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Anyone else following this today? Verdict due.
He's going to get off, isn't he?
I think he'll get found guilty (as he clearly is) but with appeals and what have you it'll drag on for ages.
Even if they don't charge him with murder I don't really see how they won't do him for manslaughter? I guess it depends on nuiences of SA law.
and disregarded the timings and details about screams/shots from the neighbours. It'll come down to the reliability of Pistorius' statement and character now I guess.
Yeah I get the feeling this verdict is going to go on for ages.
Not sure if this is normal for SA justice system - maybe she will do the same for the defence witnesses later.
But on the evidence of what has been said so far, he's gonna get off
does that clear him to run in events immediately? Presumably it definitely does?
Unless it's believed that he's acted in a way which brings athletics into disrepute and they use a different level of burden of proof for their own disciplinaries (i.e. balance of probabilities rather than beyond reasonable doubt - assuming this is what they use in SA)
So is likely to get 5 years for that alone (if I've read correctly?).
iirc his defence lawyer admitted he's guilty of those two charges during the trial?! Sure I read that on the BBC.
they succeeded in casting a lot of doubt on his story and made him look like an ass but don't think they've done enough in the way of proving their version of events.
Will wait for the inevitable unnecessarily loud BBC News app update on my phone telling me he's got off. Or that the Queen has died, you never know I guess.
rather than a trial by Jury? I just always assumed it was the latter.
Perhaps makes sense at the moment given the history with apartheid.
she's still gonna put him away for a while so that's something.
You almost sound like you know it was actually premeditated murder.
Your post seems to imply you think he should get a harsher result than culpable homicide.
I haven't paid attention to the trail but I'm guessing you have. Is the evidence strongly against him and he's only going to get off lightly thanks to celebrity?
don't you have some baby shit to clean off something, you pot-stirrer?
It's an honest question.
was never likely to be found. 'Common law' murder (as defined by SA law) still certainly a probability though
not really interested in getting into a discussion about him being a celebrity etc etc.
but i'll just point out that the OP contained the phrase: "He's going to get off, isn't he?"
"I think he'll get found guilty (as he clearly is)" according to Lo-Pan.
"too depressing if posts in this thread are anything to go by" according to badmanreturns
So a number of people had already suggested that he was going to get away with something that they thought he may have actually committed. The offence of culpable homicide is a discretionary sentence and I was pointing out that even if he is just convicted of their equivalent of manslaughter, it is likely that he will get a sentence which would more closely reflect the fact that he (deliberately, recklessly or negligently) killed his girlfriend.
why did you just pick up on what I said and not e.g. "I think he'll get found guilty (as he clearly is)" ?
why did we stop doing that?
but i do have to question his motivations when he singles out the only woman in the thread. especially when this particular argument is one that's been pretty well rehearsed on here already (with some pretty dodgy inputs from people like gringo and other people with crap gender politics).
and because none of those other posters are ones whose opinions I particularly give a shit about when it comes to this sort of thing.
On top of that you used a specific phrase 'culpable homicide' which added to my assumption that you would know better than others. I don't see PO in here else I'd have been reading her comments too.
just things like "You almost sound like you know it was actually premeditated murder." are very familiar (from more hostile people) and I was surprised to see it coming from you x
I literally don't bother reading most posts in threads like this. Can see why you were grumpy.
this is so completely desperate
I don't really think that of you.
Makes it sound like a cricket match.
"premeditated murder not proved" is literally the exact wording of the judge and the correct way of legally reporting it.
save your breath, you'll need it for Theo upthread.
presumably you mean peggers.
you were quick to jump in with "and not guilty of it." when, unless i'm mistaken, it's not actually a separate offence for him to be acquitted of - it's just an aggravating factor for sentencing. he wasn't charged with "premeditated murder" so he can't be found "not guilty" (a verdict) in relation to it.
well you weren't correct either
Can I presume I am not "pretty awful" then?
Judge seems to be coming down pretty hard on Pistorious now - surely this is heading for culpable homicide?
Based on her analysis, I can't see the judgement stacking up to a murder charge being proven, but it sounds like she's convinced of enough for homicide.
televising the image of a man who is clearly broken and is sitting there while his future is laid out is quite upsetting to watch.
Don't want to watch it.
Everyone out of this thread. See you all again in an hour.
of premeditated murder? Is it just because (a) I don't trust his testimony and (b) I don't have any faith in the strength of the prosecution team?
Speaking introspectively, why can't I just observe and let the judge make up her mind?
is probably the answer to your last question.
such as by drunk driving. Not sure if that's the same as manslaughter as culpable homicide seems to imply that you knew you were doing something that could easily cause death (to me).
Seems a bit mental you can fire a gun at someone and say you 'didn't mean to kill them' but I guess as we don't have guns in this country it's difficult to know where the law falls.
and claim that you didn't expect them to bleed out or whatever. Depending on the pattern and grouping of the shots, plus the weapon type, it might be more of a stretch when you're talking about 4 shots blind through a door.
So seems to be
he had a powerful gun, he is confident around guns.
If I wake up in the middle of the night because I hear a noise in the bathroom and my partner is not in bed with me, then I assume it is my partner in the bathroom.
This is what most people would do.
Its true that the judge cannot look into his mind to determine whether it was premeditated. I guess it was inconsistences with the 'screaming evidence which means this is not sufficient to prove that he would have heard her screaming.
What is beyond doubt is that Pistoris is a recklessly dangerous man. I don't believe his side, I cannot conceive that I would fire through a closed door at an unknown person when my partner is unaccounted for, nor can I conceive of any sane person doing so (unless they had malintent) Since he is not claiming insanity, I think he is guilty of murder, this may not be provable to be premeditated, but he is demonstrably criminally dangerously negligent (with a powerful handgun he is confident with) if he has no intent, and that is enough for it to be 2nd degree murder in the US. So yeah, as far as even the uncontested facts stand, I'd bang him up for at least 2nd degree murder.
But then again it doesn't matter because Im not in such a position.
and neither are any of you
you massive, massive sexist.
Pistoris is a male
although the uncontested facts are not sufficient proof for that really, I guess.
What really gets me is that the whole processing of his case was originally needed to be restarted cos someone involved (from the law enforcement side) had actually shot his wife/gf with a gun
shooting women seems to be popular amongst Afrikaans males (unless the small sample size has just been coincidental and skewed the averages)
then it would not be 2nd degree murder, perhaps Pistoris would instead be charged with waking the neighbours instead.
And if you think there might be a lunatic on the loose in your house, you'd check your girlfriend was ok before blasting loads of bullets into the bathroom.
but homicide in SA is quite different from English (and Scots) law so it's not really the same.
she's the howard webb of judging. EVERYONE knows he meant to kill her. EVERYONE
'Culpable homicide involves falling short of the standards of a reasonable person, lawyer Michael Motsoeneng adds. The issue is: Whether he acted as a diligent person who exercises reasonable care. "Did he act as a reasonable person would?"'
Gonna say... no.
The point that has been raised here is that in SA the gun culture might influence the sentence/verdict. E.g. if Pistorius believed that there were intruders behind the door, is it reasonable in that country to fire a weapon at them? Not sure of the answer to this
I do seem to remember threads past when she commented about the 'general state of things' in SA and that guns were pretty much a way of life (/death)
Reminds me of a Colemanballs quote:
"Has suicide become a way of life in British prisons?"
Think there is little doubt that if the case was being heard in the UK that he would be guilty of gross negligence manslaughter at the very least. Whether it would be possible to show the requisite mens rea for murder on the facts as I know them is more open to question - despite some of the ludicrous 'the judge was bought' claims upthread, murder cases demand a very high burden of proof and as I understand it there was a lot of inconsistency in the prosecution's evidence. (I haven't been following this that closely though and maybe someone who has can expand on this? DD?) However, I think most UK courts would find that if you fired five times blindly through a bathroom door you were at the very least negligent as to the possibility of causing death or serious harm.
The above said, SA is a country where, by all accounts, the possibility of armed robbery at night is a very real one. This, coupled with Pistorius' claims that he felt particularly vulnerable because of his "disability" may provide him with something approaching a credible explanation as to why he acted as he did. Is it objectively reasonable to act this way even in these circumstances though? In my opinion no, but I'm not South African.
Would also add that of the little I saw of Pistorius on the stand, he looked far from convincing and I think the judge also said that she did not consider him a credible witness - may all count against him too
but i'd imagine that would be murder here
"How could the accused reasonably have foreseen that the shot he fired would kill the deceased?" she said.
"Clearly he did not subjectively foresee this as a possibility, that he would kill the person behind the door, let alone the deceased as he thought she was in the bedroom at the time."
Surely if you fire a gun five times through a door to a very small room with a person inside you must assume there's a good chance they will be hit (and killed)?
It's not like it was a warning shot that went wrong.
a) 1 shot is sufficient to alert the person in there (if a warning shot is claimed
b) why waste shots that you might need for later if you were worried (admittedly he would have still had a dozen shots left)
I suppose his defence could have been that he didn't fire off all 17 rounds (to be certain of killing her)
if it really WAS an accident as he described then he'd have been so heartbroken and remorseful that he'd have just pleaded guilty to murder as he'd feel as though he'd deserve to be locked up for a long time because he's 100% responsible for her death
you have to have intended to kill them or known it could kill them. in england, you could just have intended to cause grievous bodily harm and don't even need to have foreseen that your actions could cause death. it's quite likely that this would have been murder in england (and scotland probably too cause it seems like 'reckless disregard for life' which is covered by murder in scots law). also have a feeling that a jury wouldn't have acquitted him of murder so easily.
She should just shout at everyone and give the verdict. None of this explanation shit.
BBC News reports the foloowing:
"She (the Judge) said he acted too hastily and his conduct had clearly been negligent... she said a reasonable person would not have fired."
Definition of culpable homicide:
"No intention to kill. Takes into account disability, but actions negligent and not in keeping with a reasonable person. Maximum sentence of 15 years, possibly between seven and 10 years (likely for Pistorius)"
Looks like the length of the sentence is the only thing to confirm based on that.
Although I don't know if the sentences would be served concurrently, if he is indeed guilty of them as well.
Never really understood concurrent sentences, as it happens.
In my completely unprofessional opinion I reckon we're looking at like 10 years here.
I'd be pretty fucking angry if the person who'd fired five shots at and killed my daughter had been found guilty simply of 'negligence'. But I guess that goes without saying.
Thanks, BBC :/
I really didn't need to see that.
the guy shot his girlfriend, on Valentine's day, 5 times through a closed door and is covered in blood spatters - his facial expression & body language, just weird
and he walks from the courtroom
must be great being a famous(male), millionaire(white), folk hero - can literally get away with murder
as an 'ambassador' and an 'inspiration'.
I can't imagine him going back to sport after this.
I saw the beginning of the judge reading out whatever it was she was delivering.
Looked like a shambles. Flicking between different loose bits off paper, cocking up what was being cited, etc.
Not massively reassuring.
i was sort of intrigued by them not using a jury system and wondered if it was a good idea. now totally convinced that it's a terrible idea. there's confusion even in the south african legal community about the verdict. very doubtful that a verdict like this can have public confidence. not only must justice be done, it must be seen to be done etc.
Why they weren't using a jury. Her answer was that so much of the population is illiterate with no education, therefore having a jury would be impossible. Would be interested to know how that compares with countries with similar education levels.
but i think even having a requirement that a certain number of the jurors had attended secondary school (so not a bar to serving) would be better than this.
all of the SA lawyers I've seen interviewed seemed to think she got it right.
Agree that she's not a good public speaker (at all) and this doesn't inspire confidence in the traditional sense, but this doesn't mean her judgement isn't sound. I don't think a UK court would have found differently in the circumstances either, given the apparent paucity of the prosecution's case, especially as four out of five of the prosecution's key witnesses gave unreliable testimony.
Not having *heard* her, but just reading the judgement as given, it seems like she's thought about it logically based on the evidence as she's seen it presented to her. Leaving aside whether she's dismissed evidence correctly, based on what she believes to be the reliable parts I don't see how she could have been expected to come to any other decision.
there was one quoted in a BBC article. The point I think people have mentioned (at the supermarket on low batt so can't check) is that he fired four shots so how could it not be likely that the person behind the door would be fatally wounded.
It's impossible to say what would have happened had it been in the uk. It might not have been in the position four out of five witnesses were found to be unreliable. It's a different offence too with different components or men's tea etc.
Also it wasn't me who suggested that bint a bad public speaker means she hasn't inspired confidence. It's the fact that the decision has been reached by the state (well an arm of it the judiciary) and not by a more 'democratic' jury of his peers. It just looks shoddy.
Get that on @DisQuotes stat!!!
"men's tea" as well, tbh tbf.
decision based on her delivery of it (and apologies if that's how it came across) was more just a general point about her judgement being sound as it is written, and people shouldn't lose site of this in light of her poor communication.
Of course it is impossible to say with certainty what would have happened in a UK court, but on the facts as I know them, there would seem to be considerable scope for casting doubt on the prosecution's version of events. If there is doubt, a jury *cannot* return a conviction for murder and any UK judge would direct a jury accordingly.
Based on the (admittedly little) I know, a potted version of the prosecution's case was that Pistorius and Steenkamp had a blazing row, he then went off to get his gun and shot her while she was locked in the bathroom. This was based almost entirely on the testimony of five people, four of whom the defence could show were unreliable based on phone records etc. This, as and of itself, is probably enough to show a reasonable doubt, unless the fifth's testimony was utterly damning. My understanding was that this was not the case. All of this, coupled with the fact that the judge found that Pistorius' explanation of events had some credence, would probably be sufficient to find that there was a reasonable doubt in a UK Court.
Think your point about juries is a little bit of a red herring in that people in South Africa are used to cases being presided over by a judge only and would not necessarily expect that the process be more 'democratic'. Playing devil's advocate also, juries bring their own issues and I'm not entirely convinced they are always the best way of resolving matters. Overall though, agree with you that they are better than the alternative
a very good job though. To be clear, I'm not saying that based on the way the case panned out, the judge necessarily reached the wrong conclusions. I'm sure she did a reasonably good job.It just seems very implausible that he didn't murder her. Of course if that can't be proven he definitely shouldn't be convicted for murder and the judge is correct.
