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The Pistorius bail ruling today seems to have ignited a great deal of controversy, especially if the Tweets about it are any indicator of how the wider public feel.  I listened to the entire two hours of the Judge's ruling and I also read most of what was publicly available offered by both the Defense and the Prosecution as the hearing was under way.   And I am forced to come to a conclusion which I very much doubt will be popular anywhere but here goes...

Based PURELY on the evidence brought forward by the Prosecution there really is absolutely no evidence to support premeditated murder. I suspect they only brought that charge to allow them to think about which indictment they wished to go with - indeed, the judge himself said that at trial, it would run as a Culpable Homicide, which as you know, is not at all the same thing.

Very sadly, I'm afraid that what seems to have happened is an all too common losing-of-the-temper.  A horrible case of domestic abuse which is all too horribly common in so many societies, with the woman on the receiving end.  I doubt he MEANT to kill her, he may have intended it at that precise moment, but he was in a rage and, as so often happens in these dreadful cases, anger takes over. NONE of the previous complaints against him had resulted in any conviction and therefore the Judge could NOT use them against him.  Was there pressure applied to any of the complainants to drop the cases in the previous instances?   Possibly, even probably, who knows?!  But THIS ISSUE was not before the Judge. He had to go purely on the evidence. So, rule out premeditated murder as that's never going to hold up.

The sad thing is : had the previous complaints of domestic abuse (and various other things) against him NOT been dropped, he MIGHT have been ordered to attend some type of anger management course and perhaps been saved from himself. Ah, the weird irony of fame.

In my opinion, and based only on what I have read about him; Pistorius appears to me to be a rather spoilt man who is very typical of these characters who live these kinds of lives; they believe themselves to be above the law and, so very often, it turns out they ARE above the law when it comes to verdicts and sentencing however, once again, that was not before the Judge.   The tears we witnessed may well have represented true sadness on the part of Pistorius, but for WHOM those tears were shed, I really have no idea.  None of us do.

I dislike the fact that he has spent his life fighting for equality and yet his Defense team used his disability as a contributing factor in his "vulnerability" as that seems a little hard to swallow however, the fact remains, had he NOT been so famous, and had we NOT known how capable he is with his prosthetics, then I certainly would have thought he would be more vulnerable and so the law must apply equally here, regardless of "what we know".

Does he present a flight risk? - possibly but on the other hand, if he believes he will get away with it (which I do), or serve very little jail time, easier for him to stay.

Does he present a current risk to anyone? - not really, not now.

Does he present a risk to intimidating witnesses? - not HIM personally, his defense counsel may well be present the risk (or those under their direction could potentially pose that risk) if they persuade, cajole and buy-off witnesses - again, he can't be held responsible for that, and neither can he be held in advance of doing anything.  I am not saying his defense WILL do those things, just merely that they COULD potentially attempt such things but there is no way they would be asking Pistorius himself to do any of those things.  

The Judge , in my opinion, SHOULD have levied a no-interview clause on him or we'll all be being asked to sympathize with him once he's done Oprah or whatever, however he did not levy that condition. The problem is : I can't stand the man (talking about my own personal feeling, not based on anything other than the things I have read!), or what I've heard about him - but THAT is not how the law works, we don't sentence, convict or hold people in jail because they are bastards (more's the pity!).

Similarly, just as you can't give him preferential treatment because of his fame, you can't hold it against him that we all hate him BECAUSE of that same spoilt, celebrity attitude.

As Camus says in The Outsider (The Stranger in the US) "Meersault was convicted because he didn't cry at his mother's funeral NOT because he killed someone".  And, as Meersault himself observes just prior to being put to death "if THIS is how the human race and civilization works, I'm glad I'm going to die as I don't want to be a part of it".  The jury didn't like him, he refused to apologize for being an unpleasant and insensitive man who didn't much like his mother.  This had nothing to do with the murder in question, but THIS is what the jury convicted him of - being an unpleasant person. Emotion and feelings have NO PLACE in the judicial system, they must NEVER be part of it.

