By Mokun Njouny Nelson
The Telegraph Newspaper in the UK last Friday May 31st 2013 carried leaked photographs showing the bloodied murder scene inside blade runner Oscar Pistorius’s Pretoria residence. Blood can be seen in the bathroom, on walls, on the stairs and a sofa in his sitting room. This macabre trail of blood is presumably that of Oscar’s murder model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. CNN quickly picked the story of the bloody photographs while his case is now being flashed across TV, Radio and newspapers around the world.
For starters, The Telegraph published those gory pictures that only court officials should have had access to simple because they can buy them and because Oscar is South African. If he committed the allege crime in the UK, The Telegraph will face charges of contempt of court immediately. So why did they publish them knowing this will be regarded as prejudicial to the case?
The photographs appear to be from police files so who sold those pictures to The Telegraph? Is the South Africa police investigating the leak?
Hilton Botha, the disgraced lead detective in the case who was forced to step down because of incompetence and revelations that he was himself under investigations reportedly told another newspaper Oscar could walk free if his defence uses the blunder of the leaked photos to their advantage. He also revealed two key witnesses have refused to testify during the trial because of the “high profile” of the accused. Botha now runs his own private security company.
Tommorow Tuesday June 4th , Oscar will be appearing in court again for a pre-trial hearing. It is now difficult to see how the double amputee South African Olympic gold medal winner can get a fair trial. International and national media interest in the case is huge just like was the case in the OJ Simpson murder trial in the US that took place between November 2nd 1994 to the verdict on october 3rd 1995.
A set of bloody gloves that did not fit eventually led to the acquittal of the former black football star. “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit, Johnnie Cochran one of Oj’s defense lawyers kept repeating. Oj Simpson was later acquitted from the double murder of his his ex wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. The bloody photographs in Oscar’s case could, in a bizarre way, like the bloody gloves, free oscar too.
Oscar’s family released a statement saying they were “shaken” by the publication of the bloody pictures and their publication will not advance the case; a polite way of saying The Telegraph was meddling unnecessarily in the case and it’s possible outcome. Reeva’s family must be reeling following the publication of the photographs.
Strange Viewers and Readers
The media might be right in thinking that we want to get as much information as we possibly can about the case because it has all the elements of a sensational story; sex, stardom, money and crime. However, printing the pictures was a huge editorial gaffe by The Telegraph.
Courts usually ban media organizations in the UK from writing anything prejudicial to a trial for the simple reason that nobody can get a fair trial under such media scrutiny. Media organizations are sometimes forced to pay huge fines when they break the rules. However, these media organizations are never held back when they think they can publish and get away with it.
The South African prosecutors will not be wrong if they decide to sue The telegraph and any other organization that published those bloody photographs if the case collapses because of their publication. If they don’t do that now, they will lose the plot and Oscar cannot be guaranteed a free trial. A simple court injunction to that effect will be all is needed to warn the media at home and abroad to be more careful about what they report before and during the trial.
Oscar the recluse
Oscar himself appears to be a tormented soul. His twitter account was last updated on February 13th, a day before the alledged murder. He is said to have grown a beard to avoid being recognized the few times he manages to step outside. His family says he is a reclus and has refused to train or take part in any races though this might be due to the fact that invitations to races suddenly dried up following the murder.
Mike Kendrick, a UK based businessman who heads Mineseeker Charity is a close friend Of Oscar and has worked with the 26 year old athlete for more than ten yaers. He told ITV news Oscar is “terribly humble and kind”. He added he has received death threats and nasty emails from people for standing by Oscar. Oscar is still an ambassador for his charity though almost every other brand has dropped all association with the murder suspect.
His must be a very lonely world now.
Mike is now one of only a handful of people who still believe in the innocence of the Olympic medal winner and thinks the events on the night of February 14th 2013 were a tragic accident.
A friend indeed…