During the trial poor Oscar has been sick during the testimony of the pathologist, Gert Saayman, as he relayed how Reeva Steenkamp was shot three times through the bathroom door. He had to sit with a bucket beneath him as he retched for over an hour. Don’t worry Oscar there’s a lot worse that will make you sick in prison. And he will go to prison either for murder or a lower offence because he did kill her.
I know it’s “innocent until proven guilty” but I’ve yet to speak to anyone that doesn’t believe he killed her deliberately – obviously you want the trial to be fair and open, that’s the reason that South Africa are choosing to televise it, but it’s grim to say the least. We really have no need to know all the details about this horrific crime – only those who wish to attend the trial, regardless of his fame. Is it in the public interest to hear about the type of ammunition used or how much of her brain tissue was lying across the room? Of course not. Just because you’ve watched him race a couple of times doesn’t make you an expert in the law or his life – it’s none of our business.
As always in these circumstances it’s he family of the victim that is left to pick themselves back up again and deal with the intrusion of the world watching with a dark interest in the gruesome details of their daughter’s/sister’s violent death. Normally in this kind of situation you wouldn’t have the facts and figures to pour over if you knew them as it would be behind the court’s doors – here with it all in public domain their lives will be even more damaged as everyone will know every tiny piece of information.
Fame aside, this is nothing more than a crime that happens on a daily basis around the world. It shouldn’t be, but we can’t deny the facts. The issue with it being televised is instead of it bringing the story to life, it fictionalises it instead; makes it an unfolding drama like a soap opera with two possible outcomes. There have been spoilers in the papers, people are gossiping and we’ll all wait for the verdict when it comes and either cheer or cry at the result. But it’s not a soap, and it’s not something we should feel a need o react to. Last time I saw a real court give it’s verdict on TV was OJ Simpson’s trial and we all know what happened with that outcome.
The eyes of the world will be on the judge and jury and the added pressure could easily sway those who are more vulnerable or starstruck or confused or scared by the limelight. Is this really the best way for us to decide the fate of a man who killed his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day last year?