Oscar trial no miscarriage of justice, but certainly lost in translation.

Sep 13, 2014, 06:01 PM

Oscar trial no miscarriage of justice, but certainly lost in translation.

I certainly do not agree with the decision in the Oscar Pistorius trial, I would have found him guilty of Dolus Eventualis murder. That said, while I would be technically correct in such a precise movement, it would be blatantly against the wave of jurisprudence until this point, a wave the honourable judge followed exactingly, with also a good application of the laws of determining guilt in our 4000 year old legal tradition.

A top forensic expert told me in the early days of the trial that police had ruined the case against Pistorius, by contamination of the crime scene. I and others commented with derision on the defence choice to admit to the actual shooting of Reeva by Oscar. Oscar's own version of events, as events turned, is what got him convicted of culpable homicide. Complete incompetence by the investigating officer, and the televised nature of the trial insured as much. Witnesses were left to be influenced by media and by friends exposed to media. The pure length of the trial also left memories corrupted and weakened.

In my earlier work on this matter, I stated that Oscar would be convicted either of dolus eventualis murder, culpable homicide (think drunk driving), or putative self defence. Prior case law involving a Rugby player who gunned down his daughter believing she was an intruder, set a precedent linking such iffy butty cases to culpable homicide verdicts. Culpable homicide can land someone practically speaking in jail for 1 to 15 years. It is the second most serious crime in South African jurisprudential thought. Yes, kidnapping, hijacking, rape and other crimes are very serious and carry hefty sentences and must not be ignored, but culpable homicide is not candy and cloudless days. Culpable homicide is often the verdict pronounced for shocking crimes. The real difference between it and murder is very slight. Culpable homicide is not manslaughter or USA homicide. In our jurisprudence it is a very serious crime, and requires serious defect and wrongdoing on behalf of its practitioners. An accident will not land you in jail in South Africa, our law being so heavily influenced by the Roman Catholic doctrine of the evil mind (something other jurisdictions are less concerned with). Guilt however will condemn you in this light of law within our beautiful nation upon this, our Dark Continent.

There is dolus directus murder: murder for the purpose of murder. There is dolus indirectus murder: murder for another purpose, and there is dolus eventualis murder: when a person recklessly acts, foreseeing that their actions may have the consequence of an unlawful death. Culpable homicide is almost identical to the latter: except it is in circumstances where the judge does not believe that the person in question is seen as foreseeing the consequences of their recklessness, their negligence unto death, at another's expense.

As the forensic (proof for judicial purposes) aspects of the police were so heavily prejudiced by corruption and by negligence by officials, the testimony of police and police experts was cast into doubt. Courts of law do not base their decisions on things, but on the testimony of people, sometimes relating to things. A murder weapon is invisible to a judge, unless someone can testify why it is just that. The only story the judge essentially could go on was the self-prejudicial evidence of Oscar himself, and what little of the state forensic evidence that could be recovered, and could be aided by Oscarian contradictions on the stand.

Judges often prefer to be more lenient, while juries are often far harsher. Experienced judges often ignore legal technicality in order to be merciful. Past cases where friendly-fire occurred against perceived threats, have seen putative self defence convictions, and culpable homicide judgements sent forth. The judicial wave suggests that this is the appropriate course, even if the error as to t...