A lot of people are questioning how she decided that firing four shots without looking wasn't a bit iffy though. A jury would probably have reached the same decision based on the testimonies and inconsistencies in the prosecutions case. But I think it would seem
More legigitmate. This feels less convincing (obvs I'm just not used to having someone set out reasons for their finding of facts so quite biased).
but she didn't really speak publicly very well at all. Should judges be good at that or not? Or are they just there to pass judgement?
nb. The VERY limited time I have been in the presence of judges in court (in the UK) they have been absolutely in command of what is happening in the court and experts at explaining what is going on.
but you'll find in most english courts, judges have a background as barristers so they're trained in commanding an audience, speaking clearly and authoritatively. and are even quite witty. personally, i think it doesn't matter toooo much and i'd rather there was diversity at the bench (more judges from academia, more women, more solicitors etc.) than good public speakers. obvs they still need to be competent and authoritative but they're far too male, pale and stale imo. in appeal courts it doesn't really matter because they just write lengthy submissions and what matters more is that they are the best 'legal minds' with the most comprehensive and impeccable knowledge of the law.
public speaking confidence is probably inversely proportional to media scrutiny, so when you were on jury duty (in Sri Lanka?) and no-one was watching it would have been easy, but cameras in court, worldwide audience etc etc probably makes your brain go a bit errrrrrr.
legal and courts system in the world, though. It's not really fair to compare.
I think ultimately the manslaughter charge, or whatever they've been calling it in South Africa, is probably what I would've gone with had the evidence been presented to me.
He killed her, that much is fact, but the intentions seemed to be shrouded in so much conjecture and actually brought up a lot of ideas about the nature of choice anyway. It's an awful situation all around. But I've been vary wary of passing judgement as quickly as our established media seems to be.
I just find it crazy that anyone can fire five shots through a closed door into a small room and the judge can say they didn't know they were going to kill someone with that action, as in this country surely just firing a gun would be enough to claim that you knew the likelihood would be you would kill someone.
But as I said above I guess it's different in countries with guns. Not sure why I'm repeating myself here, sorry.
And yeah I think in a country with the criminal culture it does, gun laws, not to mention the psyche of Pistorius himself, I don't think I'd be able to find him guilty of actual premeditated murder.
I can't see how the judge can say he couldn't have forseen he would kill the person behind the door and therefore it can't be murder.
I can understand how they can say it's not premeditatied but unloading a gun at a door with someone behind and thinking killing that person is likely? I don't get it.
and that anything under nine shots would be non-lethal?
I would have been comfortable coming back with a guilty of murder versict. he behaved so recklessly and I just can't see, from the facts, how it wasn't likely that someone was going to die and that this should have been foreseeable. the fact that it was in a moment of confusion when he was taken by surprise should mitigate it but I don't feel like "negligence" can cover what he did. Obvs not got all the evidence and this is based on our legal system and meaning of negligence not theirs... but based on what we know from how it's been reported, I think it sounds like he acted without regard for reeva's life which should be murder. It's not just an accident, it's not caring about whether someone will die. I have no idea what it's like to have the level of terror from possible intruders though (without going into how that's a bit messed up too) so yeah it's complicated but not as simple as a question of whether he deliberately killed her.
Part of me wonders about the nature of choice itself when you're living in potential terror, when firearms are so ubiquitous, when their relationship was abusive. I'm not absolving him of blame but I'm saying the likelihood of someone getting hurt almost narrows itself to a certainty. It's weird. But then yeah I do wonder on the night itself if he actually meant to or if other paranoias took over or whatever, and basically manslaughter is what I'd come back to.
which is a step up from 'reckless'
my point is that i think it makes more sense to find someone guilty of murder when they've behaved so recklessly (and in scotland for example, 'reckless disregard' for the victim's life can be sufficient mens rea for murder). i realise that's not the law and was commenting more as a response to RFWare who seemed to be talking more about the philosophical underpinnings of a murder charge than the strict legal test to be applied.
if it had been in england, they would surely have looked at whether they could demonstrate he had intention to cause gbh?
still slightly confused about this.
you mentioned before that you were surprised to hear me say the verdcit had divided the south african legal community. there is more coming out now http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/12/pistorius-verdict-questioned-as-state-prepares-appeal
it didn't really seem to get mentioned much how he'd had time to make the decision to get his gun from wherever it was but didn't have time to realise his girlfriend wasn't in bed with him. Or maybe it was mentioned and I didn't notice.
will have learnt a valuable lesson from this..........................................................not to go to the bathroom at night
it seems a lot of the reports have been slightly misleading about what the effect of 'dolus eventualis' is so i'm confused.
As such there is no certain explanation of the effect of 'dolus eventualis' in this case.