Jean-Jacques Cornish

Pistorius murder judgment due today

A 66 year-year old black woman judge is about deliver the most highly anticipated verdict in South African history in the murder trial of Paralympic Oscar Pistorius.

Authorities in Pretoria say everything’s in place for Judge Thokozile Masipa to present her judgment without delay or interruption. It will probably take today (Thursday) and tomorrow to complete.

The Oscar Pistorius murder trial has gripped the world as much as it has South Africa over its 39 court days this past six months.

Former social worker and journalist Judge Thokozile Masipa’s taken more than month to consider the evidence of 37 witnesses, including Pistorius himself who wept several times and vomited into a bucket during proceedings.

He maintains his fatally shooting his lover Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year through a bathroom door was a tragic error because he feared she was an intruder.

The state contends he killed her deliberately after a blazing row.

The trial has been broadcast live on television with journalists and the families and friends of Pistorius and Steenkamp packed into the court and filling an overflow room.

Both defence and prosecution have worked assiduously at dismantling their opponents’ cases.

It will be for Masipa to say whether she’s found any reasonable doubt allowing Pistorius to escape the charge of premeditated murder and whether he’s guilty of a lesser charge of murder or even culpable homicide.



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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.