News / Africa

Pistorius Verdict Set for September 11

Chief defense lawyer for Oscar Pistorius, Barry Roux, addresses the court, in Pretoria, South Africa, Aug. 8, 2014.
Chief defense lawyer for Oscar Pistorius, Barry Roux, addresses the court, in Pretoria, South Africa, Aug. 8, 2014.
Anita Powell

The judge in the murder trial of South African runner Oscar Pistorius says she will give her verdict on September 11.  The date was set after Pistorius's lawyer Barry Roux finished making his closing arguments Friday.  
 
In 41 days of testimony - some of it intensely emotional, some of it intricately technical - both sides in Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial attempted to answer one simple question: Did he mean to kill his girlfriend when he shot four times through a locked bathroom door at his home?
 
Now, one person will have to make a decision: Judge Thokozile Masipa.  Maspia said Friday she will announce her ruling in just under five weeks' time, on September 11.

FILE - An undated portfolio photo supplied by Ice Model Management in Johannesburg of Oscar Pistorius' late girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, during a photo shoot.FILE - An undated portfolio photo supplied by Ice Model Management in Johannesburg of Oscar Pistorius' late girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, during a photo shoot.
x
FILE - An undated portfolio photo supplied by Ice Model Management in Johannesburg of Oscar Pistorius' late girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, during a photo shoot.
FILE - An undated portfolio photo supplied by Ice Model Management in Johannesburg of Oscar Pistorius' late girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, during a photo shoot.

Pistorius is charged with murdering his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, at his Pretoria home in February  2013.  The Olympic runner - who runs on high-tech prosthetic legs - says he lives under constant anxiety and mistook Steenkamp for an intruder.   
 
During his closing arguments on Thursday, chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel again showed why he is nicknamed “the bulldog.”  Nel has repeatedly accused Pistorius of painting an untruthful version of events, and Thursday was no different.  As is custom in South African courts, Nel addressed his arguments to Judge Masipa.
 
"We say, my lady, it's the state's case that the accused was a deceitful witness and the court should have no difficulty in rejecting his core version of events, not only as not reasonably possibly true but in essence as being absolutely devoid of any truth," said Nel.

  • Reeva Steenkamp's parents, June (second from right) and Barry Steenkamp (second from left), arrive for the closing arguments in Oscar Pistorius' murder trial, at the high court in Pretoria, Aug. 7, 2014.
  • Oscar Pistorius (right) with his defense team Barry Roux (foreground), Brian Webber (left) and Kenny Oldwage (center) before the closing arguments, in the North Gauteng High Court, in Pretoria, Aug. 7, 2014.
  • State Prosecutor Gerrie Nel speaks during the closing arguments in the trial of Oscar Pistorius, in the North Gauteng High Court, in Pretoria, Aug. 7, 2014.
  • Oscar Pistorius arrives in court for the closing arguments of his trial, at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, Aug. 7, 2014.
  • Henke Pistorius, father of Oscar Pistorius, leaves after listening to the closing arguments in his son's murder trial at the high court, in Pretoria, Aug. 7, 2014.

Then, on Friday, it was show time for defense lawyer Barry Roux.  During what amounted to a five-hour monologue, Roux again argued that the crime scene was bungled by police and that Nel’s arguments were inconsistent and flawed.

He also tried to explain the root of Pistorius' anxiety.
 
"You are little boy without legs, you experience daily that disability and the effect of this. … So that constant reminder, 'I do not have legs, I cannot run away, I am not the same,' that's with him. … And that's why I made that submission yesterday my lady, to say we must understand that slow burn and the anxiety.  If you are anxious and if you are vulnerable and if you have the slow burn effect you don't go to bed and can't sleep and lie awake.  But the moment you confront it with danger or perceived danger it comes to the fore," said Roux.

In a surprising move, he also compared Pistorius’ anxiety to that of an abused woman who one day snaps and says “I’ve had enough.”
 
That last point prompted a rare comment from Judge Masipa, who asked what relevance an abused woman has to this case.

Pistorius himself sat impassively during the arguments Friday, with family members sitting nearby.  Also making a rare appearance were his estranged father and Steenkamp’s father, Barry, who has had recent health problems.

All parties, along with the global media who have been covering this trial, now wait for the judge to deliver her verdict.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs