Monday, July 7, 2014

A sobering thought about the Oscar Pistorius trial

I woke up this morning to read about yet another twist in the Oscar Pistorius fiasco. While reading this article on how a video clip has surfaced which shows a nimble-legged Oscar running with relative ease on his leg stumps contrary to his defence’s argument, I pondered on a sobering thought. As millions of us wake up daily, to devour with  obsessive greed and curiosity, the latest titbits of news and information from television and twitter feeds, the people directly affected or involved in the Oscar Pistorius trial, wish that they could wake up to a day free of the court room stress and drama.

Reeva Steenkamp’s parents and other family members have to wake up every day to face the man responsible for snuffing out their loved one’s life. It must be an excruciatingly painful ordeal that we, the peanut gallery will never fully understand. Oscar himself is a jittery bundle of nerves as we have observed during his cross examination and the thought of going to prison for the rest of his life must keep him and his family awake at night. Imagine wishing that you could turn back the hands of time but being jolted into the stark reality that you just cannot. 

Judge Thokozile Masipa and her assessors are not spared from the agony either. They need to ensure that they examine the proceedings with a fine tooth comb in order not to miss out on critical evidence or proceedings that might lead them to make an erroneous judgement. The pressure must surely be on; the world is watching after all. Speaking about pressure, both the defending and prosecuting advocates and their legal teams are in the thick of it. To the public, the battle of legal wits might seem to be a fun and entertaining South African version of LA Law, but believe you me, Advocates Barry Roux and Gerrie Nel both have mammoth tasks ahead of them to successfully secure the acquittal (Roux) or prosecution (Nel), of Oscar Pistorius.  Professional reputation and ability are at stake and I would not be surprised to learn that the lawyers on both sides, have lost some weight and their hair is much thinner and greyer than it was before the trial. The average spectator however feels that they are earning a fortune for their efforts and therefore do not deserve any sympathy. Let us not forget as well, the witnesses who have had to take to the witness stand to be subjected to intense and sometimes traumatic grilling by the lawyers.

Given the above realities, most of us probably do not give a whale’s fin about what all these people are going through.  We shall continue to watch, debate, judge and conclude, right until Judge Masipa hammers her gavel for the very last time. Feeling a twinge of disappointment and maybe resentment that our source of entertainment has gone, we will then seek other incidents of other people’s misfortunes to satisfy our insatiable lust for news and drama. Maybe it will be the Shrien Dewani case or maybe some other case that has not yet come to see the light of day. The ones involved and affected in the Oscar case, will on the other hand get on with their lives, hopefully free from our intrusive and invasive eyes and comforted at least by the fact that it is finally over.

Verse of the day: 
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

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