What Is Oscar Pistorius Doing Now, With Judge Thokozile Masipa's Verdict Looming?
It's been a long road, and we're nearly at the end. The murder trial of Oscar Pistorius is adjourned, with the whole world waiting to hear the verdict of Judge Thokozile Masipa. She's scheduled to offer her judgment on Sept. 11. After months upon months of testimony and delays, including a monthlong psych evaluation Pistorius underwent in June, Pistorius will soon know whether he'll be a free man or not. So, it's fair to wonder: Between trial and verdict, what is Oscar Pistorius doing now?
Pistorius was involved in a nightclub altercation in July, just after his defense closed its case. He reportedly got into an argument with another patron about the trial. Compounding his concerns, just weeks later his older brother Carl Pistorius was in a life-threatening head-on freeway collision. Carl has since been released from the ICU, after a "miraculous recovery," according to the Pistorius family's spokesman.
Still, however public a figure Pistorius is, and however grisly and high-profile the charges, Pistorius still has a private life. And with just a few days until his fate will be revealed, what Pistorius is literally doing to pass the time and keep his nerves in check is anybody's guess. I'd be inclined to assume he's not cutting up the dance halls of South Africa (again) every night, since that wouldn't be a terribly good look at the moment, but for the next week at least, his life is his own.
It's All Down to Judge Masipa
Unlike the relative comfort of an American-style jury trial, in which just one dissenting voice out of twelve can keep a defendant from being conviction, the South African legal system doesn't afford Pistorius that sense of security. Thanks to a law passed in 1969, partially due to the complex racial biases of South Africa and the subsequent risk of tainted juries, trials are strictly decided by judges.
In this case, it'll be Judge Masipa, who's had a good long time to mull things over — in addition to her present, nearly monthlong deliberation, the trial has gone way over projected timelines regardless, spanning over five months. Throughout that time the defense has suffered withering and pointed attacks from lead prosecutor Gerrie Nel, who in closing statements openly accused Pistorius of lying on the witness stand.
Also, a 30-day psych evaluation ordered by the court found that Pistorius didn't suffer from mental incapacity at the time of the shooting — undercutting his defense team's claims of a generalized anxiety disorder.
Conversely, his defense attorney Barry Roux has challenged the police's handling of the scene of the shooting, and in trying to make his case to Masipa that Pistorius wasn't guilty, insisted he suffered from generalized anxiety disorder.
There's a range of outcomes possible, as well, beyond just the charge of premeditated murder he faces. There's also the distinct possibility he could escape that 25-to-life sentence, but still land a shorter one on a lesser charge of culpable homicide.
Basically, even if you don't think Pistorius is guilty of murder, it doesn't seem like any kind of slam dunk that he's going to get off scot-free.
Images: Getty Images (2)