The trial of Oscar Pistorius has attracted media attention, not only in South Africa, but in many First World countries, mainly due to the fact that Pistorius is a world-renowned athlete of extraordinary circumstances. And his fiancee Reeva Steenkamp was a young, attractive and vivacious model.
For a young man with no legs to have achieved so much in such a short time is quite astounding. And that makes him a special South African. The relentless media attention has nothing to do with the colour of his skin, but all to do with his world-wide fame as an athlete, contrary to comments and indications by the tiresome few.
What is of concern is the amount of conjecture – the trial by media – that has gone on without one hint of retribution from the Justice system. Most of the comments by local and international media is sub judice which means that it is under the rule of the court and could be considered to be in contempt of court. But still it continues with the public mostly already decided on the guilt or innocence of Pistorius.
Fortunately in South Africa we have a team of Judge and Assessors who will decide the fate of the accused and they will uphold the rules of law, taking into consideration the emotions that were involved at the death of Steenkamp by the discharged weapon of Pistorius.
He has admitting to the shooting and resulting death of his fiancee so that part is resolved. But now the court has to decide if there is a case of murder to answer to. Murder is a criminal charge which distinctly requires that the killing was premeditated and that murder was committed “beyond reasonable doubt”. There is much to consider as the only witness to the killing is Pistorius and so any incriminating evidence has to be from reconstruction of the event from forensic submission. Not a simple task for the judges but their decision will be well presented when the trial is completed.
From the evidence presented to date in court and the media speculation a jury would have formed an opinion one way or another by now and it would be difficult to dissuade them otherwise with further evidence. It is just as well, therefore, that the outcome will be decided by a professional judicial team.
If, and that is a big “if”, he is found not guilty of murder Pistorius should still face the lesser crime manslaughter, and he has already admitted to the killing. Either way a sentence of some type will follow at the completion of the trial.
Either way it would be interesting if Pistorius and his legal team decide to sue the Government for not controlling violent crime in the country, given that it is 20 years since they made promises to bring crime under control. It is because of the unchecked violence that people who feel vulnerable possess deadly weapons such as pistols and, in some cases, rifles thereby perpetuating the potential for crimes of a deadly nature.
It would most probably be difficult, if not impossible, to reach a satisfactory conclusion to that charge but it would at least raise the long-overdue debate on how to bring crime, particularly violent crime, in our country under control. This unfettered violence is killing people daily and also hampering any real progress in creating a decent and safe future for everyone. And the crime rate deters many tourists from visiting our lovely country.
What is the Government scared of?