The most recent Oscar Pistorius news that had trial watchers and abuse survivors internationally in fury was the news that, after being convicted of murder, Oscar Pistorius was being let out on bail. And a seemingly paltry sum at that, for a world renowned Paralympic athlete that was so beloved, once, the disabled Olympic medalist earned the nickname Bladerunner as a result. The Guardian reported this in Dec. 2015, that on Dec.8, Oscar Pistorius made bail before an April 2016 sentencing date for his new murder conviction. News 24 reports in an update Jan. 25 that Oscar Pistorius has filed an appeal for his new murder conviction, in the hopes of avoiding the April 2016 Oscar Pistorius sentencing date. News 24 reports Jan. 25 that the State has filed an affidavit to the Oscar Pistorius appeal in response, citing it as “contrived…without merit…and..lacking credibility.”
In other words, the State is saying again that, much like the accused’s original testimony, the applicant’s appeal is nothing but excuses and has zero credibility. The State in the case against Oscar Pistorius, still thinks he’s a liar. News 24 reported today that the State against Oscar Pistorius has filed an affidavit opposing the great Oscar Pistorius appeal.
According to those documents, excerpts of which can be seen in the slideshow, the State has a lot of reasons to oppose any Oscar Pistorius appeal. They also think his appeal lacks merit and is “contrived.” Many trial watchers following the Oscar Pistorius trial have been using the word “contrived” for some time, since the trial started years ago.
Who could forget the wailing man tears and the iconic green barf bucket, also known as the Pistorius Puke Pail that launched memes world wide, and still do, since the Oscar Pistorius trial. Contrived indeed! That a man, who is seen as an abuser by the family of his murder victim, Reeva Steenkamp, is out on bail since those days is an outrage to many, and a contrived show of justice for a murder victim.
But he is. It was just last Fall when the State against Oscar Pistorius appealed his culpable homicide conviction for the shooting death of Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013. And they won, and the great Bladerunner Oscar Pistorius was branded a murderer.
It is a conviction that carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in South Africa. Days later, a bail hearing and sentencing hearing was set. Many trial watchers thought Oscar Pistorius would go to jail right away. He was after all just convicted of murder.
But he didn’t. As the Guardian reported on Dec. 8 2015, Oscar was out on bail in moments, and ordered to continue house arrest. At a bail hearing in the North Guateng High Court Dec. 8, the Oscar Pistorius asked for bail and the State did not oppose.
Oscar Pistorius then pled poor. At his initial bail hearing when the Oscar Pistorius trial first began, he tried to but was unsuccessful. His initial bail was set at 1 million South African rand, which using today’s exchange rate by XE is just over 60 thousand USD.
Apparently being branded a murderer takes a toll on finances. At his bail hearing, Oscar Pistorius metaphorically pulled out his empty pockets and referred the State to an affidavit where he made his poverty paperwork official. The Guardian reports that prosecutor for the State, Gerrie Nel said, not only does the State not oppose bail, but,
“We also agreed to an amount of South African Rand 10,000 because in his affidavit he’s discussed he doesn’t have the means to pay a higher amount.”
So Oscar’s December 2015 bail amount was set at South African Rand (ZAR) 10,000, which according to XE’s rates today are about $605 USD. Oh how the mighty fall. The sum appeared paltry to the international audience following this trial, and it should.
But the sum of Oscar’s most recent bail is not a reflection of how the State perceives the profile of his crime. As we have learned in their 256 page affidavit response to the Oscar Pistorius appeal, the State has a lot of issues with Oscar’s crimes. The bail is not a reflection of that, but rather a reflection of how far his profile has indeed fallen since this trial began, and the financial effect it has had on him since it began.
Oscar Pistorius sentencing is set to begin April 18 of this year. Until then, his bail conditions are that he is on house arrest while staying with his Uncle until this is all decided. He wears electronic monitoring and is not permitted to be 20 km beyond his Uncle’s address.
While Gerrie Nel, prosecutor for the State did not mind the low bail, he did mind these seemingly loosey goosey bail conditions. The entire Oscar Pistorius sentencing and bail hearing can be viewed here. Here you can see Gerrie Nel arguing for stricter bail conditions,
“We have a convicted murderer applying for bail. The conditions therefore should be stricter.”
