and his gun was no exception to that.  His gun was always on him – always a part of him.  I think it was totally natural for Oscar to pick up his gun the same way he’d pick up his prosthetics.” – Leonard Carr

Our motivation for our narratives has always been shining a blazing light on the truth.  So too, Leonard Carr.  In WHITE HORSE III, just released this week, we asked Leonard to contribute more of his fascinating views in the chapter titled The Bottomless Pit.

Today we had the opportunity to speak with Leonard some more.  In an hour long discussion we covered some of the topics that have been burning up social media.  Here are some of his responses:

What do you think about the absence from the state in countering the endless defense testimony from Scholtz and his experts?

CARR:  “I think the psychological evidence on both sides was incredibly weak.  For the state side, it was virtually non-existent.  And it would have been so simple to destroy the defense’s psychological evidence but the state never presented much of a case in that regard.”

“One thing you’ll notice about Scholtz’s report is that he’s talking from data based on tests and he hasn’t really integrated the data into observations.  For example, where he says that Pistorius shows no signs of narcissism, I mean, even if we take the Reeva Steenkamp story out of it, if you just look at someone with his kind of drive, his kind of career, sacrifices that he’s made; he’s driven this to get ahead, his behavior on the sports field… I mean you can from that pick up narcissistic traits.   To say that he has an absence of narcissism, then you have to ask well then how did he get to where he got to.  They don’t even have healthy narcissism.”

How did Oscar’s childhood/parents help shape his future?

CARR:  “His [Oscar’s] mother’s message, and they repeated it many times, was actually a very negative message.  The positive way of saying the message is ‘you are different than everybody else because you’re not an able-bodied person but in no way should that make you feel less than and no one should ever put you down because of it.’  But when you say to a child you are the same as everybody else and your stumps, your prostheses and Carl’s legs are exactly the same, what you’re doing is you’re rendering his disadvantages and vulnerabilities illegitimate.   Then put that with what he also said very proudly that his parents used to make him deal with bullying himself and go to the principal’s office alone without their support to fight his battles.  The fact of the matter is that to achieve equality in life, you have to build in handicaps for people who have got challenges.  I mean, that’s what they do in sport all the time.  So, he’s never been allowed to acknowledge his vulnerabilities, he’s never been able to admit weakness or pain or shortcoming or whatever it is, or to ask for help.”

What effect did it have on Oscar to teach him ‘there’s no such thing as I can’t’?

CARR:  “I perceive the Pistorius family as having a kind of sense of entitlement.  They’re like a sort of self-appointed royal family.  And everything they do, there’s always a suggestion of we’re extraordinary, and therefore, you know, we deserve special privileges.  And I think Oscar’s grown up in that atmosphere.  But remember there’s another message as well.  The weird thing is the double message that his father also rejected him at the point that he had his amputation.  So on the one hand there’s the entitlement and specialness but on the other hand there’s the rejection.”

“I think that Oscar’s a very wounded person.  And actually, if you want to know what I would loved to have been involved in, in this trial, if I had been given a role to pick, I would have wanted Oscar to plead guilty right at the beginning and then for me to have written a report for him in mitigation.  Because I think there’s a very very strong case in mitigation but of course, you can’t bring a strong case in mitigation if the person shows no remorse.”

Carl’s been pretty vocal lately including recently speaking to a school as a sort-of mentor for the students.  Yet, his claim to fame is basically that his (former celebrity athlete) brother killed somebody.  Isn’t that pretty narcissistic?  What’s the deal with him?

CARR:  “I think that his approach, even in the media, has been incredibly arrogant.  He gives me this impression of having this kind of holier-than-though approach.  Let’s not forget for a minute that Carl himself killed someone.  And the fact that they couldn’t find that he was drunk or whatever it is, and they kind of blamed the victim… but if you look at how the Pistorius’ operate, that seems to be their modus operandi.”

“I think the whole family has been cast into a public role.  I think, to put it crudely, I think they’re quite low-class.  They’re rough around the edges.  And Uncle Arnold’s got lots of money and now they’re playing this role of like self-appointed royalty.  Like the Middletons, they’re like suddenly cast into the spotlight after leading a relatively ordinary life, and I think that that’s what they’re playing to.”

Reeva didn’t fit Oscar’s usual mold for a girlfriend.  He historically dated young women, even teenagers at times.  But he worked hard to “woo” Reeva and win her, and she in turn seemed to ignore several red flags dealing with his nasty criticisms in order to stay with him.  Can you talk a little bit about the dynamics of narcissistic relationships?

CARR: “First of all with Reeva, there was the financial aspect.  Oscar was supporting her financially, and he was giving her parents money.  I think that very possibly, Reeva was an aspiring model and Oscar was like a bridge to get instant celebrity.  But I think this issue is actually the core of all the issues in the relationship.  Number one, to go where you started, Oscar is very low on emotional intelligence.  I would even go so far as to say Oscar’s not too bright in general.  I think Oscar’s poor performance is not because he’s a bad person, I think he genuinely doesn’t understand the issues.  That’s number one.  Number two, I think that he went out with little girls of 18 and 19 because that is his emotional level.  That’s because of all the issues we discussed and especially his lack of experience in [all] relationships in general because of his relationship with sport.”

“[Reeva] was way out of his league in terms of intelligence and sophistication, and social and intellectual and academic accomplishments.  So I think there was a sense of inadequacy there from the beginning.”  

[Carr acknowledges at this point he’s speaking graphically to explain his point] “Now, can you imagine as a man, you might look great in a suit and you might be on the front cover of Time Magazine, but you want to go to bed with a woman, you take off those prostheses and you have these horrible little stumps, it must creep a girl out.  Obviously in the context of a loving, established relationship, it’s not an issue, you know, because obviously abled people aren’t damned. But if you look at this kind of relationship, the appearance vs. the reality, in the bedroom Oscar’s not this Olympic champ.  For a person with a fragile ego, and his lack of emotional intelligence and relationship skills, I can’t imagine how well he would deal with that.  I can’t imagine he’d deal with that with maturity and finesse.”

“The younger women, from an unconscious pressure point of view, you’d feel much more in control with a young woman who’s being a sycophant than with an older, accomplished woman who’s more challenging and you know has had experience probably with other guys.”  

The recent “suicide attempt” story from prison was very bizarre.  What do you think that was all about?

CARR:  “I think that Oscar is a PR nightmare.  And I think the Pistorius family want their cake and to be able to eat it.  On the one hand they argue he’s so vulnerable and psychologically precarious that he deserves his special treatment… um, they go to court with a psychologist saying he’s fragile and suicidal.  When he acts fragile and suicidal [supposedly] they don’t want him to look like a pathetic, manipulative wimp, so they deny it.  He just fell out of bed and happened to cut his wrists.”

So you think he really did try to commit suicide?

CARR:  “Look, first of all, I think he’s a drama queen, so who knows.”


To read more of Leonard’s views on narcissism and Oscar, below are additional articles:

Pistorius Charmed the World with Idealised Image

Parenting in the Age of Oscar Pistorius

The Oscar Trial:  Aspasia and Psychologist Leonard Carr on Cliffcentral


Some of Scholtz’s BS

Relationships:

Relationships

Test Results:

Results 1

Results 2

To read the full copy of Scholtz’s Psychological Report on Oscar [from Oscar’s time at Weskoppies in 2014] click here.

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All three WHITE HORSE narratives are available on Amazon Kindle

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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.

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4 True Crime Writers Join Forces to Interrogate Oscar

On July 17, 2016, Nick and I joined forces with Thomas and Calvin Mollett, authors of Oscar vs The Truth, for an intensive 3+ hour discussion about the evidence in the Oscar Pistorius case.  This conversation was a long time coming and sparked by the outrage of the Pistorius family declaring ‘there was no fight.’   Using the recent words of Masipa…

I disagree!

All four of us disagree.

Did the investigators miss key clues?  Was Professor Saayman’s medical examination complete?  We’re examining these questions and sharing our collective insights.

Images courtesy of Thomas and Calvin Mollett

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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.

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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:

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@HiRezLife

@lisawJ13


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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 

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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

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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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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.

Oscar Pistorious

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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Web:  http://www.shakedowntitle.com

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Beth Karas on Oscar Sanitizing the Crime Scene?

One of America’s most renowned legal journalists, Beth Karas, spent time with Nick and I yesterday in an hour long chat about two of the biggest cases in modern history.

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Before diving into Oscar and O.J., Beth shared with us some stories from her early days in New York where she started her legal career.

In this conversation, you’ll hear about some of the differences between South African and American law.  Beth explains how premeditation is typically defined, as well as the different levels of murder here in the states.  Meanwhile, Nick introduces his idea of “post-meditation” as we shift our focus to an examination of the Oscar Pistorius crime scene.

In response to our recent blog post titled An Oscar for the Great Pretender, Beth said:

“Her face being clean does seem to indicate it’s been wiped off.” 

To hear more of Beth’s opinions on #Shakedown’s findings, check out our full conversation on YouTube…

 

Follow us on Twitter:

@KarasOnCrime

@lisawJ13

@HiRezLife