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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More