It was also at this bail hearing where we learned by defense counsel Barry Roux that he intends to appeal Oscar’s murder conviction with the Constitutional court of South Africa. He has already done so. Today we are hearing of an affidavit filed by the State that is 256 pages long that chronicles what they think of this Oscar Pistorius appeal.
In their own words, it is “contrived”, and “without merit”, with a lot of the use of the word “credibility” and evidentiary implications that Oscar lacks thereof. News 24 reported today that Oscar also does not stand a snowball’s chance in South Africa, or a “reasonable prospect of success” with his new appeal. This appeal hearing will occur before the current April 18 Oscar Pistorius sentencing date.
Andrea Johnson, a member of the prosecuting team for the State, is named on the affidavit as filing this collection of statements. Over 256 pages the State’s position is quite clear. The State begins by saying they don’t think the Oscar Pistorius appeal stands a chance.
“The matter is referred back to the trial court to consider an appropriate sentence afresh in the light of comments in the judgement…the Applicant [Oscar Pistorius] has filed an application for leave to appeal the whole of the judgement and order of the SCA. This application is opposed on the main ground that there exists no reasonable prospect of success on Appeal. It is our respectful submission that the SCA committed no errors of law and that the arguments by the Applicant are without merit and contrived.”
A lot of the State’s appeal when appealing the initial culpable homicide conviction rested on the legal principle of dolus eventualis. Did Oscar Pistorius know who he was shooting when he gunned a woman down in his bathroom in the wee hours of the morning Valentine’s Day 2013?
Oscar says, I thought it was a burglar I was killing, the State says, “No you didn’t. And even if you did, it doesn’t matter because you killed someone.” That’s the premise behind dolus eventualis. This was one of the first things the State got off their chest in this affidavit.
“The SCA correctly identified the “fundamental error’ made by the trial Court that because the applicant believed that the deceased was in the bedroom he could not have had dolus eventualis as to her death and thus could not be convicted of murder. This is dealt with at para 30. It is remarkable to note, and indeed remains inexplicable, that the Applicant nevertheless continues to endorse and persists with the line of, with respect, flawed reasoning. At para 31, the SCA discussed dolus indeterminatus and at para 32 correctly applied the legal principles of dolus eventualis, finding that, the accused’s incorrect appreciation as to who was in the cubicle of not determinative of whether he had the requisite criminal intent.”
All that basically says by the State is, “We are boggled that he keeps lying about it. Because it really and truly doesn’t matter who he thought he was killing when he killed someone. He killed someone. And needs to be sentenced.”
The State goes on to say, he testified to all of these things himself. He admits to killing someone, and meaning to kill someone.
“The Applicant relies on the purported SCA’s error in law of rejecting this defense of putative private defense, but has totally ignored the insurmountable hurdle that he on his own version, had not intended to shoot the person whom he felt was the intruder which immediately placed him beyond the ambit of the defense.The SCA continued to emphasize with reference to S v DeOliveira that the defence of putative private defense implies rational but mistaken thought.”
What the State is saying here is that, “He just doesn’t get it.” The State is alleging that Oscar is pretending not to know who he was shooting does not make him innocent of murder. The State continued their “Oscar Pistorius just doesn’t get it” argument in their affidavit,
“The crux of our opposition to the first argument by the Applicant lies in his failure to comprehend the two-tiered approach by the SCA….the Applicant fails to show that the SCA in reaching the conclusion on the questions of law [acted] erroneously or substituted any of the primary factual findings of the trial Court.”
Then, the State made it very clear that credibility on the Applicant’s part, the person that applied for an appeal, is bad on a good day. They were almost apologetic about it. “Sorry that we have to keep repeating ourselves, but don’t forget he’s a big liar.” This was all in the affidavit.
“At the risk of being unduly repetitive, it is worth mentioning that the Applicant has himself to blame for the Court…and the SCA’s negative comments about his credibility. The end result is that there exists no credible explanation by the Applicant for the killing of the deceased, which is compounded by the SCA’s correct approach in considering the evidence which the trial Court erroneously ignored.”
This goes on for 256 pages. The State won big points by successfully overturning Oscar’s culpable homicide conviction. They are certainly going into the appeal of that conviction with the upper hand.
And clearly they don’t mind saying so. This affidavit in response to his appeal documents goes on and on about how much they think it doesn’t stand a chance.
Next steps? The hearing for the Oscar Pistorius appeal matter. This will happen before Oscar Pistorius sentencing date April 18.