People often ask the question: “How could anyone defend someone who did something like that?” in reference to a popular case in the news. Oftentimes the answer is easy, because there will be so much reasonable doubt in a case that it seems more likely that someone else is more likely the guilty party.
Other times, there is no one else to point the finger at, as is the case with the Pistorius case, something that makes the question a little bit harder to answer.
For those who are not familiar with the case of Oscar Pistorius, the Paralympic star athlete, who was accused of murdering his then-girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, a South African model, the facts are rather simple. They begin with Oscar stating that he believed a burglar was in his bathroom, and end with Oscar stating that he fired his gun out of fear, an action that resulted in the death of Reeva.
While we find that a murder case is rarely simple, cases like these make it hard for us not to use the word because procedurally, there is not much to be done. The question, is whether or not it was reasonable for Oscar to be frightened, and whether or not discharging a firearm was a reasonable response to that fear.
It has already been some time since the closing arguments in this case were given, and that is something that speaks more to the case than it does to the law, considering we don’t have a verdict. On one hand, it may be easy for someone to say, “it doesn’t matter if it was a burglar OR his girlfriend, he fired a gun at an unknown person in a closed room” but it is just as easy to say, “this person was fearing for their life, nobody knows what they would do until they experience it themselves”.
The problem, is that if Oscar Pistorius murdered Reeva Steenkamp, and goes free, a murderer is put back on the streets, perhaps to murder again, BUT if Oscar Pistorius mistakenly killed Reeva Steenkamp, an innocent man will spend the rest of his life in prison. So what is the greater injustice?
That’s the question, isn’t it?