News / Africa

    Pistorius Bail Hearing Enters Final Arguments

    Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius stands during his bail hearing at the magistrate court in Pretoria, South Africa, February 21, 2013
    Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius stands during his bail hearing at the magistrate court in Pretoria, South Africa, February 21, 2013
    VOA News
    The defense team for South African runner Oscar Pistorius is making final arguments that he should be freed on bail.

    Attorney Barry Roux reiterated the defense case that the shooting by Pistorius of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, was an accident, not premeditated murder.  He also said investigators have a weak case against his client.

    “Your worship, and I say this with great deference, but the poor quality of the evidence of the investigating officer Botha further exposed an endeavor on the part of the state to avoid disastrous shortcomings in the state’s case,” said Roux.

    The judge overseeing the case briefly adjourned Thursday's hearing because of an unspecified threat, but proceedings resumed after 10 minutes.

    The magistrate said earlier this week that he could not rule out premeditation in the case, but said the charge could be downgraded.  Premeditated murder carries a possible life sentence in prison.

    Before the defense began its final arguments, the case took a surprise turn with revelations about the lead investigator.  Authorities said Detective Hilton Botha has been charged with seven counts of attempted murder in connection with allegedly firing at a vehicle he was trying to stop.

    The charges related to the 2011 incident had been provisionally withdrawn, but police say they have been reinstated.

    Related - Lead Investigator in Pistorius Case Facing Attempted Murder Charges

    Botha was asked to return to the witness stand Thursday, but was not asked about his own case.

    Botha testified Wednesday that Pistorius' account of how he killed Reeva Steenkamp is consistent with what police found at the crime scene.

    Pistorius insists he thought he was shooting at a burglar and had no intention of killing Steenkamp at his home last week.  Prosecutors say the nighttime shooting through a bathroom door was premeditated murder.

    Botha agreed with Roux there were no signs of an assault on Steenkamp's body and no signs she defended herself from an assault.

    Roux also argued with Botha's statement that the shots through the door were fired downward, suggesting Pistorius, known as the "blade runner" for his artificial legs, put the legs on before heading to the door.  

    Pistorius said in an affidavit Tuesday that he was moving around on his stumps.

    Pistorius is regarded as a sports hero and national icon in South Africa.  He made history in August when he became the first double amputee to run at the Olympics.  

    Since the shooting, major sponsors Oakley and Nike have both suspended their contracts with Pistorius.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

    You May Like

    Ugandan Opposition Candidate: Only Intimidation, Vote Buying Can Prevent Victory

    Kizza Besigye says he has been drawing large crowds and claims he has widespred support ahead of Feb. 18 vote

    HRW: Both Sides in Ukraine Conflict Targeted, Used Schools

    Rights group documents how both sides in Ukraine conflict carried out attacks on schools and used them for military purposes

    Sanctions Just Got Real for Over 54,000 North Koreans

    Shuttering of Kaesong complex ends virtually any hope of peaceful settlement to long-standing tensions on Korean peninsula in near future

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Anonymous from: John
    February 21, 2013 10:06 AM
    How can the defense attorney say it was an accident.
    What Detective Training has he had to arrive at this statement.
    I hope the Court turns the bail application down and remands Oscar straight to facility until the the time for his trial. Maybe
    Oscar should take a lie detector test? to verify his statement.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.