We have now finished day 19 of the Oscar Pistorius trial. In the High Court of South Africa in Pretoria the drama continues to unfold before the world in real time, televised to an audience of millions. Not since the infamous OJ Simpson trial in 1994-95 has the world been so enthralled and encapsulated by a criminal trial.
As a criminal lawyer it is particularly fascinating to see the drama unfold, it is somewhat of an “all care, no responsibility” scenario. But even a layperson could see the devastating effect of the cross-examination of Senior Prosecutor Gerrie Nel in a tense exchange during yesterday’s second day of cross-examination.
In a world full of messages that can be sent in an instant but the content of which will remain for ever, Ms Steenkamp’s and Mr Pistorius’ WhatsApp messages have been used as cannon fodder for the prosecution. One particular example used by Mr Nel yesterday was of a message sent by Steenkamp to Oscar Pistorius just weeks before her death. The message details how she was feeling hurt by Oscar Pistorius’ actions and in particular by a song which he refused or failed to turn off during a car trip. During cross-examination Pistorius initially stated that he remembered the incident but could not remember the name of the artist or the name of the particular song. After fifteen or so excruciating minutes Mr Nel confined Mr Pistorius to that answer with relentless questioning and accusations. Then miraculously a note is passed to Mr Nel who the asks this question; “Wasn’t the song called ‘Bitch don’t kill my vibe’ by Kendrick Lamar?”.
Oscar Pistorius had no choice but to concede that was the song.
The trial continues.
For more on the trial itself including crime scene exploration click here http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-26354615.