TAKE A BOW M'LADY
Four-time Walkley Award winning political commentator and Churchill Fellow, has returned to the fray over concern that the integrity of news dissemination is continually being threatened by a partisan media.
After having lived in South Africa I left fearing for its future. Affirmative action was ripping the heart from a tough nation of builders, the ANC was corrupted by its newfound power and white rule had started to appear the lesser of two evils. But the transition from Apartheid is finally working and no better indication of that was the performance of Judge Masipa and her handling of the Pistorius case.
M’lady has done the SA judiciary proud and history will treat her well.
I watched every minute of this difficult trial without preconception or prejudice. It was a showcase of horror and M’lady shouldered the responsibility of unpicking the truth from shrewd white advocates and dozens of witnesses.
She sat alone without the help of accompanying judges or a jury. What a mammoth task this unassuming little black lady was set.
The State’s case appeared to have been irreparably damaged by claiming murder 1 and M’Lady gave it the short shrift it deserved.
A murder 1 conviction was extremely remote given the circumstances and culpable homicide (manslaughter) was the only possible finding apart from acquittal.
After having heard all the evidence and studied the body language I had come to the conclusion Oscar Pistorius had not meant to kill his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
I know the majority disagrees, and I understand why, but there was one nagging piece of evidence the defence ignored; why, if he had really meant to kill Reeva, didn’t he shoot toward the toilet? An intruder would not have been sitting on the toilet and the direction of the shots gave weight to Pistorius’s thinking of where an “intruder” might be standing.
Surely it is inconceivable that Pistorius would get up from the bed at 3am on his stumps, shift the fans and draw the curtains prior to intentionally shooting his girlfriend through a toilet door and then screaming for help.
Pistorius said it was a “mistake” because his counsel instructed him to say that rather than an “accident”. An accident would have implied negligence and an admission of negligence would have made culpable homicide a certainty.
That instruction caused the defence apparent damage, but M’lady saw through it... she saw through many things.
Was it really just a horrible set of circumstances that led to the brutal death of a beautiful woman? M’lady thinks so. If she is right then what an awful life Pistorius will now face. An image of horror imprinted on his mind forever, nursing his beautiful partner shot in the thigh, the hand and head, taking her downstairs, pleading with someone to put her back together again.
But it was too late, she had stopped bleeding and part of her brain was on the floor.
Pistorius is not guilty of murder but he will likely be found guilty of culpable homicide. If negligence is found to be a contributing factor in Reeva’s death then he must be found guilty of the lesser charge. It will be difficult to dismiss an element of negligence.
M’lady holds the fate of Oscar Pistorius in her tiny fingers and in her heart it will be difficult to jail him if she truly believes it was a horrible accident, and she does believe that.
Whatever the decision, today there will be no winners. Except for M’lady who managed a most difficult judicial process alone, with a quiet dignity, firm control and a supreme intellect, while the world watched.
This trial will become part of South African folklore and Judge Masipa (Zulu for happy) will stand as a permanent monument to black achievement. Her decision should not be appealed.
Take a bow, M’lady, you are an exceptional woman.