…MEGA TRI­ALS FILLED OUR SCREENS

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - REPORTAGE - By DAVID SMITH, Africa cor­re­spon­dent / The Guardian

DIN­NER CON­VER­SA­TIONS re­volved around a sin­gle topic and ev­ery­one had an opin­ion on Os­car Pis­to­rius and the trial of the cen­tury. The dou­bleam­putee ath­lete was con­victed of cul­pa­ble homi­cide for the fa­tal years (at the time of go­ing to press, pros­e­cu­tors have in­di­cated they will launch an ap­peal against the sen­tence). The trial was not a who­dun­nit but a why­dun­nit and South Africa made le­gal his­tory by tele­vis­ing it live, with each de­tail, ev­ery­one a le­gal ex­pert overnight.

Just days after Os­car’s con­vic­tion, another trial gripped the na­tion when Bri­tish mil­lion­aire Shrien De­wani stood ac­cused of hir­ing a hit­man to mur­der his Swedish wife, Anni, while the cou­ple were on hon­ey­moon the UK for three years, Shrien sen­sa­tion­ally re­vealed on the open­ing day that he is bi­sex­ual and had hired male pros­ti­tutes. (At the time of go­ing to print, the case was on­go­ing.) As if that wasn’t enough, artist Zwelethu Mthethwa ap­peared in court in Au­gust on charges of mur­der­ing 23-year-old Nokuphila Ku­malo in Cape Town in April 2013. The trial was, how­ever, pushed back by six months same way. But one common thread runs through this ex­tra­or­di­nary year: all three ac­cused were men, all three vic­tims were women and, as the de­tails un­folded, fact in th­ese cases, was in­deed stranger than fic­tion.

THE TRI­ALS OF OS­CAR PIS­TO­RIUS AND SHRIEN DE­WANI HAVE GRIPPED THE NA­TION, WHILE ARTIST ZWELETHU MTHETHWA IS YET TO HAVE HIS DAY IN COURT

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