Home' Greymouth Star : September 12th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Friday, September 12, 2014
Pistorius still facing judgment
Dismay as ‘Blade Runner’
cleared of murder
A sobbing Oscar Pistorius has been
acquitted of murdering his girlfriend,
but the South African celebrity athlete
dubbed the “Blade Runner” still faces
judgment on a lesser culpable homicide
The trial, watched by a worldwide
live television audience, was adjourned
until tonight when the 27-year-old
Paralympian will hear the verdict on
what is equivalent to manslaughter.
The not guilty verdict on the most
serious charge left Pistorius — who
says he thought he was shooting at an
intruder when he killed fashion model
Reeva Steenkamp — in tears.
“The State clearly has not proved
beyond reasonable doubt that the accused
is guilty of premeditated murder,” Judge
Thokozile Masipa told the High Court
in Pretoria overnight.
“ Viewed in its totality the evidence
failed to establish the accused had the
requisite intention to kill the deceased
let alone with premeditation,” she said.
The double amputee could still face
anything from a suspended sentence to
a lengthy prison stretch if found guilty
of culpable homicide. Or he could be
Masipa’s introductory comments on
the lesser count appeared to lean towards
a guilty ruling.
“I am of the view that the accused acted
too hastily and used excessive force. In
the circumstances, it is clear that his
conduct was negligent,” she said before
adjourning the trial.
When he heard the judge clear
him of murder, the double-amputee
Paralympian sprinter who won global
fame when he competed against able-
bodied athletes in the London Olympics,
sat bowed in the dock, burying his head
in his hands.
His sister Aimee rushed from the first
row of the public gallery to hug her older
brother, who was wiping tears from his
eyes with a handkerchief.
The victim’s parents, Barry and June
Steenkamp, left the courtroom with
Legal experts voiced shock after
Pistorius was found not guilty of murder,
and predicted the case would not rest
with the verdict.
Both defence and prosecution agree
Pistorius killed Steenkamp, a law
graduate and fashion model, when he
fired four shots through a locked toilet
door in his upmarket Pretoria home.
But the sprinter says he thought he was
aiming at an intruder while Steenkamp
was safely in bed.
The prosecution says he killed her in a
fit of rage after an argument.
Judge Masipa rejected State evidence
that pointed to an argument between
“Neither the evidence of the loving
relationship or a relationship turned
sour can assist this court to determine
whether the accused had the requisite
intention to kill the deceased,” she said.
The judge also reviewed evidence by
neighbours who testified to hearing
shots and screams, saying many “had
their facts wrong”.
“I am of the view they failed to separate
what they knew personally or what they
heard from other people or what they
gathered from the media,” she said.
But Masipa also said Pistorius himself
was “evasive” on the stand. “ The accused
was a very poor witness,” she said.
During the six-month trial Pistorius
has broken down, weeping and at times
vomiting as he heard how the 29-year-
old blonde’s head “exploded” like a
watermelon under the impact of his
There will be more courtroom
arguments before any sentence is handed
down and, most likely, an appeal.
“I’m shocked,” Martin Hood, a
Johannesburg-based criminal lawyer,
said of Masipa’s initial rulings. “I
think she’s going to get quite a lot of
criticism from the judiciary and the
“The consensus among the legal
community was that he is guilty of
Whatever happens, Pistorius’s sporting
career is likely to be over. Once a poster
boy for disabled sport, he has been
stripped of lucrative endorsement deals
by global brands and has withdrawn
from all competition. — AFP
PICTURE: Getty Images
Oscar Pistorius wipes an eye in the High Court at Pretoria, South Africa as Judge Thokozile Masipa
delivers her judgment.
preparedness plans have been
shown to be sound after a case of
Ebola virus on the Gold Coast was
ruled out, the State’s top doctor
A 27-year-old man triggered
contagious disease protocols and
a “widespread” reaction from the
community after complaining
of vaguely Ebola-like symptoms
in the Southport police station
The man, named by News Corp
Australia as Michael Walsh, had
informed authorities he had
returned from the Democratic
Republic of Congo in central
Africa late last month.
