OSCAR PISTORIUS ITV INTERVIEW WITH MARK WILLIAMS -THOMAS

Posted in disability, opinion, Parasport on June 23rd, 2016 by John Coxon

Oscar being interviewed after taking gold in Manchester at the Paralympic Cup. The awful events of the last three years have taken a terrible toll on him emotionally & mentally & visibly aged him.

Friday June 24th , 2016 will , on the UK’s ITV channel, see the broadcast of an exclusive interview with Oscar Pistorius by the multi -award winning investigative journalist Mark Williams-Thomas a man who was the only journalist to interview the athlete during his trial

What can we expect from the man , a rarity these days , an independent incorruptible  TV investigative journalist who previously exposed  a serial notorious prolific  UK knighted paedophile , our worst ever ,  formerly respected and loved TV celebrity Jimmy Saville, who has interviewed Oscar recently the only journalist in the world trusted to do so ?

( NB  in the interest of honesty and openness co-incidentally as an independent  professional photographer, covering disability sport on a voluntary basis I have actually met and spent some time talking to Oscar Pistorius and been interviewed by Mark. I also had tended to focus professionally on women’s sport and was a regular co-editor /contributor to the not for profit global women sport news website womensportreport.com, since I wanted to try and help counteract the lack of parity in the media in terms of coverage of women’s sport. Alas, where a male photographer covers women’s sport at all levels it seems inevitable that such focus leads to a perception, almost  exclusively amongst males that my motivation is questionable and have, as such been victim of Chinese whispers and a number of  ill founded comments and allegations.  I was actually interviewed by Mark Williams-Thomas who was, as a consultant for England Hockey, rigorously but fairly investigating allegations of inappropriate comments I was accused of making which although were not of a criminal nature had been a cause for concern. I voluntarily presented myself where I had no obligation to do so. I found him professional, objective, thorough and fair and was completely open and honest with him although it was not a particularly comfortable experience. As a consequence I trust  that Mark’s interview with Oscar  as he awaits  re-sentencing will be honest , impartial  , devoid of sentimentality and fact based. I am sure it will, as it must be, be handled sensitively given the athlete’s broken state of mind and I’d expect a series of open but probing questions to enable the athlete to give his side of things. It is also going to be emotional at times as we hear that Oscar still breaks down when he is speaking about Reeva and the accident.

It will be uncomfortable for Oscar not because he has anything at all to hide  but ,  I am certain,  because his love for Reeva was as is his abject remorse and grief, genuine .  To revisit those events is traumatic for him but at least Mark has given him the opportunity, in a private and secure environment of his uncle’s home where he lives under house arrest , to put his side of things. The preposterous declaration by Prosecutor Nel that Oscar’s refusal to be  cross examined in court during the re-sentencing proceedings on mental health grounds was an act when  he  allowed himself to be interviewed by Mark  merely shows the persecutor Nel’s complete ignorance of the mental state Oscar is in as a result of  his  , Nel’s,  unacceptable aggressive posturing to TV camera’s , his constant attacks on the athlete’s character and humiliation of him in front of the world and failure to understand that, in the safety and privacy of his uncle’s home, ill though he is and traumatised, he would feel far less threatened or vulnerable.

Let’s be honest Britain has a long established stable and widely respected very effective police force and justice system and South Africa as yet has neither. Tonight in Oscar’s home city we see public rioting and looting and the police are showing cowardice  and complete lack of competence to bring the situation under control. This is where Oscar lives, in the Province of Gauteng which based on gun death statistics is the most dangerous region to live in and Pretoria has a terrible record for violent crimes and armed home intrusions and yet Nel and the corrupt Supreme Court of Appeal , whose judges are appointed by the corrupt  ANC whose leader , Zuma , fathered twenty children , has milked public coffers and shared the gold with his family, his harem of wives  and fellow villains, tell us Oscar should feel safe . What denial and what a sick joke that really is.  Our own police have very high conviction rates for serious crimes especially murder and other violent offences  – South Africa conviction rates are 70% below of our own conviction statistics .  We still have a few independent unbiased investigative  journalists who have no allegiances politically or financially just an avid desire to examine events in a fair and thorough way even if that is against popular perception and  current of public opinion. They are fearless because they are answerable to nobody just their own ethical code .

Consider the heinous criminals who commit sexual offences against women and children and such predators are notoriously clever and manipulative and for example, how many times have we seen those predators crying crocodile tears for the TV cameras and making statements of grief ridden ire when in fact they are the guilty party. Sexual offenders come from all walks of life but what they have in common is that they are accomplished devious liars and manipulative individuals so adept at protesting innocence and it takes a particular kind of experienced police professional to interview them , see past the lies, follow the evidence and secure a conviction.  Now one  investigative independent journalist, a Brit ( as you’d struggle  find an ethical journalist in the RSA it appears based on the biased reporting of Oscar’s trial) has for the second time been trusted by the Pistorius family to interview Oscar , the only journalist in the world they respected and feel they can trust.

 

Mark Williams-Thomas, as an old school investigative journalist has a battery of impressive international awards for his journalism and under pinning that it his former role as a detective investigating serious crime thus, it is very unlikely that, were Oscar a manipulative liar as Nel would ask us to believe he was, he would not be able to fool this man.  Mark interviewed Oscar during the trial and based on his conversations with the athlete measured against interviewing real killers and paedophiles he was satisfied that Oscar loved Reeva, mourns her loss but crucially he did not believe Oscar is a murderer and fully accepted this was a tragic accident.

During the actual trial of paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius  he  became victim of  the post apartheid still   image flawed South African justice system’s  unprecedented decision to allow broadcast media to televise the trial for its own  propaganda purposes. At that time Oscar and his  under media siege family  gave permission for just one independent , neutral investigative journalist in the world to interview the athlete and crucially not a native South African journalist but an independent freelance British journalist. After  that interview  , in a sensational case that  was to develop as trial by media, here  was, it appears to me ,  a rare  voice seeking the truth not front page headlines or popularity, who, potentially, put his professional reputation on the line declaring he did not believe the athlete was a murderer. After the extraordinary media circus that ensued over the three years since that interview and the avalanche of unprecedented , largely ill- informed and media mis-informed public vilification on social media of the athlete and his family,  they gave their consent once again for Mark Williams Thomas to interview Oscar as he faces his future uncertainties awaiting  re-sentencing after a higher court perversely over turned the original trial verdict and artificially inflated it to one of murder.

Who is this one man that Oscar and his family still feel they can trust and can we trust that individual’s professional assessment now of the athlete after  all the evidence has been heard and subsequent events ? Will he conclude he was mistaken with his original conclusion or will he have changed his mind ?  Given that the establishment media have almost exclusively  gone for sensational headlines, often at the expense of the actual facts and truth,  what conclusions will the journalist have drawn? Long term well informed supporters of the athlete like myself have stood in disbelief at the media and justice system’s treatment of the athlete and so hope a few would see past all the sensationalism and try and present a more balanced picture but of course, so many social media  users have been sucked into Nel and the wider media’s dismissal of the athlete and , even without taking  note of all the evidence  and who stick to the belief he is a liar and a murderer and it is unlikely that the documentary can make any impact on that sort of rigid mind set.  But at least, for the first time, Oscar has an opportunity to put his side of the story. Mark is a former experienced policeman , a serious crimes specialist detective having to make life changing judgements about those before him based on interviews  and purely on solid  evidence and facts that  stand up in a court in our  long established  system clearly far more stable, free of political influence  and far more demanding in terms of proof than that which exists in the current south Africa. So who is this man and what are his credentials?

Mark Williams  Thomas MA ,is an experienced  highly respected British multi award winning independent free lance investigative journalist /reporter with two Royal Television Society Awards, a Broadcasting Press Guild Award and an International Peabody Award. (An international award that recognizes distinguished and meritorious public service of  radio and television professionals and crucially reflecting excellence in quality, rather than popularity or commercial success.  He is also a double  BAFTA (British Academy Film Awards ) nominee. He holds , from 2007 ) a masters degree in criminology from the University of Birmingham. As a  former  serious crimes police detective he has far-reaching experience of working at the centre of high profile investigations and undertaking major police reviews and inquiries. As a detective he , for example , was involved in the investigation that led to the conviction of pop music mogul Jonathan king for the sexual abuse of young boys. He also is now also a highly respected independent child protection and safeguarding expert consultant a role he fulfils  for example for England Hockey (which includes actually interviewing, with the governing body’s elected officers,  those under investigation of allegations of misconduct which threatens the safety of minors in the support , those under 18 years old especially )

 

He has, as a TV journalist over the last decade, expertly and independently investigated and reported on some of  our biggest serious crime stories including  exposing the  formerly hugely popular  British TV celebrity as one of the country’s most prolific paedophiles in its history, the late Sir Jimmy Saville  and interviewing, before his arrest the paedophile killer of twelve year old Tia Sharp, Stuart Hazel, now serving 38 years in prison for her murder . His latest documentary is based on a second impartial interview with Oscar Pistorius to be broadcast June 24th in the UK on ITV.

With a proven track record for straightforward talk and exposing the truth however unpleasant  with fact based investigative questioning without any vested interest, I fully anticipate that this latest documentary will for some vindicate Oscar Pistorius and raise further concerns as to the safety of branding him as a murderer both by his country’s justice system and the wider court of public opinion. There is an army of fake names and fake profiles and therefore emboldened individuals for whom facts are an inconvenience, the documentary is unlikely to change those of rigid mind sets who have been suckered into the deceit of Nel’s self and state  fulfilling version events and an avalanche of media sensationalist falsehoods Nel inspired with the collusion of the gutter press media to whom his service leaked false information before and during the trial.

Supporters , (not blind “fans” ) of Oscar like myself have been the target of incredible abuse as he and his family have been so much more and in the main when people like myself respond calmly to abuse on social media,   with facts,  the abuse becomes even more personal as so many of those people have ingrained prejudices that facts cannot dent.  The ethicless , vested interest  RSA and global media are largely if not wholly responsible for Oscar being wrongly labelled as a murderer and to have become victim of the harshest treatment anyone has ever been when charged with a similar crime simply because  of his global celebrity which the justice system saw as an opportunity to try to show us that the RSA system is robust, fair and impartial when it has shown the world that it is actually rotten to the core, politically compromised  and totally unjust and unfair. All similar cases after all resulted in suspended sentences and Oscar was the first to get a custodial sentence and incredible that he now has had that inflated to the crime of murder.

God help South Africa as the riots and public disorder continue in the city where Oscar lives and the police totally incompetent in controlling that disorder , a city within the province of Gauteng, a region which in terms of violent guns deaths is the most dangerous place in the county and yet Nel and the SCA try to tell us that Oscar’s fear of crime and home invasion was unfounded. Oscar Pistorius and his family represent the very best of South Africa in terms of decency, humility and integrity and Nel and the SCA represent the country at its fatally floundering worst. Nel, the lacking in scruples egotist   is in comparison a ruthless ambitious weasel , worryingly the second most powerful legal “professional “ in the NPA  and is now under investigation himself  and his steroid fuelled bully buddies Schultz and Bachelor are under investigation for serious crimes and Nel gave self Schultz immunity even though he is a self confessed murderer and he sat in the trial and tried to intimate members of Oscar’s family with an invitation card from Nel.

I asked Oscar if he would have a photo with these RSA fans during the paralympic World cup in Manchester in 2010

The interview will also be broadcast in South Africa. Hard of course and perhaps unwise  to predict  how the interview will go down with people and actually do not expect Mark to make any pronouncements as to whether he still feels as h did during the actual trial after interviewing Oscar previously and where he wrote a supportive newspaper report saying he was convinced the athlete is not a murder. What I do hope is that those who either knee jerked and wrongly presumed it was a murder and the result of a domestic violence incident or have been led in their own dismissal of him by falsehoods spread by the media and the lies that Nel came out with at the trial and during the re-sentencing hearing will learn from this that the athlete’s grief and remorse is all consuming. Nel wants us to believe the athlete did not love Reeva and that his distress in court is merely that of a man full not of remorse but self-pity trying to save his on skin. My guess is that nobody will be left in doubt of his love for Reeva and his profound grief and remorse.

An Oscar quote from the interview that airs on ITV Friday 24th June 9-10pm GMT

An Oscar quote from the interview that airs on ITV Friday 24th June 9-10pm GMT

What perhaps will not be addressed is the excessive treatment the justice system has rained down on him  , far harsher treatment than anyone previously has been given for a similar offence and that in my view needs independently investigating at international court level as it has been a gross miscarriage of justice inflating an accidental,unintentional killing to that of murder without even a retrial.

In closing I believe we will have confirmed that the athlete has been punishing himself far more than any sentence could do and that he wants to be punished for killing Reeva accidentally yet I think the state has punished him more than enough already, not for justice but to meet its own ends to appear far more robust than it actually is. His treatment clearly has not been impartial in fact the very reverse simply because of his fame and the opportunity the state saw to make an example of him.

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Oscar Pistorius case exposes rotten State of RSA’s legal system & so some common sense needed

Posted in opinion, Parasport on June 20th, 2016 by John Coxon

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Social media and South Africa’s  press in particular has been at the forefront of the unjust global trashing of the athlete Oscar Pistorius in what became its greatest  travesty of justice in this still dysfunctional post apartheid emerging nation recent  historyo , with state sponsored  trial by media, buddying up with  social and establishment print and TV media for political gain to polish its still imperfect and  tarnished justice system’s image and who better as scapegoat and try to  whitewash that apartheid based   justice system’s shit house than its former greatest ever sports celebrity?

Where were the voices in the global disability sport Paralympic community who owe the guy so much and where were the incorruptible honest legal professionals who must have smelt that a  dead rat and bullshit underpins the treatment the athlete received from their system driven by the court of public opinion and confirmed by the rat droppings at the Supreme Court of Appeal which the majority of citizens see as nuggets of gold and whose judgement stinks like a sewer and they sniff as if if a parfum by  Dior . Oh no John no,  fifteen or so of its ” best” judges,  read superannuated  puppets of the state politically appointed by the “saintly” ANC under their nation milking nepotistic fraudster president Zuma who can’t even read big numbas.

I  rarely cut and paste and have been true to that for the three years and thousands of unpaid hours I have dedicated in support of Oscar. Here are the views of two independent objective RSA native thinkers, in case you think I am just a deluded star struck obsessive fan rather than  fact based freelance independent journalist  I am. One is  an RSA  legal professional advocate Chris Marnewick and the other former RSA ambassador Dawie Jacobs . Chris posted the following home truths for those citizens of his nation who can read ad flexible enough not to diet on media bullshit as their staple diet :-

” In my opinion this will go down as one of the greatest injustices handed out by the SA legal system, and by legal system I mean the Police, the Prosecution and the Courts.
B. In order to overturn the Masipa judgement, the Supreme Court of Appeal has had to perform legal and precedential somersaults of unprecedented proportions. As Justice Cloete explained to a colleague arguing in the SCA not so long ago: “As Professor J C de Wet used to say: The fact that a judgment of the Appeal Court is final doesn’t mean that it is right.”
C. The reported praising of Judge Masipa by Justice Leach is both patronising and demeaning.
Now to your questions:
1) I don’t think Judge Masipa was wrong about dolus eventualis – although she didn’t pronounce it correctly.
2) No, dolus eventualis is taught at first year Criminal Law 1 level. All it means is that the required intent (mens rea) is held to be present if the court finds AS A FACT that the accused foresaw the unlawful consequences of his act and reconciled him with those consequences. Masipa found that intention to have been absent. The SCA found it to have been present. I have a problem with the approach of the SCA here: This was a finding of fact of the trial court and the SCA could not overturn that. Yet it did by calling it a finding of law. In my opinion this “somersault” by the SCA allowed it to interfere with Judge Masipa’s judgment. And on the evidence the SCA was wrong anyway by finding the Pistorius in fact intended to kill the person behind the door. (On this last point – It was common cause that he fired at a downward trajectory while on his stumps. Who ever “intended” to kill by shooting at someone’s legs?)
3) No, I think his case was unique.
4) No. All SCA judgments are “precedents” in that they are binding on lower courts. But here, apart from changing the law – yes, that’s what it amounts to – so far as the Seekoei case is concerned, the SCA has raised no new legal principles. It appears to me that what it has done is to overturn a lower court’s decision in a criminal case on the facts.
5) “Trial by media” is not the right term for what happened here. Let me explain how I see it. The Constitution guarantees everyone a right to a fair trial. The cumulative effect of the following factors lead me to believe that Pistorius may not have received a fair trial.
(a) Apart from the obvious, the right to a fair includes the right to be treated equally with other citizens. It must be obvious that Pistorius was not treated the same as other accused in similar circumstances. Rudi Visagie was not prosecuted at all after shooting his daughter dead when he thought she was a thief trying to steal her car. Another man was convicted of culpable homicide when he shot and killed his daughter, thinking she was a burglar. There are many similar cases. And of course, the way the media were allowed to intrude is also unique to his case.
(b) Judge President Mlambo allowed the trial to be televised live when he knew that it would lead to unprecedented publicity and chaos that might influence the conduct of the trial and of the witnesses and lawyers. And it had an effect in that some witnesses refused to be televised – but their voices were carried out to the world – and according to the defence some refused to come to court to give supporting evidence because of the publicity. A further effect is that the prosecutor played to the cameras. That is the only explanation I can think of for some of the things he did – laughing at Pistorius, etc. Last: Everyone behaves differently when in front of the camera, even the smallest children. We will never know how the cameras in Judge Masipa’s court affected the demeanour of the witnesses – and demeanour is an important indicator of reliability and credibility.
(c) An American commentator – a senior trial lawyer – commented on CNN that the cross-examination of Pistorius was conducted in such a manner that in the USA a “mistrial” would be declared for “prosecutorial misconduct”. My overall view of the manner in which not only Pistorius but other defence witnesses were cross-examined is that there is sufficient merit in this point alone for the matter to require the attention of the Constitutional Court. There are legal and ethical limits to what a prosecutor is allowed to do: His duty is not to obtain a conviction at all costs but to present the evidence fairly and dispassionately.
(d) The prosecution “over-reached” from the time of the bail application by arguing for “premeditated” murder when there was no credible or reliable evidence to support it and although it ran counter to its own theory that there was an argument and a sudden explosion of anger which caused Pistorius to “want” to kill Reeva Steenkamp. This “over-reach” to my mind could be construed as bullying an accused, and as such a matter which may be regarded as relevant by the Constitutional Court.
(e) The intrusion of the cameras in court, the dedicated TV channel, the panel and other “experts'” analyses every evening on national news and in the papers created an oppressive atmosphere of near hysteria, with the public being harnessed in the relentless pursuit of one man, Oscar Pistorius. There are very few judges who could resist the clamour for blood and revenge under those circumstances. To their everlasting credit, I think Judge Masipa and her two assessors managed to lift themselves above the fray.
As to Point A above: I was in Pretoria on Valentine’s Day 2013. I thought then, as I think now, that Pistorius was guilty on his own version of culpable homicide. What the SCA has now done is to reject his evidence and to base its findings on circumstantial evidence which does not include the most important parts of Pistorius’ evidence, namely that he did not intend to shoot, with its corollary, that he didn’t intend to kill anyone. (Ironically, the SCA criticised Judge Masipa for not taking into account some of Captain Mangena’s evidence.)
South Africans of all classes have now lived in fear in their own homes for so long that they forget the mind-set that …”accompanies that fear when we go to bed at night. I have no doubt that when Oscar went to bed that night, he had that same fear of murderous intruders coming in though a window in the dead of night in the back of his mind. And I have no doubt that that fear was what caused him to act as he did.
It is surprising that neither Judge Masipa nor the judges of the SCA took this into account.” Chris Marnewick SC

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