The secret to commiting the perfect murder, killing someone and getting away with it, is to become a celebrity first. The media wave yesterday and today is that Pistorius is suddenly vindicated by the inarticulate policeman who could not cope with a very glib defence lawyer. It is like watching “Chicago” for real.
Botha was bamboozled by the defence counsel into saying that the police had no evidence that contradicted Pistorius’ version of events. But he had plainly given just such evidence – for example the height and downward angle of the shots indicating Pistorius was wearing his artificial legs. Pistorius had to walk right past the bed where he claims to have believed Steenkamp was to get to the place where he fired the shots, if he told the truth about where he was coming from. He did not bother to check on Steenkamp. He took the revolver from a holster by Steenkamp’s side of the bed. All of that contradicted Pistorius’ account of events. That a policeman was not verbally dexterous enough to put it together under pressure does not alter the facts.
Actually the prosecution had already made the most vital point right at the start of the trial. Even if the person locked in the toilet (and it appears it was a small discreet toilet, not a bathroom) had been a burglar, it would still be murder to pump four bullets in to them. Not to mention the fact that he made, by his own account, no attempt to ascertain who was in the toilet or where Steenkamp was.
Violence against women in South Africa, and gun murder, are both at epidemic levels. Anywhere else it would be astonishing that both the lead policemen and Pistorius himself had been involved in other incidents of shooting at people in the last two years.
I have always held that prison as a punishment should only be given to those who are an active danger to others. Even if you accept every word of Pistorius’ account, he should be in prison for it. I have a sinking feeling he will not be.