Friday, February 22, 2013

The South African Police Are Potentially Destroying Their Case against Pistorius

Well, I guess it is good to know that there's at least one police department in the world that seems to make more mistakes and which is more controversial than the New York City Police Department. (That's an example of 'sarcasm' - if you make a sarcastic comment you use 'irony' or humor to express contempt or disapproval of something. In this case, my sarcasm was directed at the New York Police Department.)

As you can see from the following articles, it turns out that the South African police department seems to be so corrupt that it cannot truly be trusted.  Indeed, one police officer involved in the Pistorius case was arrested, himself, for allegedly (apparently) shooting at innocent people.

This is Pistorius -

There are SO MANY good vocabulary words in this article!!!!!  Please learn each of these words and read the article and your vocabulary will really improve!!!!!!  :) So will your reading comprehension and even your listening skills!  Good vocabulary leads to good listening skills! :)

Also, please spread the word about this "blog."  I think this is one of the best vocabulary-improving blogs on the internet.  Please pass it along to your friends if you find it useful. :)

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Please enjoy and learn from this article:

a case against someone - this is all of the evidence and testimony (what witnesses might say) that would suggest that a person has committed a crime. A "case" is brought against a person in a courtroom to determine whether the person really committed the crime or not.

controversial - a controversial issue or topic is an issue or topic which people will disagree over or express strong opinions about

a detective - this is usually a police officer who investigates crimes. A lead detective would be the detective in charge of the whole investigation.

to be taken off the case - to be removed from the case - he is no longer involved with the case

after it emerged - after it was revealed, after it was shown

to face charges - to have been formally accused of committing crimes.  This detective has been charged with trying to kill 7 people because he shot at a vehicle containing people.

to open fire on - to shoot your gun at

to draw criticism - the verb here is "draw" which means to attract (in this case)

political clout - political power (police get better jobs because they have political friends and not because they are good cops)

promotion - professional advancement

outrage - extreme anger

to gun down people - to shoot people without concern for their rights or humanity

striking miners - to be on strike means that some workers have refused to continue working because they demand more rights or money; a miner is someone who digs some type of material from the ground, usually in tunnels under the ground

reviving memories of grisly human rights abuses under apartheid - to revive means to bring back to life, grisly means ugly, terrible, human rights abuses under apartheid: apartheid was a racist system that existed in South Africa in which black people and white people were separated from each other.  White people lived in cities, black people lived in townships.  Black people were given very few rights.  This system finally ended in the late 1980s due to pressure from almost every other country in the world for South Africa to change their crazy system.  Unfortunately, not everything has changed in this country.

bail - an amount of money a person accused of a crime can pay to stay home and not in jail before his trial

the defense team - this is the group of lawyers that defends a person accused of a crime.  The prosecution works for the state and tries to convict a person accused of a crime by the police.  The police investigate and the prosecution prosecutes.

amateurish - not professional, not well-done

sloppy - not clean, not organized.  You can call a person a sloppy dresser if his clothes are messy or wrinkled.

charges were dropped but then reinstated - at first he was arrested, then he was told he was not going to have to go to trial, but now he has been told again that he will have to stand trial. Prosecutors apprently dropped the charges for some reason, but decided to put him on trial after all.

withered under cross-examination - when a plant doesn't get enough water, it withers.  If a person withers, he looks and acts weak.  Cross-examination is when the other group of lawyers gets to question a witness.  So the prosecution introduced Botha as a witness and then Pistorius' attorneys were allowed to question him.  He performed badly.

to contaminate - to make impure, "un"pure, to dirty

to backtrack on details - to go backwards and to change one's story

shortcomings - flaws, problems

capping a day - finishing a day

an edge - an advantage

"No police force is a bunch of angels..." - he is saying that it seems to be the case that in every police department in the world you have guys who abuse the law.

forensics - the investigation of a crime by collecting evidence at the scene of the crime

"relevant to the credibility etc." - this lawyer is saying that regardless of how corrupt and stupid the cops have been, it might not matter because there is obvious evidence that Pistorius killed his girlfriend.

serving rather than oppressing - to oppress a group is to take away the group's rights and to make the group live under difficult circumstances

Mandela's ANC government - African National Congress.  Mandela protested against apartheid and spent over 30 years in jail.  When he was released, he was voted into office as the first black president of South Africa.

a backlog - work is backed up, some work has been waiting for 10 years to be done

a chronic shortage - a long-lasting shortage

Corruption hampers crime-fighting -  corruption stops justice from being done.  To hamper something is to slow something down and make it more difficult

a bribe - this is when money is illegally given to an official

a smuggler - someone who sneaks (secretly brings) something into a country illegally

to sack someone - to fire someone, to kick someone out of a job

a watchdog group - a group that monitors (watches) the government to make sure there is no corruption

to abolish - to get rid of

draconian courts - too severe courts, if a judge is draconian he gives overly severe penalties or punishments

plaudits - praise, approval

seasoned, hardened judges - judges with a lot of experience

a sob story - a sad story, a story to excuse some crime or mistake

caliber - quality

An article about the S. Africa court system:

1)  What is your opinion about the South African police based on this article?

2)  Do you think that all police departments contain too much corruption?  Is there something about the nature of police departments that allows corruption and abuse (as was implied when someone said: No police department is made of angels...")?

3)  Do you believe that Pistorius accidentally shot his girlfriend?

4)  It looks as if steroids were found in Pistorius' apartment.  Therefore, it looks as if his previous accomplishments in sports may have been due to cheating.  Did you ever view Pistorius as a hero?  How do you view him now?

5)  South Africa does not have the jury system that America has.  But if you were on a jury for this case, would the corruption of the South African police potentially change your opinion of Pistorius' guilt or innocence?

6)  Do you think the jury system is a good idea?


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