UNDAUNTED: Oscar Pistorius used his disability to try sway judgement

Steve Daunt thinks there is very little to cheer about in the six year sentence he was handed today for murder

Two years after first writing about Oscar Pistorius, Steve Daunt thinks there is very little to cheer about in the six year sentence he was handed today for murder.

It’s a circus that has gone on for three years. The golden boy imprisoned for the manslaughter/murder of his blue-eyed blonde fiancee. It gripped the whole world. It is almost two years to the day that I reflected on how Oscar Pistorius ‘used’ aspects of his impairment to curry favour. Here’s what i said about Pistorius’s defence using his mental health:

It is the connection between a person’s disability and their mental state. Oscar’s defence team spent a good chunk of time trying to convince us that losing both legs left deep emotional scars and a psychological ‘hole’.

This may be true but it may be argued that Oscar’s glorious athletic career was built on his disability and the strength of mind needed to be a top class athlete. This argument seems out of sync with the picture the defence tried to paint.

It is the general point that disturbs me. By allowing his disability to be connected to mental frailty, Oscar may have allowed society fall into the trap of equating disabled people with widespread mental illness. A double stigma takes place. Ability is ignored and any failing on our part will now be tinged with the ‘ah sure, aren’t they all a bit touched?’

This is a dangerous road to go down as one of the most important traits any person can have is personal responsibility. My actions are my responsibility. I would not want to try to use my disability as an excuse.

The strategy seemed to work as Oscar was found guilty of culpable homicide rather than murder. He receives five years in jail and after serving 10 months, he is released and under ‘house arrest’. 

The state decided to appeal the sentence and argue that he should be retried for murder. Ironically, this was passed on December 3rd – UN disability day. All that was left was the sentencing.

That part of the circus began in June this year. The peculiarities of the South African Justice system meant Oscar was out on bail throughout the sentencing hearing. He used his time well. The focus had changed.

In his infamous TV interview, the blades were gone. Poor Oscar decided that it was time for the world to see the vulnerable, legless Oscar. Thankfully, there was a Euro 2016 game on the same night that ITV aired the interview so I missed that spectacle.

However, Oscar made sure there was a repeat performance in court when he removed his blades and walked the length of the court room on his stumps. 

When I saw that I saw a petulant and immature child. Let’s call a spade a spade here. Oscar was using his disability. How could a poor lamb murder any body?

This  really angers me. Like a perverted little boy who cried wolf far too often, Oscar couldn’t stay in prison because he was legless. He was a broken man. Who or what could he blame?

It’s simple. Blame yourself, Oscar. You pulled the trigger. Nobody else.

The sad thing is the judge seemed to have gone along with this image. Six years for murder? He’ll be out in three.

Did anybody say Tokyo Paralympics?

Don’t put it past him. He has some neck.