The Oscar Pistorius trial – teaching us many lessons 

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showbiz-oscar-pistorius-2Over the past week, I read and listened to the comments of various South Africans, about the Oscar Pistorius trial on different talk radio stations, Twitter and Facebook.

Here is my opinion on matters.

Our understanding of how things actually work in our courts is almost zero, as most of the people commenting, their  reference point is what we have seen on American and British movies and television shows.

One of the arguments presented to the court for permission to broadcast live from the court, was that it could help South Africans understand how our justice system actually works.

“I put it to you ” If our national broadcaster really wanted to help educate South African society about our judicial system, then maybe they should implement the Hollywood module of developing and commissioning the production of more local court room themed comedies, movies and television series.

The only locally produced court room drama movie that I can think of, is Gavin Hood’s “Reasonable Man.”   This tells the story of a city lawyer (played by Gavin Hood) who comes across the case of a herd boy from a rural Zululand, who killed a one year old baby in the mistaken belief that he was killing “Tokoloshe” (evil spirit). He takes the case and enters a world of African witchcraft and mysticism to discover the truth about the killing. Gavin Hood also directed this movie.

I strongly recommend that you get your hands on a copy of this amazing movie. Unfortunately it did not make much money, but I am sure that it helped Gavin Hood’s CV, which today includes “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”


One thought on “The Oscar Pistorius trial – teaching us many lessons 

    Rob Hope said:
    March 11, 2014 at 8:44 am

    Hey Siraaj,
    Hope you are keeping well – it’s been a long time!
    As an ex state prosecutor, my 3 cents worth is that the “courtroom drama” concept is an oxymoron. 99% of the time courtroom procedures are particularly dull. Look at the cross examinations conducted by Barry Roux. Pedantic, nit-picking and repetitive. They have to be. When script writers get their hands on a courtroom drama they have to bring in all the other elements of the case so that the actual courtroom scenes are kept to a minimum. In the end, people get the wrong end of the stick. They are watching crime dramas or domestic violence dramas and cannot possibly get a measure of how the justice system really works. So it matters little where the dramas are made, here, the US or the UK; people still won’t have much of a clue about how our justice system works.
    I think when the clearance was given for these proceedings to be televised, the SA justice system had one eye firmly on the English and Shrien Dewani. It’s a huge PR move and I don’t think the SA public are the intended beneficiaries.

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