Whatever we may or may not feel emotionally about this entire case, and about the tragedy which occurred on that night, the Prosecution simply didn't provide enough evidence to warrant that (I listened to the entire two hours of the ruling). Sadly. They just didn't.

What concerns me far MORE is that he is in a position to access and pay for such a great defense - surely the REAL issue here is that we should insist EVERYONE receives a superior defense, no matter who they are. That way, the same rules WOULD apply to everyone. Of course, they won't, but THAT'S what's wrong here, not the Judge's ruling.

What further concerns me is that we somehow ensure that crimes against women ALWAYS receive the same gravitas as every other crime.  We live in a strange time when crimes against property so often receive far longer sentences than crimes against the person.  Especially if that "person" is a woman.   Domestic Abuse is regularly discussed in the US currently, in regard to the Violence Against Women Act, and we MUST ensure that ALL cases are treated equally, that NO ONE is above the law, but that equally, EVERYONE receives a decent and thorough defense.  Women MUST be protected and we must always fight to ensure crimes of this nature are treated in the most serious and thorough way.

And, as to public ourtage, which is also under consideration ... as the Judge rightly ruled, THAT is for the Police to deal with, not for Pistorious to be responsible for. Phew... So, much as I'd LOVE him to be languishing in jail, the facts and evidence presented, simply didn't back that up. Sadly. Rubbish presentation by Prosecution.

On the basis of that very much-quoted poem "First They  Came..."  when it comes to me and my trial (figuratively, if I were ever arrested for something), I'm hoping the Judge will ignore the fact that I'm a bit of a bitch - if you get my point?! It's for the good of all etc. that we MUST preserve it as it is.

However flawed that may be. And it is.

I doubt this diary will go down very well and I am NOT supporting Pistorius's version of the events in any sense at all - as the Judge noted, they seem improbable to say the least, I am simply saying - thank goodness emotion and the law are separated in a Court of Law, they must ALWAYS be separated, and we should ALWAYS fight for that to be the case.   For everyone...

Anyone who knows me or has read my diaries in the past, will know I'm a fully paid-up tree-hugging, sandal wearing, joghurt knitting anarchist, liberal and leftie.  I'm not on any band-wagon here, I've been fighting for women's rights since I can remember, but I also feel strongly that we must be careful not to confuse issues.   And I think SOME people, in regard to the bail ruling, HAVE...

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (10+ / 0-)

    Bearing a grudge is like swallowing a poison and expecting someone else to die...

    by Maianewley on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:44:10 AM PST

  •  I don't see rage - just dangerous panic (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols, irishwitch, penguins4peace

    There was no evidence of an argument was there - and I don't see his case as that good.  

    One cannot know what a man with no legs feels like when he thinks that there is a burglar in the house, but he seems to me to have panicked and made some odd decisions.  The gun was a disaster waiting to happen (yes I am talking to the US here).  He didn't check to see where his lady was before shooting, and why not????  

    But premeditated murder seems to me a stretch.  

     

    •  No evidence (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, greengemini

      other than the neighbor who heard a very loud argument right before the shooting.

      •  neighbour? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        second gen

        maybe half a kilometre away..................?

        •  300 yards away and forensic analysis (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greengemini

          shows that a woman under 30 years of age has the highest decibel voice range to be heard.

          Furthermore, the windows were open. She was on the second floor of the house... so that would further carry her voice.

          It was in the middle of the night in the middle of a gated community, so there was no highway noise to dampen her screams.

          And, forensic studies have shown police can hear screams 700 feet away in the middle of a city next to a highway.

          So, there is no doubt that her screams could be heard.


          One may live without bread, but not without roses.
          ~Jean Richepin
          Bread & Roses

          by bronte17 on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 01:45:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think my neighbor who lives 3 football (0+ / 0-)

        fields away from me is going to hear a loud argument.

        "Mitt Romney looks like the CEO who fires you, then goes to the Country Club and laughs about it with his friends." ~ Thomas Roberts MSNBC

        by second gen on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 12:35:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  300 yards is NOT 3 football fields (0+ / 0-)

          It is like me yelling for my dog if he gets loose when he's just a couple houses down the street. Not far at all. And very easy to hear.

          The witness heard... "gunshots ... a female screaming two-three times, then more gunshots..."

          The witness has also told investigators about "non-stop talking" and sounds "like fighting" coming from Pistorius's home between the hours of 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.

          ...the witness's home is about 300 yards from Pistorius's.


          One may live without bread, but not without roses.
          ~Jean Richepin
          Bread & Roses

          by bronte17 on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 01:19:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The report I saw said 600 meters. Another said (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Greenfinches

            about 1/2 mile. That's not 300 yards. The investigator said it was just a few hundred yards. But in cross, they found that it was actually much further.

            "Mitt Romney looks like the CEO who fires you, then goes to the Country Club and laughs about it with his friends." ~ Thomas Roberts MSNBC

            by second gen on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 08:08:40 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Link (0+ / 0-)

            "Mitt Romney looks like the CEO who fires you, then goes to the Country Club and laughs about it with his friends." ~ Thomas Roberts MSNBC

            by second gen on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 08:20:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The Guardian posted a rebuttal... BUT (0+ / 0-)

              that doesn't make the defense's rebuttal correct.

              Just like the bladder thing.

              And the lights were on... and the windows OPEN... until the argument got heated and yelling and screaming went out into the neighborhood. So, he made sure to shut the windows and door.

              And the "herbal" testosterone is still probably testosterone. Maybe shooting up the herbal stuff with needles gets a bigger rush or whatever. He had needles and he had herbal testosterone. Just because the herbal hasn't been banned doesn't mean it isn't bad.

              And she, being a very nice person, ran to the bathroom and crouched in fear... instead of fleeing for her life down the steps and out the door screaming bloody murder for everyone to help.

              Just have to wait until the trial when the forensics work and evidence come out.

              We don't know everything that the police know.


              One may live without bread, but not without roses.
              ~Jean Richepin
              Bread & Roses

              by bronte17 on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 11:24:14 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Maybe she killed herself. (0+ / 0-)

                I mean, if we're going on "maybes" then maybe an intruder came in, shot her, and then ran.

                The detective has been removed from the case because he's up on SEVEN attempted murder charges. So maybe the detective had a hard on for "nailing" this guy.

                "Herbal" substance does not equal "Herbal testosterone". The detective saw a substance, and assumed it was steroids. Turns out it wasn't. I use B-12. It is given as a shot. If someone were to walk into my house, they might immediately assume I'm doping. But then they'd have to look at the name of the "drug".

                I'm just saying, there is enough doubt that we shouldn't jump to conclusions until the forensic evidence is out there. Well, what uncontaminated forensic evidence there is, after the detective admitted contaminating the scene.

                Then there's that silly "innocent until proven guilty" thing.

                "Mitt Romney looks like the CEO who fires you, then goes to the Country Club and laughs about it with his friends." ~ Thomas Roberts MSNBC

                by second gen on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 08:29:38 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  What? How the hell could she kill herself? (0+ / 0-)

                  And those ATTEMPTED "murder charges" are completely unrelated to this incident.  The ATTEMPTED murder was when the detective fired on a fleeing van? I think... don't know all the details on that one. As if cops don't shoot at fleeing criminals.

                  Cops in the US will shot a young black man in the back for nothing. "Mistaken identify" or some other such excuse.

                  Furthermore, the only ones who contaminated the murder scene was Pisstori's father and uncle (an attorney) who ran over to the residence BEFORE the cops arrived. And the father removed Pisstori's computer and some other stuff.

                  Anything and everything will be done to protect The Brand.


                  One may live without bread, but not without roses.
                  ~Jean Richepin
                  Bread & Roses

                  by bronte17 on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 02:08:52 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well, that's that, then. We should let them know, (0+ / 0-)

                    post haste, that you've determined him to be guilty. No need for an expensive trial! I'll get on the horn.

                    "Mitt Romney looks like the CEO who fires you, then goes to the Country Club and laughs about it with his friends." ~ Thomas Roberts MSNBC

                    by second gen on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 11:46:36 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The Brand has already hired numerous Image Keepers (0+ / 0-)

                      to keep him tarnish-free. The best that money can buy.

