News / Africa

Pistorius Denies Premeditated Murder at Bail Hearing

Oscar Pistorius awaits the start of court proceedings while his brother Carl (L) looks on, in the Pretoria Magistrates court February 19, 2013.
Oscar Pistorius awaits the start of court proceedings while his brother Carl (L) looks on, in the Pretoria Magistrates court February 19, 2013.
Anita PowellPeter Cox
Paralympian Oscar Pistorius appeared for a dramatic day of arguments in a Pretoria court Tuesday, where he faces a murder charge for killing his girlfriend. 

“I had no intention to kill my girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp,” Pistorius’ lawyer read as the runner dissolved into tears in the steamy courtroom, crammed with spectators and journalists from around the world.

  • 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.

So began Pistorius’ account of the events that led to Steenkamp's death, as the two legal teams wrangled over whether he should be released on bail ahead of his murder trial.

Pistorius contends he thought his girlfriend of three months was a burglar in his heavily guarded home, and that he shot through the bathroom door without realizing that the blonde model was no longer in his bed.

“We were deeply in love and I could not be happier,” he said in the affidavit, read by his lawyer, Barry Roux.  “I know she felt the same way. She had given me a present for Valentine’s Day but asked me only to open it the next day.”

A woman holds a photo of Reeva Steenkamp as she leaves her funeral in South Africa, February 19, 2013.A woman holds a photo of Reeva Steenkamp as she leaves her funeral in South Africa, February 19, 2013.
x
A woman holds a photo of Reeva Steenkamp as she leaves her funeral in South Africa, February 19, 2013.
A woman holds a photo of Reeva Steenkamp as she leaves her funeral in South Africa, February 19, 2013.
The tale is as dramatic as Pistorius’ own life story: born without fibula bones, he won gold at the Paralympics, then became the first double-amputee to run in the Olympics, competing in the 400 meters last August in London. He is nicknamed the 'blade runner' for his carbon fiber prosthetics.

But prosecutor Gerrie Nel gave a different version of what happened in Pistorius’ home on February 14. The picture he painted was a vivid one: Pistorius, he said, attached his prosthesis, walked seven meters to a nearby bathroom and shot Steenkamp four times through the locked door.  Nel told the court that Pistorius then broke down the door from the outside, carried her body downstairs, and called a friend to say that he thought Steenkamp was a burglar. That claim, Nel said, shows that Pistorius planned the murder.

Magistrate Desmond Nair agreed, saying premeditation can not be ruled out. That means the defense will face an uphill battle in securing bail for the runner.
 
Bail arguments will continue Wednesday. Nel promised a tough fight and some tantalizing details.

Prosecution spokesman Medupe Simasiku said he expects the bail hearing could last all week. "There are so many cases that can be longer than this. We believe that by Friday we'll have wrapped up the whole bail application," Simasiku said. "By Friday we hope, we believe it can happen."

Meanwhile, Steenkamp's family held a private service for her Tuesday in her coastal hometown of Port Elizabeth.​

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Troops Depart

Afghans are grappling with how exodus will affect country's fragile economy More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs