Oscar Pistorius Testimony Deemed A Fatal ErrorBy: Toni Matthews-El - April 16, 2014
Even though millions were anticipating the testimony of Oscar Pistorius, the 27-year-old was in truth not obligated to take the stand.
He could have simply sat and allowed his defense team to do their best to clear him of the charge premeditated murder.
For all the comparisons made to the O.J. Simpson trial of the 1990s, it is here where the two media spectacles differ sharply.
One athlete listened to the advice of his attorneys and avoided the stand like the plague. The other athlete decided it was the best way to demonstrate his sincerity.
Many observers feel the decision by Simpson to not testify was a major contributing factor as to why he was eventually acquitted.
After Pistorius’s tear-soaked display on the stand, some are already deeming it the nail in his defensive coffin.
Pistorius’s every move was already the subject of numerous articles prior to his testimony.
The athlete caused a stir every time he acted out. He often covered his ears and bowed his head. At one point the trial was briefly halted because Pistorius was violently ill.
With such outbursts already the standard, it was not too surprising to see the athlete break down in sobs throughout his testimony.
It could be seen as the extreme opposite of what occurs when killers sit in court accused of a vicious crime and show no emotion and no remorse. Perhaps therein lies the problem.
Though Pistorius has never been accused of domestic violence, his excessive emotional display has alarmed some domestic violence experts. According to researchers, an exaggerated display of emotion following a violent event in an effort to garner sympathy and forgiveness is typical of controlling abusers.
“If they were robots, nobody would date them or be with them,” said Cindy Southworth. Southworth, Vice President at the National Network to End Domestic Violence, spoke about the startling similarities between Pistorius’s emotional outbursts and the behaviors of domestic abusers.
She said that though these persons can demonstrate a range of human emotions, “research shows they’re always in control.”
The possibility that the athlete is merely engaging in calculated emotional manipulation is not lost on the prosecution.
Pistorius’s behavior throughout this trial has led Chief Prosecutor Gerrie Nel to suggest that his outbursts were in fact staged.
Nel also implied that the tears were meant to cover up the numerous inconsistencies in Pistorius’s testimony.
When Pistorius finally left the stand it was clear to some South African lawyers that he’d perhaps done more harm than good.
Martin Hood, a Johannesburg-based criminal lawyer, said that the former Olympian’s testimony “went downhill the moment he took the stand”.
Hood pointed out that Pistorius emphasized that he went into a highly dangerous situation in a tactical manner. According to Hood this meant that “all of [Pistorius’s] decisions were conscious, intentional decisions.”
The lawyer also said it didn’t reflect well on the athlete that he refused to accept responsibility for firing a loaded weapon in public.
It’s possible that the very words spoken by Pistorius in court could end up being his undoing when the trial ends.
Image via YouTube