Oscar Pistorius: Media, Internet Influencing Trial?By: Toni Matthews-El - March 12, 2014
The case against Oscar Pistorius is thought to be the most covered trial in recent history. It has been compared many times to the spectacle of the OJ Simpson trial of the 1990s. Given the emerging role of the internet in communicating global events, it may perhaps be even more covered and talked about.
This could be causing a major problem for the Pistorius defense, which is now claiming that the heavy presence of the media and internet-shared facts about the trial is in fact interfering with the case.
Defense attorney Barry Roux has repeatedly tried to discredit witness testimony over this fact. Roux has suggested that instead of using their own knowledge on the stand, witnesses were “linking” testimony based on what was shared via the media.
Roux was especially critical of the testimony of Pistorius’ friend Darren Fresco.
During the third day of trial testimony, boxer Kevin Lerena had testified that Pistorius fired a gun belonging to a friend under the table at a restaurant a month before killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Lerena explained the nature of the event in detail, stating that Fresco passed a gun to Pistorius, letting the athlete know the gun was loaded. Then, according to Lerena’s original testimony, Pistorius fired the gun. The bullet is alleged to have hit the floor near boxer’s foot, causing mild bleeding and a non-painful injury. Pistorius subsequently asked Fresco to take the blame for his having fired in a public place.
Fresco himself testified roughly a week later, and his testimony strongly echoed that of Lerena. It also had details similar to the testimony of ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor, according to events he himself was present for or apparently aware of.
Roux attacked Fresco’s testimony, saying that he did not remember the events himself as they occurred. The Pistorius defense lawyer suggested that instead, Fresco was constructing his testimony to match statements that were now public knowledge thanks to media coverage and social media sites like Twitter.
Fresco did admit that he’d heard aspects of the trial via the media.
Said Fresco of the trial’s massive exposure, “It doesn’t matter what you do, where you go, it’s all over the news, it’s all over the radio.”
Does Pistorius’s defense attorney have a point: Is the heavy media coverage making a fair trial impossible? Comment below!
Image via YouTube