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

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech 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.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs