Oscar Pistorius is not a murderer so why is he in prison ?

Posted in opinion, Parasport on October 18th, 2016 by John Coxon

In the face of horrendous world beating statistics of violent so often fatal crimes against the person, RSA are world leaders & their  police & the NPA have an awfully poor conviction rate in terms of world standards. The latter have often been hindered by sloppy unprofessional police evidence gathering giving any decent criminal lawyer opportunities to have cases dismissed, a factor that has led to the popular & proper belief that justice still defers to those of means in the RSA. Judge Dunstan Mlambo made history allowing the trial of Oscar Pistorius to be televised. Let’s be honest, this wasn’t, as he professed, to serve public interest but seen as an opportunity to show the system was not preferential. That fatal judgement was to prove it actually isn’t fair or just & it led to the “special treatment” of the athlete, but in a perverse way, making him victim of the harshest ongoing treatment ever in all similar cases given out with the unwelcome side effect of state led trial by media.

oscar-flying-198x300Advocate Gerrie Nel is second in command at the NPA with, therefore, a vested interest, especially in high profile cases, to get a convictions to up the success rates beyond abysmal, even if it seems, as it was , justice was compromised towards that end. This must be the sole basis on which he couldn’t accept Masipa’s dismissal of his murder charge for Oscar Pistorius. She found not a shred of evidence he had a violent history, or that a violent row took place leading to an actual domestic violence murder & therefore to save his own face  & the failing NPA’s, that led to what amounts now to an ongoing  personal vendetta & actual persecution of an unfortunate man who made a tragic mistake.

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Even the SCA gave their perverse revised verdict on the basis of an action which was not the result of a violent row or a gender based domestic violence killing & that Oscar had actually murdered the one behind the door, even though the actual forensics/ ballistics strongly suggest there was no such intention & also Oscar felt empowered to defend himself his beloved as a legal action. They abused their brief, ignored all actual evidence & used an archaic unsound legal principle to justify their politically motivated decision.  It is ridiculous for Nel to claim that Oscar’s fear of violent home intrusion was irrational as it was his insane conviction that a double amputee, facing an assumed lethal threat on his stumps, shouldn’t have felt even more vulnerable than you or I would, or Nel, who is a self–defence gun owner by the way.

Off track, still modest & courteous but beneath the strong confident man , on his day prosthesis he felt highly anxious & at times acutely vulnerable having had a lifelong  history of threat & experience of actual crime.

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There is absolutely no way this tragic event should be, could, be seen as a murder in any decent country & was from the very beginning a mistaken identity tragic action & therefore manslaughter at best. If you are, in particular, white, a homeowner, & legally armed for self defence in such a dangerous country this perverse turn of events has immense implications for you if , as a last resort, you’re faced with an armed intrusion in the future as to defend yourself will make you a murderer. April 2011 , black, non-famous business man  & pastor, Siyabonga Mdunge ,shot  dead his wife & killed his unborn child, as she emerged at night from the bathroom, mistaking her for an intruder & was given a suspended sentence & no correctional supervision  yet Oscar has been  branded a murderer because he is white & famous. Where is the justice in that?

Oscar Pistorius – why I have supported him for so long.

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

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From a decade of unpaid professional support as a freelance independent online journalist & professional photographer for paralympic sport & raising & promoting disability awareness I have just two t-shirts & a polo shirt all three of which I actually had to pinch from the media rooms . I also have a signed photo from Oscar Pistorius & treasure all four items.

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I have such treasured memories of the BT Paralympic  World Cup May 2009 at the Sports City complex, Manchester as accredited photographer covering swimming, wheelchair basketball, track cycling & track & field on a voluntary basis for the not for profit global women’s sport news website  Women Sport Report . I so enjoyed it & was happy to attend three consecutive games until sadly London won the right to stage it & making it not cost effective to continue to cover.

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It’s been a mission of mine for the past two decades to provide voluntary support as a photographer & journalist in the field of disability sport & women’s sport particularly because of the lack of parity in media coverage & funding for those two groups.   I also use my special educator background & knowledge of disability to help raise awareness of disability issues using photograph’s of athlete’s I have taken & to try & help change attitudes in positive ways.

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That gap has closed somewhat since 2009 helped enormously by mainstream broadcast coverage of the 2012 & 2016 Olympics & Paralympics.  It was back then I got to see & photograph the athlete who was by then the first global poster boy for Paralympic sport, Oscar Pistorius. For an independent freelance professional photographer we do not enjoy a level playing field when it comes to access where events are taking place & where young upstart event managers provide media pens for us where a big company will have paid handsomely as official photographers with no restrictions where they stand. You can’t get original shots if you are forced to remain in one place & even though I pushed it as far as I could I ran the risk of being ejected from the venue.

It was in 2010 I found a way to get some original shots of Oscar in full flight during his gold medal win in the 400m where even then the stadium was only half full and where on the far side of the track there were no spectators. I slipped through the crowded north stand and secreted myself lying on the ground near the long jump & got superb shots of him as he majestically passed me.

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Back in 2009    that was my first major paralympic event & days w ere long and tiring but I was adrenalin driven. When all the regular establishment media & my freelance colleagues had long left I stayed behind in the empty media room, downloading photos onto my laptop & editing them taking in now and again the remains of the free coffee.  Went out to get some fresh air and there was Oscar sitting waiting for the mandatory drugs test , the last of the day when all the other athletes had gone so I asked if I could keep him company and we chatted for maybe half an hour. He was no attention seeking diva, just an ordinary extra ordinary guy, modest, humble & genuine & very friendly. (Incidentally in my whole professional photography career I have as yet seen no other elite athlete able bodied or not so at ease with fans or who spent more time happily  chatting, signing autographs and having photos taken with them but in no way an attention seeker  or vain just a nice guy not wanting to disappoint people as well as so many  small acts of kindness only a few get to see )

Off track, still modest & courteous but beneath the strong confident man , on his day prosthesis he felt highly anxious & at times acutely vulnerable having had a lifelong history of threat & experience of actual crime.

Moving forward a few years I was devastated when I heard of Reeva’s death & that Oscar had been charged with her murder and yet , having met the guy , but myself always objective, there was no way the man I met was capable of such an act & I believed his version of events & still do to this day after examining in detail all the evidence, court transcripts, psychologists reports plus a mountain of prejudiced media & social media malicious falsehoods  that racked this case up in what was to become the vilest travesty in his country’s  legal history. My dad brought me up to be decent, be myself , independent & fact based in my opinions,  to stand up for what I believe in & support those who are  victims of bad stuff they so did not deserve regardless of the cost. I would also never endorse a product, service or person in whom I did not believe or trust. I trust Oscar & believe in him & whilst it is so tragic that he is responsible for Reeva’s death I know it was an accident & have read nothing in the mountains of research I have done to change that view. He & his family have no voice & thus are unable to speak out & defend themselves from all the abuse they have been subjected to on social media & still being subjected  so I made it my business to be as supportive as possible based on evidence & facts. I have done this in the main via Twitter since it offers the biggest reach in terms of audience . To that end given the 140 character limit I came up with the idea of screen capturing text with a photo making “photocard “tweets to help raise awareness of actual evidence & to challenge what I believe has grown into a gross miscarriage of justice  where this was not a murder or a domestic violence rage killing but a tragic accident , the kind of accident that could happen to any south African home owner armed for self defence against violent armed home intrusions which so many citizens live in real fear of.

Please click on the image below to see an album of my photo tweet cards over on my Facebook.

 

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