He worked in the Democratic
Republic of Congo as a miner,
but government officials yesterday
could not detail his exact travel
The incubation period for Ebola is
between two and 21 days.
An outbreak of the fatal virus in
the west African nations of Liberia,
Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria
has killed more than 2200 people.
Walsh had spent four hours in
custody after being arrested for
trespassing at Surfers Paradise.
He spent most of the day
yesterday in isolation at the Gold
Coast University Hospital before
blood tests returned a negative
result for Ebola virus last night.
Health officials, including the
hospital’s director of infectious
diseases, Dr John Gerrard, sought
to reassure the public before the
He had maintained that the
chance of the patient having
contracted Ebola was extremely
“The patient was managed in a
textbook fashion and I think it ’s a
great credit to our staff as well as
the ambulance officers in the way
that they dealt with this patient,”
the doctor told reporters outside
The Ebola virus was very difficult
to transmit because it was not
Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young
said. — AAP
Gold Coast Ebola fears unfounded
Lake Worth (Florida)
Detectives found 50 dead cats in four
freezers at the home of a man while
ser ving a warrant for child pornography.
Palm Beach County Sheriff ’s officials
say they went to the home of 55-year-
old Douglas Westcott on Wednesday to
arrest him on three counts of child porn.
Once inside, they found more than 30
cats running around inside and dozens
of dead cats in freezers.
The Palm Beach Post reported the
litter boxes were overflowing with
faeces and urine. Most of the live cats
were relatively healthy, but many had
respiratory and skin problems.
Authorities say Westcott refused to
give up custody of the cats.
Animal care and control officials
removed the cats from the home. A
judge has 30 days to determine whether
Westcott can keep the cats. — AP
50 dead cats found in freezers
in child porn search
There are few villages in Scotland more
steeped in history than Scone. Capital of
the old Scottish Kingdom of Alba, it was
where many ancient monarchs including
Macbeth and Robert the Bruce were
It also gave its name to the Stone of Scone,
or “Stone of Destiny ”, an unprepossessing
block of red sandstone upon which the
Scottish kings were crowned, until it was
captured by Edward I in 1296 and taken
to Westminster Abbey.
Since then, it has crossed the border
several times and is now in Edinburgh
The Stone of Scone used to rest on
Moot Hill — a fitting location given
the state of the Union. Like the rest of
Scotland, in one week, the residents of
this Perthshire village will have to decide
whether or not they want their country
to become independent of the United
Where better to discuss the
implications of this than with the
residents of Union Road?
Democrat councillor Lewis Simpson
says the referendum has polarised
opinion in the village.
On the way into Scone from Perth,
visitors are confronted with two large
Yes signs, showing that here, like
elsewhere in Scotland, the campaign for
independence is more visible than the
campaign to remain in the Union.
But Simpson, who has been canvassing
the area on behalf of Better Together
alongside his Conser vative counterpart
and “new best friend” Dennis Melloy,
says this does not tell the full story.
“There’s an understandable reluctance,
particularly among elderly people, to put
a No notice in the window,” he said.
It’s not a climate of fear exactly, but
there’s an uneasiness among people that
they don’t want to draw attention to
“I ’ve been bothering voters for about
deliver leaflets — and I’ve never had
people beckon me into their house
before to whisper in my ear their voting
particularly from No voters, to nail their
colours to the mast where everybody can
hear, which is unfortunate.”
Union Road is a short, quiet street
of 11 houses containing 23 voters.
Understandably, some residents did not
want to discuss their voting intentions.
But from conversations with those
who did, a picture emerged of a tiny
community struggling to reach a
It is a pattern which, according to
the week’s polls, is being repeated
Duncan Mackenzie, 56, a retired nurse,
has lived in Scone for 24 years. Although
he is intending to vote Yes, he has
placed a £2000 ($3900) bet on Scotland
rejecting independence because he is
convinced of the result.
“ I’d never vote for (Scottish National
Party leader Alex) Salmond in a million
years and I don’t like Labour — if I was
English I’d vote Conser vative,” he said.
“Scotland has been the bread basket of
Britain for so long, I don’t see any reason
why we couldn’t go it alone. ”
Scone voters mum
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