An appeals court in South Africa recently changed the verdict in Oscar Pistorius’s case from culpable homicide to murder on the grounds that Pistorius did not have the right to kill his girlfriend even were it possible, as the court previously determined, that Pistorius mistook her for an intruder, because he did not have grounds to believe himself in danger.
While believing Pistorius guilty, Dalrymple argues that the appeals court’s reasoning is nonsense:
What could he have supposed the intruder had intruded for? It would not have been a social visit—it must have been for some criminal purpose. And a very high percentage of intruders into houses in South Africa are armed; the murder rate there is very high. Moreover, Pistorius did not have his prostheses on and would therefore have been particularly vulnerable and unable to take avoiding action.
So if it was possible that Pistorius really thought there was an intruder, it was reasonable for him to think that his life was in danger. This was not a ‘gentlemen of France, fire first’ kind of situation.