To err is human; to forgive divine – on Oscar Pistorius’s release from prison

Posted in opinion, Parasport on August 14th, 2015 by John Coxon

To err is human : to forgive , divine. My thoughts on Oscar Pistorius’s release from prison.

(all images are my copyright and cannot be reproduced or used on social media or elsewhere without my written consent )

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In seven days  South African Paralympian, Oscar Pistorius will be freed from prison under parole after serving nearly a year behind bars and it seems to me, unfairly, will then face the remainder of the to my mind bizarre and unwarranted sentence imposed on him for the accidental killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp . This  he will have to complete under virtual house arrest.

 

oscar pistoriusIt appears that the State and notoriously unscrupulous prosecution lawyer Gerry Nel will, thereafter, have just a further week or so to lodge an appeal against the judges sentence in what I can only see as a final sour grapes attempt to further discredit and punish the athlete, sentenced not for murder but for involuntary manslaughter and happily it now seems very likely that such an appeal will be denied.

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In the media  circus  of the  high profile televised trial the State prosecution system  had its woeful record  in policing, following professional standard forensic practice ,  protecting the chain of evidence and collecting sufficient real evidence totally  laid bare by the actual facts . They  failed to be able to prove the police knee jerk presumptions in the original charge that this was an episode of domestic violence and murder.

 

The prosecution service failed to follow procedures and   empowered Nel to try anything, regardless of established courtroom etiquette and professional ethics simply because the burden of evidence of premeditated murder could never be established or proven and therefore a very public sustained personal attack on the defendant and his character and previous personal history  was the basis of Nel’s script. This included calling the athlete a liar a number of times, trying to further distress, humiliate  and undermine a man already evidently in the depths of remorse, quilt and despair of having to come to terms with the fact, that he never denied – he was responsible  for his girlfriend’s untimely tragic death. Ironically , to try to prove its character assassination was well founded the state had the athlete independently psychologically assessed and this proved that Oscar was humble, not vain, not a serial liar or actor and was broken with remorse.

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The irony of the state’s stance during the trial and subsequent churlish response to the judgement and sentencing in seeking to undermined the judges  findings based on what evidence they could trump together could not have escaped the notice of people from outside South Africa especially or raising serious question marks about the competence of the RSA  prosecution service and even funnier that their rogue courtroom henchman, Gerry Nel, is himself under investigation on other matters.

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Oscar Pistorius has never consciously played the disability card and in fact fought the establishment and common perceptions of disability in his everyday life and athletic career although he never actually invited the role of disability ambassador or sought to capitalise on his personal acts of kindness to other athletes and kids with similar disabilities.

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South Africa seems to be in a dual and chaotic state politically and socially and the promise of a rainbow nation yet to be delivered.  Perhaps in recent years Oscar and Mr Mandela presented to the world a nation free from the shackles of apartheid and facing a future filled with hope . Yer it is top three for unlawful gun deaths in the world along with the USA and Columbia and many people live in fear of violent armed car jacking and home intrusion- a daily reality in so many cities and towns. Oscar Pistorius’s claim that he felt under threat from an intruder in the context of this country’s record on violent crime and the Police’s inability to control it leads any reasonable person to empathise with a person who mistakenly thought he was protecting himself and his lovely girlfriend from a probably threat to life and , even though the athlete never traded on it, the fact that he was an amputee surely must have made him more anxious in terms of his own vulnerability and personally I can never forgive the Judge for not taking that into account when delivering her unexpected judgement.

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Oscar and his family are devout Christians & it shows in so many positive ways.

I have a feeling that Oscar Pistorius actually welcomed time in jail because he was riddled with guilt at accidentally taking Reeva’s life but know also that he, as with his family, is a devout God fearing person and my guess is that when he comes to face his creator he will have nothing to fear because this was surely a tragic accident.

For me having met the man twice both publicly and privately I cannot for the life of me see an ounce of bad in the man and cannot believe he could harm a soul deliberately and have heard nothing that the State has offered to make me change my view of the man. It is simple to dismiss the so called Pistorians of naïve blind love and the online fan base who have shown support for the athlete in a range of ways that vary from the touching to the down right embarrassing. I know from personal experience that Oscar Pistorius is surrounded by a loving but honest family , a loyal yet  hard nosed honest coach in Ampie ( who continued to believe in the athlete and  has stuck by him privately through  all this.)  I do not think the defence did that great a job and cannot believe they did not protest more effectively when Nel was playing his games in court bending the rules beyond what is reasonable and not appealing to the sentence which to me seemed and still does seem, bizarre and excessive.

 

I believe Oscar Pistorius has paid the highest price for a mistake he made yet in the context of that event I find it understandable that he acted in the way he did and no sentence could trump that. House arrest is not a light option and I think there are very strong grounds for having those conditions rescinded.  The state made very serious accusations which were proven to be based on self-fulfilling falsehoods  , flooded their testimony with lies , half truths and flawed witnesses and cost the athlete and his family a fortune to defend . Oscar Pistorius never for a second denied responsibility for causing the death of his girlfriend and I am not seeking here to deny the tragedy of that loss of life .

But what of the corrupt police who appeared to have moved evidence, corrupted the crime scene, stolen valuable property from the crime scene, did not follow chain of evidence procedure, have one of the crime scene Police discredited and shamed, a local fly-boy gangster given immunity to give false testimony against the athlete and Gerry Nell’s outrageous unprofessional court room behaviour? All that is more than grounds to totally undermine the state’s case and appeal the actual sentence and yet the cost both emotionally and financially is not one I’d guess either the athlete or the family would wish to pursue.  The State Prosecution’s wish to appeal and contradict the Judge’s findings is obscene, farcical and merely self-fulfilling sour grapes.

 

I wish Oscar well when he is released from prison and hope that he can rebuild his life after this tragedy made worse by his disgraceful treatment in the blood sucking media and the duplicity of the state prosecutors. No surprise whatsoever he was a model prisoner and more than earned early release and will no doubt continue to be the decent person he always has been when he finally gets closure to this awful episode.

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