Lying in the Sun

Curlewis Legal Expert

Curlewis Legal Expert

The proceedings in the Pistorius trial left me laughing so hard.   The paid for expert witness for the Defence, psychiatrist Dr Vorster was to make the case that Pistorius was a poor fellow, filled with anxiety since the day his legs were amputated as a baby, that his father not being around, added to this as did his fear of violence his worry for his brother and sister, his own safety and security living in a violent S.Africa.  Even his beloved mother, who we heard from Pistorius he adored, was not left without blame for his anxiety.  We know his mother through the statements given by Pistorius  feared violence also, but today the poor dead mum was turned into if not an alcoholic, a heavy drinker who was unable to comfort her children and only managed to cause them to become anxious children who became anxious adults.    

It was in essence the Defence playing the sympathy card in the hope that it would at sentencing be taken into account.  The good Dr Vorster as much as said so when questioned by Gerrie Nel.

Unfortunately it all back fired on them with Nel questioning WHY this has come now, asking if this was to be the now THIRD defence plea by the Defence?

It played right into the hands of Gerrie Nel who successfully argued that he was left with no choice after the evidence given by the psychiatrist but to make application for Oscar Pistorius to be referred for observation and assessment for a period of around 30 days at a mental hospital.

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

I thought Barry Roux was going to blow a fuse - and Pistorius must have been pissing his pants, what an unexpected holiday for him, if the Judge so rules on the application being made by Gerrie Nel.

Llewellyn Curlewis the SA legal expert had this to say 

Llewellyn Curlewis

What an interesting turn of events we have here.  What now suddenly came into operation here is what we call Section 78 of our Criminal Procedure Act suggesting that if a person has a mental defect or a mental illness to such an extent that it can be argued that there was no applicable criminal responsibility or capacity, then obviously you  can never ever be convicted of such a crime.

The question before Court is why now? Why this late stage of the proceedings? This has been raised by the Defence themselves.  They called the expert witness, they put it up there in front of Court, and actually they have now forced the hand of Gerrie Nel to comply with our Criminal Procedure Act.

The thing is that’s the second question the Court must ultimately answer, Dr Vorster suggested there was an anxiety order.  Now the Criminal Procedure Act talks about a mental illness or mental defect - What precisely is meant by this anxiety disorder?   If successful this application, Oscar Pistorius will end up in a mental hospital for observation for up to 30 days after which a panel of experts must then compile a report, come back to Court and tell the Court whether he lacked the necessary criminal capacity when he committed the crime.

Sky- Jeremy Thomson:

It’s down to the Judge I guess to decide what she believes in this, and presumably she's thinking  - 'I wonder why this hasn’t cropped up in the previous two months of this trial?'


Well I’m very sure, and obviously the question she must ask- Why have the Defence decided  to call this expert to come, and say what?

Was it for purposes of creating mitigating factors when that is premature? Obviously then they should have waited until sentencing phase came into operation.

Why now?

Is it to raise a new defence?  Because if that’s the case it should have been raised  from the outset and this might be grasping for straws so to speak by the Defence part of it.


I think we can safely say the Defence were not trying to raise a new Defence due to Pistorius having any mental health disorder.  No siree it was not where they were coming from.

Roux said if Nel makes the application for Pistorius to be referred for assessment, he will appeal it.

The Defence had paid the witness to compile a report indicating that Pistorius was an anxious fellow, to gain some sympathy (sentencing) - and it all went horribly wrong!
12th May 2014

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