Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Barry Roux prepares Oscar for 'sympathy vote'

It's easy to imagine that when Oscar Pistorius testified on Monday, the 7th of April, following an expert witness, that this was 'spontaneous'.

 Of course the defense has been preparing Oscar Pistorius for over a year, and had a full week gifted to them prior to Monday thanks to illness of one of the assessors.

 Except the illness of the assessor now makes Oscar's testimony, in retrospect, somewhat less authentic.

 Here's why. First of all, the opening 3 acts of Oscar's testimony (all conducted in the first half hour)are as follows.

 1. A tearful apology, while at the same time making no concessions, and at the same time giving reasons why no apology was given sooner (I couldn't put it down in words, words would never be enough etc).
 2. A weepy admission by Oscar that he is on antidepressants, suffering from insomnia, weightloss and 'scared at night'.
 3. A trembling anecdote about him waking up terrified and hiding, and because he will never touch guns again, was so scared, he called his sister to babysit him. All these formed part of Roux's opening gambit, and all three were clearly calculated to solicit sympathy.

 None provide facts crucial to the case, or concessions of any importance, except for the first, where the timing of Oscar's apology could be argued as strategic, opportunistic and performance contrived for his first and biggest public declaration since killing Steenkamp in February 2013. The contrivance is even more credible given the timid 'baby voice' of Oscar Pistorius, apparently close to tears, even after the lunch break, close to an hour later, when testifying about his successes, and travelling abroad. Does this 'little boy' voice sound much like Oscar Pistorius does during his many recorded interviews?

 There was a further card played by the defense basically portraying Oscar as a 'good guy', a Christian from a Christian family who was only following his late mother's example in terms of his fondness for guns (she kept one under her pillow).

 More sympathy was solicited based on the focus of the circumstances of her death, and the pain and discomfort surrounding abrasions caused by having to wear his artificial legs (especially during long flights). The boating accident is painted in meticulous details, sights and smells, but Pistorius is vague about what object was hit in the water, and who was at fault, if anyone, and what was the actual cause of the accident.

 The point of this scenario is to say that it caused a 'turning point' in his life, which led to Oscar becoming very careful, and taking pains to look after himself and presumably, live more responsibly. (This added caution apparently did not encompass a love for deadly weapons, habitually driving well over the speed limit or any admission of anger problems). 

It will be interesting to see how Oscar Pistorius stands up to cross-examination from Nel. If it is a performance, perhaps his best strategy is to cry and have breakdowns throughout. If that is the case, the cross-examination is likely to last for the rest of the week, and even longer. But expect plenty of opportunities to 'feel sorry' for Oscar. This has been his defense from the beginning.

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