Ground report closing

Ground report may be closing down soon. I wanted to record this classic comment taken from my article April 28, 2010:

This article would have to be the stupidest and most polemic comment I’ve seen on the Pistorius trial. It is so ridiculous it made me think that it perhaps originated with the defendant or some member of his family.

The last sentence “the odds of a conviction for murder appear to be slim to non-existent” is comedy gold.

Oscar was duly cleared of murder!

Copy of the article:

The pundits and “experts” have been opining loudly on the live televised trial of Oscar Pistorius.Oscar Pistorius

Pamela Engel boldly declared that Prosecutors have built a good case against Pistorius.

However nobody seems to quite know what this “strong case” really is, is it more hype than reality?

The undisputed facts

Oscar Pistorius admits to shooting Reeva Steenkamp in the early morning of Thursday, 14 February 2013, at his Pretoria home.He fired four shots through a toilet door, the toilet being a very small room off the bathroom.

The prosecution case

Oscar and Reeva had an argument, Oscar lost his temper and shot Reeva.

The defence case

Oscar mistook Reeva for an intruder, and fired the shots unintentionally, as a reflex action in a state of fear.

An argument?

Some witnesses, living some distance away, reported hearing a woman’s screams followed by gunshots.However, immediate neighbours heard Oscar screaming, followed by the sounds consistent with Oscar breaking down the door with a cricket bat.

A single witness, living some distance away, reported hearing an argument on the night in question.However, no argument was reported by immediate neighbours, suggesting this must have been some other unrelated argument.

Oscar’s relationship with Reeva

In a recovered text message, Reeva stated “I’m scared of you sometimes, of how you snap at me”,However, this appears to have been due to Oscar reacting to Reeva flirting with other men, and there is no evidence Oscar was ever abusive to Reeva.

Especially significant is an unopened Valentine’s card Reeva gave to Oscar, telling himfor the first time that she loved him.This indicates the relationship was at an early stage, far too early for a major argument to be plausible.There is no evidence of a progression of violence, or that Oscar had ever been verbally or physically abusive to a woman.His character generally is exemplary, performing charitable work for the disabled, and also helping victims of crime on two occasions.

A discrepancy in Oscar’s testimony?

Oscar’s bail affidavit stated he went “onto” the balcony, whereas he testified at trial this was incorrect, and he only went “to” the balcony, not “onto” it.However, this discrepancy is not major, and can be a simple misunderstanding by whoever interviewed him for the defence. The balcony is not large and Oscar apparently put one foot outside, whether he went “onto” the balcony is a matter of opinion.

The crime scene

The crime scene was not properly preserved, giving rise to confusion and doubt.

Unlikely events

Murders and accidental shootings are both relatively rare events.Because an accidental shooting seems unlikely, we should not conclude that it is implausible, given that Reeva is dead. Very often similar incidents will end without tragedy, and we never hear about it.


Overall, there seems to be no reliable evidence that Oscar intended to kill anyone, let alone Reeva.The principle of “Mens Rea” states that if there is no criminal intent, there is no crime, provided Oscar’s actions were reasonable. Given Oscar’s lack of a criminal record, andexemplary character preceding the shooting of Reeva, he is entitled to the benefit of any doubt.

As time passes during the long adjournment for Easter, and sensation gives way to sober reflection, the “strong” prosecution case seems to be fading away, like a mirage, at least in South Africa. A Facebook group for supporters has grown rapidly from a handful before trial to over 800 members. With more defence witness to come when hearing resume on May 5th,the odds of a conviction for murder appear to be slim to non-existent.

First published as a Facebook Note.


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