There I was my tiny hands wrapped around my coffee cup as I, long with several other people, silently watched the large TV screen in front of us. The audience leaned forward, concentrating hard on the action as tension and anticipation laced the heavy air. Despite myself, despite feeling incredibly uncomfortable about was happening around me, here I was watching with everyone else. This might sound like a scene that is repeated across the country every Saturday afternoon as thousands gather to watch their favourite team play football but it’s nothing as ordinary as that.
It’s been well over a year since Oscar Pistorius took the life of Reeva Steenkamp but yesterday, after a trial that the script writers of Coronation Street couldn’t have dreamed up, the verdict was finally reached. Oscar Pistorius was considered innocent of premeditated murder and while the judge is yet to give a verdict on the remaining charges and on culpable homicide, the case is all but done.
Whatever the verdict given tomorrow there will always be questions over exactly what happened that fatal night and although I have my own opinion, I don’t want to discuss them here. The fact that Pistorius killed his partner of three months is undisputed, but the case raises a number of serious questions about the culture within which we live.
Should criminal trials be broadcast on national or international TV? Until this case came about, I didn’t really have an opinion on the issue but having seen the media circus surrounding this trial, now I definitely do. The movie-style preview that Sky News used to advertise the trial, the fact that there was a certain betting agency taking bets on the verdict and advertising it as a “novelty bet” and the list really could go on.
The way that the media present female victims. The day after the murder the Sun published a suggestive image of Reeva Steenkamp, can you ever imagine them doing the same to a male victim?
Is it ever right to celebrate a court verdict, when a young person has had their life taken from them?
RIP Reeva xxx