Should Oscar Pistorius be found guilty for the death of Reeva Steenkamp? To what extend will his status as a celebrity affect his ruling.
Oscar Pistorius is a double amputee that has been herald for his achievements as a sporting icon. His achievement at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics has made him into the first notable handicapped sporting icon who has been praised for doing what no other disabled person has done before. His athletic prowess has not only won him 7 gold medals as a Paralympic sprinter but also Silver at the 2011 world championships in Taegu. Now, at what is arguably the peak of his career, Pistorius has been charged for the murder of his Girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
The trial has been set for March 3rd of 2014. However currently there is a huge debate as to whether he should be found guilty of manslaughter or not. So far public opinion has not reached consensus on whether he deliberately, with malicious intent shot his girlfriend. However because of his popularity and public appeal he has received a lot of sympathy from fans that support him regardless of the trial’s outcome. As a result the case has attracted attention on a global scale and one can only wonder in such a situation, whether the South African justice system will bend to public influence.
South Africa and its inhabitants have generally assimilated a defensive nature of living. High walls, electric fences and lurid headlines are all features of life that the population has become accustomed to. The crime statistics, however, still remain staggering and annual crime reports still manage produce waves of anxiety amongst the country’s inhabitants, as well as making the rest of the world fearful.
In recent years crime has risen to astonishing heights. A survey from the period 1998 to the turn of the century, compiled by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime ranked South Africa second for assault and murder per capita and first for rapes per capita in a data set of 60 countries. Total crime per capita was 10th out of the 60 countries in the dataset. (Nation Master, The Eighth United Nations Survey on Crime Trends and the Operations of Criminal Justice Systems, 01/04/03, Web, 04/11/13)
With these somewhat astounding statistics in crime, it was still shocking news to find out that famed super model Reeva Steenkamp had been murdered, shot down, in her own home.