Imminently, the judge will deliver a verdict in the trial of Oscar Pistorius, the Paraolympian who shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, dead at his home in Pretoria, South Africa, on Valentine’s Day in 2012.
Oscar Pistorius came into global limelight as a double leg amputee “Bladerunner” using carbon-fiber prosthetics. Pistorius set records – in 2011the first double leg amputee to win an able-bodied world track medal; in 2012 the first double leg amputee to participate in the Olympics; first double leg amputee to win gold medals; world record in 200 metres race and silver in the final. He became rich and famous. He was entitled to and desired by models such as Steenkamp who said severally that she felt lucky to have Pistorius as “my boo”.
The year 2012 that marked Pistorius rise to glory was the year of his infamous descent. He was just 26 years old.
The many questions of what happened and how were answered in the court during a live broadcast trial which lasted almost one year from Pistorius first court appearance on August 19 2012. At the end, South Africa remained divided as it was at the beginning of the trial.
For one group, Pistorius is a violent, angry, troubled,dangerous, armed, man with a difficult past who is unable to cope with fame and is disrespectful of women. To the other group, he is an unfortunate victim of nature, disadvantaged, sensitive, scared person who is forced by South Africa’s crime-ridden society to seek heightened security for personal protection.
If you accept the view of the first group, Judge Masipa’s verdict is clear – the prosecutor’s charge of premeditated murder stands and Pistorius deserves a life sentence which is 25 years imprisonment. Mitigation may come through pleading of extraordinary circumstance such as first offender, disability of Pistorius, value to society.