News / Africa

S. African Superstar Runner Appears in Court on Murder Charges

Athlete Oscar Pistorius weeps in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Feb 15, 2013, at his bail hearing in the murder case of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Athlete Oscar Pistorius weeps in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Feb 15, 2013, at his bail hearing in the murder case of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
TEXT SIZE - +
— South Africa's superstar sprinter Oscar "Blade Runner" Pistorius arrived in court on Friday to face charges that he murdered his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his luxury home on Valentine's Day.

Two police vehicles arrived at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court, with the amputee athlete sitting in the back of one, his head covered in a jacket. He was expected to apply for bail during the hearing but police have said they would oppose it.

Self-defense?

Professor Steven Tuson, who teaches at the University of Witswaterand's School of Law in Johannesburg, discussed what possibilities could be ahead in a court case, though he emphasized heavily that without all the facts or evidence, little can be concluded.

Videoclip of Pistorius

S. African Superstar Runner Appears in Court on Murder Chargesi
X
February 15, 2013
Olympic track-star Oscar Pistorius broke down in tears as he appeared in court Friday to face charges of killing his fashion-model girlfriend, in a high-profile murder case that has stunned South Africans.

Tuson says some experts think Pistorius' team will use a self-defense argument.

"Objectively though, he wasn't being attacked," noted Tuson. "It was on the version given that he thought it was an intruder, there can be no actual self defense, as it wasn't an attack. It was his girlfriend surprising him.. And so the defense raised is an interesting one. It's called Putative self defense and that is an intention defense, it goes to his state of mind. The defense is that he honestly and verily believed he was responding to an intruder and defending himself."

Even if that defense is accepted, there will still be questions, Tuson says.

"The second inquiry of the court would be is he guilty of manslaughter or, in our law, culpable homicide? Which is the negligent killing of another person," he explained.  "The court, even if it accepts his version that he thought he was being attacked, would examine his conduct, his behavior at the critical moment against the standard of a reasonable man, and ask was he was negligent in discharging his firearm in those circumstances."

Possible sentence

If he is found negligent in any way , Tuson says Pistorius could face prison time.

"If the court finds a small amount of evidence that was causal to the death, this will be reflected in a light sentence. If the court finds his behavior extremely reckless and dangerous in the circumstance, the court will show that with a harsher penalty," said Tuson.

  • Olympic and Paralympic running star Oscar Pistorius stands during court proceedings at the Pretoria Magistrates court, August 19, 2013.
  • Oscar Pistorius cries as he prays with his sister Aimee and brother Carl in the magistrates court in Pretoria, South Africa, August 19, 2013.
  • A man holds signs ahead of the court proceedings of Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius at the Pretoria Magistrates court, August 19, 2013.
  • A woman holds a photo of Reeva Steenkamp as she leaves her funeral in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, February 19, 2013.
  • Oscar Pistorius weeps in court at his bail hearing in Pretoria, February 15, 2013.
  • Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp at an awards ceremony in Johannesburg, November 4, 2012.
  • A newspaper vendor sets up his stall outside court ahead of Pistorius' court appearance in Pretoria, February 15, 2013.
  • Carl Pistorius, brother of Oscar, attends his brother's court appearance in Pretoria February 15, 2013.
  • This aerial image taken from video provided by VNS24/7 shows the home of Oscar Pistorius in a gated housing complex in Pretoria, South Africa, February 14, 2013.
  • Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius leaves the Boschkop police station, east of Pretoria, South Africa, February 14, 2013.
  • Oscar Pistorius celebrates winning the men's 400 meter final during the London 2012 Paralympic Games, September 8, 2012.
  • Pistorius celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men's 400m T44 classification during the London 2012 Paralympic Games, September 8, 2012.

Target practice

Pistorius, who reportedly was a frequent visitor to shooting ranges over the past few years, might be held to a higher standard for pulling the trigger, given his training with firearms.

"The higher you are trained, the greater the competence - you will be held to that greater standard," he said.

Pistorius' status as a national hero - the most recognized man after former President Nelson Mandela - will play a part in this case says Tucon.

"I think it’s a very high profile matter and, therefore, will be given priority in terms of investigation time and resources. And I don't anticipate too much delay,"  added Tuson.

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid