Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Twisted Logic (24/09/14)


The judge in the Oscar Pistorius trial, Thokozile Masipa, may still send the 'Blade Runner to jail for culpable homicide, but if you ask me she has made the wrong call by not finding Pistorius guilty of murder.

The judge decided first of all that Pistorius was not guilty of premeditated murder which was no big surprise because there is no evidence that he planned, with malice aforethought, to kill his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, with a high powered handgun.

But on the lesser charge of 2nd degree murder, Masipa also concluded the former athlete had no case to answer because relevant test under the law was a subjective one - What did the accused believe at the time? - and she went on to explain her reasoning in more detail:

"Clearly he did not subjectively foresee this as a possibility that he would kill the person behind the door - let alone the deceased - as he thought she was in the bedroom."   

Now I don't see how it's possible for anyone to believe that firing four 'dum dum' bullets at someone on the other side of a wooden door is not highly likely to lead to their death.

Because if the aim of the shooter was to frighten an alleged intruder into 'coming out with their hands up', then why not issue a warning and fire a warning shot into the ceiling since the discharge of a weapon is supposed to be a last resort - in the face of a real and present threat.

By judge Masipa's twisted logic the Russian separatists who shot down Flight MH17 could also get away with murder by arguing they had no idea that the deadly missile they fired could actually bring down a plane, let alone a civilian airliner with the loss of 298 innocent lives. 



Some Mistake (31 July 2014)


What's the connection between Oscar Pistorius and the 298 people killed by the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17?

Well, it seems pretty clear that the pro-Russian separatists who shot the passenger plane out of the sky were not actually intending to kill 298 perfectly innocent civilians.

No, they thought they were killing fellow Ukrainians and that this act was justified because they regard  themselves in a 'state of war' over their future or otherwise within Ukraine.

But if these people were ver brought before a court of law, would their defence stand up to legal scrutiny?

I think not, because it is essentially the exact same defence as Oscar Pistorius - I/we 'made a mistake'.   

Which is some mistake if you ask me, because people who keep high powered weapons at home or even self-appointed Russian separatists both have a duty of care to other people - they are not at liberty to go around killing people and then blame their stupidity and failure to take sufficient care on a simple 'mistake'.  

Oscar Pistorius realised there was a human being behind the bathroom door into which he shot four 'zombie stopper' bullets and he must have known that by pulling the trigger he was going to kill that person.  

The key question is: "Did Oscar Pistorius have a good reason to discharge his weapon, was he in danger or was his life and safety at risk?"

In my view, the answer to that question is definitely No and therefore Oscar Pistorius is guilty of murder because he intended to kill the person behind the door, so even if he thought that was someone other than his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, it makes no difference.

Because he should not have discharged his weapon in the first place, just as the pro-Russian separatists should not have shot a passenger plane out of the sky - so their respective defence of making a terrible 'mistake' should not stand up in a court of law.