Oscar Pistorius found guilty by Court- Legal and criminological comments from a German perspective – by Dr. Thomas Schulte and Dr. Erik Kraatz

“Fastest man on no legs” Oscar Pistorius, South African Sports Star, born in 1986, was found guilty by the South African court in Pretoria. He has been convicted to have killed his partner Reeva Steenkamp by strucking her down with four shots.

South Africa – Home of Oscar Pistorius – Bad reputation, bad paving

The multi-ethnic state in the south of the continent Africa has liberated itself after the groundbreaking changes that took place since 1994. Racial segregation has ended. Each year, the economic power grows. The crime rate remains alarmingly high, though. The statistical chance to be murdered in South Africa about forty times as high as in relatively safe Germany. While in Germany 8 cases of murder take place per 100,000 people each year (2012), there are about 33 cases of murder in South Africa respectably. Fear and arbitrariness, poor police performance and corruption are probably the main problems that slow down the further development of the southernmost country of Africa.

Culture of violence and counter-violence

Why Oscar Pistorius had a shotgun and why did he use so aggressively it in an unclear situation? It takes a look at the culture of firearms in South Africa… An article in the current issue of the popular magazine „GUN AFRICA“ may be quite frightening to the unaware european citizen. „GUN AFRICA“ is a magazine that you can buy in any supermarket in South Africa. On page 49 for instance there are handy tips, but not a recipe for cooking like in any housewives cooking-magazine. It´s about the question: „I just shot one attacker, what should I do?“ – And in the subtext it goes on to say: „Advice of what to do if you are involved in a shooting incident“. Amazing insights that point out to the question of how to deal with a high level of potential personal threat by using weapons in a firearms-loving country:

1. The first thing is to make sure that you survive and your family/friends are safe. Make sure that the attacker/s are no longer a threat. Be vigilant and don’t be surprised by your attackers accomplices, waiting in the next room to shoot you.
2. Don’t leave the scene of shooting. This could result in people thinking you are fleeing the scene of the crime. Only leave the scene when staying there would put your life in danger.
3. Now call the friendly police, keep it short, because you know your calls are recorded, and everything you say can be used against you.
4. An amazing tip that does not comply with German law: Don’t help the injured medically, but wait till healthcare professionals arrive on the scene of the crime.
5. Now the ubiquitous lawyer comes into play: Call him as soon as possible after the first call to the police because there is the old saying: You’re in for a particularly good treatment by the police if your legal local representative is close by.
6. Touch nothing, don’t move anything away. We all know tv-shows like „CSI“ – forensic experts detect everything. Just change nothing.
7. While you wait for the police to arrive and the attacker lies bleeding to death alone in the corner, make videos and photos with your smartphones camera, don’t talk with potential witnesses, but remain silent.
8. The friendly police arrives at last. What to do then? Put your gun in the holster and do not move quickly. Make the police realize that you are not aggressive pose no threat.
9. Please do not talk to the police without your lawyer. Don’t sign anything. Because you could have a traumatic experience and it is dangerous to say anything, which can then subsequently be interpreted against you.
10. Make yourself ready for a little trip with the police, possibly with an overnight stay included. Here, a handy tip is provided by the South African weapons magazine: Take some small change with you and behave well with the police and in prison so that they do not assume you are dangerous. The most comforting advice comes at the end: If you have a good lawyer, it will be over after one night, and you may go home eventually.

Apparently it is not a question for authors of the weapons magazine to shoot first and then the rest comes by. More info at

German law – in this case …

The use of firearms for self-defense is allowed in an absolute situation, when the own life is in danger. The strict German weapons law ensures that only a few weapons are in circulation legally. Even the injured attacker must be helped, if necessary by the victim. This follows from the principle that failure to assist a criminal offense (see § 323c BGB) ….



Die Artikel Highlights

Empfehlung von Dr. Thomas Schulte wegen großer Erfahrung und erfolgreicher Prozessführung, z.B. Titelbeitrag im Magazin „Capital“, Ausgabe 07/2008.

Der Beitrag schildert die Sach- und Rechtslage zum Zeitpunkt der Erstellung. Internetpublikationen können nur einen ersten Hinweis geben und keine Rechtsberatung ersetzen.

Ein Beitrag aus unserer Reihe "So ist das Recht - rechtswissenschaftliche Publikationen von Dr. Schulte Rechtsanwalt" registriert bei DEUTSCHE NATIONALBIBLIOTHEK: ISSN 2363-6718
22. Jahrgang - Nr. 1382 vom 12. September 2014 - Erscheinungsweise: täglich - wöchentlich