                      No expense has been spared from the very beginning to insure that.

                      So, I'm sure your defensive concerns have been alleviated by the image pros and pr folks.

                      And, we'll see how well his alibi and that affidavit holds up once evidence is presented in court.

                      As for the young woman who is now dead... brutally murdered for no reason... she needs someone to speak up. If for no other reason than to stop the violence against other women.

                      Lastly, the violence seems to run in that family... Pistorius' older brother crushed and killed a woman on her motorcycle. Supposedly, alcohol was not involved. Supposedly. Who knows when and whether the cops even tested for it.


                      One may live without bread, but not without roses.
                      ~Jean Richepin
                      Bread & Roses

                      by bronte17 on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:49:11 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Well, if his brother has done something, we KNOW (0+ / 0-)

                        he must be guilty, again, before even bothering to go to trial. We know that it runs in the family, like bad pit bull breeding.

                        "Mitt Romney looks like the CEO who fires you, then goes to the Country Club and laughs about it with his friends." ~ Thomas Roberts MSNBC

                        by second gen on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:06:59 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Role models and the family attitude (0+ / 0-)

                          are critical components that mold people. And the sense of entitlement reeks and it is that attitude which inflicts harm on other people.

                          And the society. South Africa has the highest per capita rate of RAPE in the world. No respect for women.

                          And it's really a shame that every other dog in our cities is a pit bull. I loathe them. It's symbolic of our fear.

                          Finally, pit bulls are not the animal that should be roaming city streets and living in close proximate confines of urban life. They were bred for a purpose and it shouldn't be to tear apart small children playing in their backyard.


                          One may live without bread, but not without roses.
                          ~Jean Richepin
                          Bread & Roses

                          by bronte17 on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 07:50:51 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I get it. You've made it clear. You're prejudicial (0+ / 0-)

                            in dogs and those who are accused of a crime. Neither gets a fair trial before you're certain they're both guilty.

                            "Mitt Romney looks like the CEO who fires you, then goes to the Country Club and laughs about it with his friends." ~ Thomas Roberts MSNBC

                            by second gen on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 07:52:24 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

    •  The gun he picked up and used was on HER side (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      codairem, greengemini

      of the bed.

      The trajectory of the bullets that hit her came from a height that showed he did have on his prosthetic legs.

      The defense wrongly claimed she was indeed simply using the bathroom because the autopsy showed that her bladder was empty. This is nonsense because when you die, your muscles relax and there is no control over the bladder. The urine comes out by itself without muscle control.

      The lights were on in the house (not dark like Pisstori claimed) and there was an argument heard by neighbors. As well as screaming.

      Finally, Pisstori's father and uncle (an attorney) zipped over to that house BEFORE the cops arrived AND they removed the computer and some other things. Shows some fast reaction there with a young woman dead or dying right in front of them.


      One may live without bread, but not without roses.
      ~Jean Richepin
      Bread & Roses

      by bronte17 on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 01:11:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, there's 2 different issues here (5+ / 0-)

    As to the bail hearing - from what I've heard and read, it seems that South Africa is fairly liberal with bail, even in murder cases.  It would have been surprising had he not gotten bail.

    As to the case, his story is backed up by others who describe him as paranoid and fearful. If she got up to go to the bathroom while he was closing the sliding door on the balcony and he didn't hear it, then, you have a situation wherein an amputee hears someone inside his home, in the early hours of the morning, in a dark room, and simply panics.  May be guilty of involuntary homicide or 2nd degree manslaughter.

    On the other hand, he may have thought up the plan, laid in wait for her to go to the bathroom, gotten a gun, shot her through the door, and let the situation play out.

    We'll see.

    Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

    by absdoggy on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 11:19:37 AM PST

  •  I think you may want to re-word these lines (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    penguins4peace
    Very sadly, I'm afraid that what seems to have happened is an all too common losing-of-the-temper.  A horrible case of domestic abuse which is all too horribly common in so many societies, with the woman on the receiving end.  I doubt he MEANT to kill her, he may have intended it at that precise moment, but he was in a rage and, as so often happens in these dreadful cases, anger takes over
    I'm not certain what you mean here. The first part ("I'm afraid that what seems to have happened is an all too common losing-of-the-temper") almost sounds like you're excusing his actions. I know that's not what you meant, but that's how it comes across to me.

