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#1 2016-12-19 07:38:08

Cadastrado: 2016-11-16
Posts: 120

setting career-highs in catches

In his closing argument on Thursday, Prosecutor Gerrie Nel accused Oscar Pistorius of engaging in a "snowball of lies" that ultimately was so absurd that it degenerated into a "farce". We know that Pistorius has admitted to killing Reeva Steenkamp. The issue being determined at trial is whether he intended to kill her, or as Pistorius alleges, did so by accident. Murder vs. Culpable Homicide The two main charges at play are murder and culpable homicide. In order establish murder, the prosecution needs to show that Pistorius intended to kill Steenkamp. If the prosecution fails on murder, they can still get Pistorius on culpable homicide. This charge means that Pistorius negligently killed Steenkamp. And this is what Pistorius is alleging - he killed Steenkamp by accident. He thought she was an intruder. Remember this critical point: Pistorius can still be convicted of murder if it can be shown that he intended to kill - period. It doesnt matter who - just that he intended to kill someone and that the force he used was disproportionately excessive given the circumstances. Prison Time Murder would result in a compulsory sentence of 15 years in prison. For culpable homicide, the sentencing is discretionary (varies from fines to prison time), although its not unusual to see prison time in South Africa of 5-10 years for this type of crime. The prosecution did charge Pistorius with premeditated murder, which means they are alleging he not only intended to kill Steenkamp, but he planned it out beforehand. With that comes a compulsory life sentence. The problem here for the prosecution is that you need a robust planning element to make out this charge and thats not present here. Rather, this looks like a domestic dispute gone tragically wrong. Nel covered a lot of ground on Thursday in his summation. Here are some of the key moments. Pistorius: A Tale of Two Defences Nel accused Pistorius of having "two defences you can never reconcile". In an earlier version, Nel noted that Pistorius said he "fired" at the toilet door in self-defence, which is evidence of intent (or murder). As well, right after he killed Steenkamp, Pistorius told people that he thought she was "an intruder" but never claimed he shot accidentally. However, later on in his testimony, Pistorius shifted his defence, arguing that he fired by accident. So when Pistorius said he "didnt intend to shoot anyone" and the discharge was an "accident", he was trying to show he lacked the requisite intent for a conviction of murder. For this reason, Pistorius testified that he never "aimed" his gun at the door, but rather the gun was merely "pointing" at the door when it went off by accident. While the difference between the words "aimed" and "pointing" may seem insignificant, in the context of this case they are absolutely key. "Aiming" suggests intent while "pointing" is designed to support the accidental shooting defence. So yes – Pistorius chose his words very carefully. Its tough to believe he fired the gun by accident. He went into a dangerous situation with his firearm, disengaged the safety, proceeded down the hallway to the bathroom in a tactical manner and didnt yell out or fire a warning shot so as to avoid alerting the "intruder" to his presence. However, once facing the bathroom door, he suddenly panicked and accidentally fired four shots in quick succession. Effectively, Pistorius is seeking to convince the Court that all his decisions were conscious and intentional up until the point he was facing the bathroom door, at which point he became unhinged and lost himself. Pistorius Screams Like A Woman In his closing, Nel also noted that Pistorius promised to call a witness to prove that he "screams like a woman". The prosecution called a number of witnesses, including Michelle Burger, Charl Johnson, Dr. Johan Stipp and Estelle van der Merwe, who testified that the lights were on and they heard arguing and screaming. Stipp recounted that he heard female screams that sounded like a woman "scared out of her mind." Burger described female screams as "petrifying" and added this: "I was sitting in bed and I heard her screams," Burger testified. "She screamed terribly and she yelled for help. I heard the screams again. It was worse. It was more intense. Just after her screams, I heard four shots. Four gun-shots... You could hear it was blood curdling screams. You cant translate it into words. The anxiousness in her voice, and fear. It leaves you cold. She screamed terribly and she yelled for help". Pistorius repeatedly alleged that he screamed like a girl. However, little in the way of compelling evidence supporting his position was presented and Nel reminded the Court of that. Steenkamp Facing the Bathroom Door In his closing, Nel argued that Steenkamp was "standing facing the accused" behind the locked bathroom door when she was killed. This is also essential to the prosecutions case. Earlier in the trial, Ballistics Expert Captain Christian Mangena testified that Steenkamp was facing the door when she was shot (rather than with her side facing the door). The first shot hit her in the right hip. The shot broke her hip and threw her back onto a magazine holder. She then assumed a defensive position by crossing her arms over her head. The second shot missed but broke into fragments and bruised her back. The third shot hit her in the right arm, which in the opinion of the expert, supports the conclusion she was shielding herself from fire. The fourth shot hit her in the head, killing her almost instantly. For the prosecution, this helps establish that Steenkamp was in the bathroom hiding from Pistorius when she was shot. If she had simply gone to the bathroom, it would have been more likely that she would not have been facing the door as she was. Steenkamp Brought Her Phone To The Bathroom and Locked The Door Nel reminded the Court that at 3am, Steenkamp took her cellphone to the bathroom and locked the door. The implication is clear: it is highly unusual for someone to take their phone to the bathroom in the middle of the night and lock the door unless they feel threatened. As Nel stated on close, "why would she find herself locked up in the toilet if there was no intruder?". Steenkamp Had A Late Meal During his close, Nel also submitted that Steenkamp consumed food about two hours before her death. According to Pistorius, the couple was in bed by 10pm. This statement was designed to counter witness testimony that the couple was up arguing very late. However, pathologist Professor Gert Saayman testified that food found in Steenkamps stomach suggested she ate within two hours of her death shortly after 3am. Nel also focused on other inconsistencies with Pistoriuss story. How did he not know Steenkamp was not in bed when he walked right by her? Wouldnt Steenkamp have yelled in the bathroom after the first shot was discharged? Why not direct her to safety before confronting the mysterious intruder? Overall, there are a number of improbabilities with Pistorius story. While each piece of evidence when considered in isolation may be insufficient to result in a murder conviction, when viewed in their totality, the evidence conspires to tell a story of a domestic dispute turned tragic. With all the complex evidence before the Court, one simple piece continues to stand out: who goes to the bathroom at 3 oclock in the morning with their cellphone and locks the door? Someone who is deathly afraid, I believe. Bruce Matthews Titans Jersey . 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2016-12-19 07:38:08



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