She first set out that when it comes to putative self defense, a subjective norm should be applied. The question is not whether a reasonable man in similar circumstances would have assumed that self defense was justified; the question is, on the contrary, what Pistorius himself assumed. The question is, phrased another way, whether Pistorius honestly believed that he was under (severe) threat.
- the bathroom window was indeed open, "so that it was not his imagination at work when he thought he heard the window slide open";
- Pistorius "armed himself with a loaded firearm and went to the direction of the noise";
- he "heard a door slam shut; the toilet door was, indeed, shut";
- he "heard a movement inside the toilet";
- and that, "in his version, he was scared because he thought the intruder was coming out to attack him".
Ultimately, however, it seems that we may perhaps forget all the above. Remarkably, you see, the judge doesn't give an answer to the question of whether or not the putative self defense claim is or is not justified.
Instead, it seems, she rejects the basic premiss of this argument altogether, by stating that she believes that, whilst Pistorius may have shot four times through the closed toilet door (thereby killing his girlfriend) he did not have any intent to kill anyone. As a result, whilst she starts to discuss the putative claim, she then veers off to a different aspect altogether. That aspect deals with the issue of "dolus eventualis", which has to do with the foreseeability of one's actions (i.e. if Pistorius did not have any real intenion to kill, could he nevertheless have the necessary indirect intent required for murder because he could and should have foreseen that shooting might cause someone's death).
I will give a few thoughts on this very odd way of dealing with things (and, indeed, on the concept of dolus eventualis in general and the lack of intent to kill) in a further post.
Once I get my head unbefuddled, that is....
(*) One might then point to the S v De Oliveira case. I'll not go into any detail here, but in that case a putative self defense claim failed, given that the defendant himself did not testify as to his state of mind. In this case, of course, Pistorius did testify, but the judge herself clearly considered him "untruthful".