Oscar trial: From gore to bore

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Sipho Hlongwane Pretoria – Well, public interest in the Oscar Pistorius trial has sunk to a new low. A poll ran on this website found that up to 60% of people have “had enough”. The wheels of justice grind along at a truly slow pace. This has been the case even in this high-profile case. The number of journalists attending is dwindling too. This is the nature of the criminal justice system. On Tuesday, Warrant Officer Barend van Staden gave his testimony. He was the police officer who took photos of Oscar Pistorius’s house on the day that Reeva Steenkamp died, and again over the course of a few weeks as the investigation rolled on. He took 15 albums of photos detailing every aspect that could be deemed important by the investigators. The importance of his work will become apparent later on in the trial as different classes and types of expert witnesses are called. But for now, we sat through hours of descriptions of picture contents. Some showed bullet casings, and blood spatters and items of clothing and the debris of the broken door. We have an idea of some of the expert witnesses to be called. There were drops of blood found in strange areas, like behind and on the bed, and also weird damage to the bedroom door. Blood spatter and ballistics experts may spend their own marathon sessions on the stand. Unsolved puzzle But for now, what we are looking at is essentially a gigantic, unsolved puzzle. All the pieces are in those albums. Defence advocate Barry Roux wanted to find all the photos that were taken of Pistorius. One imagines he wants to see all the pieces in order to construct his story. Without the context of the forensics work, it is somewhat tedious. No wonder reporters have found something else to do in the meantime. (I can’t imagine the courtrooms will continue to empty if Pistorius takes the stand.) But for one person, the court exhibits still hold a shocking power. June Steenkamp, Reeva’s mother, was briefly at the court in the morning. But as more and more photos of her the site of her daughter’s end were shown, including a blood-drenched toilet, it got too much. She left. Aimee, Pistorius’s sister, had better luck with negotiating the awkward politics of the two families that sit side-by-side. She managed a brief exchange with the mother. Last week, the athlete’s own overtures to a friend were firmly ignored. Speaking of politics, the ANC Women’s League is still making haphazard appearances at the court. But the histrionics and electioneering outside of the court has thankfully moved on. It helped that the weekend cover stories have gone back to the 7 May elections, and the erosion of accountability and democratic institutions, via the vicious attacks on the public protector. For all its hype, even the Pistorius trial must calm down at some stage.

– News24

 

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