    As for the rest: If he meant to kill her at that moment -- knowing that the person behind the door was his girlfriend -- then, yes, he meant to kill her. By American laws he would be guilty, I think, of at least 2nd-degree murder, if not 1st-degree. (I am not a lawyer, so don't take my word for this.)

    Maybe what you're trying to say is that he intended to kill the person who was behind that door, but he was assuming that the person behind the door was an intruder, and not his girlfriend? (I'm not following the case closely, so maybe my interpretation is off.)

    Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

    by Nowhere Man on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 11:31:47 AM PST

    •  I don't read it that way (0+ / 0-)

      I see no excuse for his actions offered there. And the "meant to kill her at that moment" would certainly mean guilty - but diarist is arguing against "premeditated", which takes it to a different level.

      "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

      by Catte Nappe on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 12:00:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But she's also arguing that he's not dangerous. (0+ / 0-)

        The only reasonable argument I can see for claiming he's not dangerous is that he did not know who was behind the door. It seems to me that to accept the premise that he did know that he was killing his girlfriend means that he is dangerous. To argue otherwise seems to put domestic violence into aspecial and not-as-serious category -- yeah, he killed his girlfriend, but that doesn't mean he's dangerous! I don't believe that that is what the diarist is thinking; hence my suggestion.

        Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

        by Nowhere Man on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 05:14:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Can't argue with much of your opinion (6+ / 0-)

    But MUST take exception to the suggestion that had earlier incidents had consequences he might have been sent for anger management sessions, as though that would somehow have changed things for the better.

    Domestic abuse is not an anger management issue. It's a power and control issue. Most abusers manage their anger very well. You don't see them beating up the the boss, cursing out the grocery store cashier, threatening the police officer. They "manage" their anger when they need to - and decide they don't need to behind closed doors with their intimate partner.

    "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

    by Catte Nappe on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 12:06:18 PM PST

  •  It all depends on trial and jury (0+ / 0-)

    Having recently seen a trial in which the defendant shot and killed a former housemate, I think anything could happen to allow Pistorius to go free. I don't know SA laws about hearsay,SYG, reasonable doubt, etc., but if the defense can tarnish the deceased, they will.

    It's difficult to prove the intent; this doesn't sound as if it was planned. When people say "in cold blood," that really means planning and premeditation. This is more a "crime of passion" where a gun is too handy. It doesn't in any way excuse Pistorius, but agrees that it happened without much thought.

    Now, the police are helping the defense by stepping on their own feet. They had to retract a statement that steroids had been found in the defendant's home, and another investigator is in his own legal trouble. It will suck if a killer gets to go free because of lousy detective work and an overly-ambitious criminal charge.

    •  See: Simpson, O.J. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wenchacha

          Years ago, a friend of mine said that the LAPD made a classic error (among others) in their investigation of the Simpson murder case, a mistake that is truly a defense lawyer's dream....they framed a guilty man.

      The Republican motto: "There's been a lot of progress in this country over the last 75 years, and we've been against all of it."

      by Hillbilly Dem on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 02:28:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Who's worse? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Greenfinches

    I agree with this diarist's main contention.
    We should withhold judgment until all the facts are in evidence. Even then, we probably won't know what really happened. We will have two conflicting stories about motive, the people involved and the actual events.
    So, it comes down to who does the worst job - the defence lawyer or the prosecution?
    On balance, there are expensive criminal lawyers in SA who are pretty damn good - he can definitely afford one of those (unlike most defendants). On the other hand, few will deny that our Police and the Prosecuting Authority are riddled with corruption and incompetence.
    So, I think he will walk. Not because of facts, but because of reality in SA.

    The keenest sorrow is to recognise ourselves as the sole cause of all our adversities. Sophocles

    by Suezboo in SA on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 02:46:32 PM PST

  •  If the neighbor 300-600 meters away could hear... (0+ / 0-)

    Then what did the immediate neighbors say they heard?

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