News / Africa

Pistorius Hearing Continues in Pretoria

oscar pistoriusoscar pistorius
x
oscar pistorius
oscar pistorius
Anita Powell
Paralympic superstar Oscar Pistorius faces another dramatic day of arguments Wednesday ahead of his trial for allegedly murdering his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp. It is sure to be South Africa’s most gripping legal case since the end of apartheid.   

There are two accounts of what happened in the wee hours of February 14 at Oscar Pistorius’ lavish Pretoria home.

And in both of them -- the prosecution’s version and that of the defense -- he shot dead his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp.

In Pistorius’ version, the double amputee heard a noise in the dead of night.  This being crime-ridden South Africa, where violent home invasions are not uncommon, Pistorius grabbed his gun.  He said he was terrified and shot four times through the bathroom door.

Only after that, he says, did he realize his girlfriend was not in the bed.

The prosecution’s side is equally chilling.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel says Pistorius attached his prosthetic legs, walked seven meters to a nearby bathroom and shot four times through the locked door with three rounds hitting Steenkamp.  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.

On Tuesday, Pistorius’ team tried to counter that cold-blooded version by presenting accounts from Pistorius’ friends, who painted a picture of a couple that fell head over heels in love within a month of meeting.  They met in November, friends said, and by December, Steenkamp told a girlfriend that if Pistorius proposed marriage, she would probably accept.

That revelation sent the runner into another episode of violent sobbing in the dock.  At one point during the defense argument, Pistorius’ sobbing was so intense that Magistrate Desmond Nair stopped the proceedings and allowed the athlete two minutes to compose himself.

The case has gripped the nation, and the world.  Sports is a South African obsession, and during the last Olympics -- during which Pistorius became the first double amputee to compete in the games -- the runner became a powerful emblem of a nation that is still recovering from its own deep wounds.

Outside of the courthouse, members of the women’s league of the ruling African National Congress's chanted, danced and sang, protesting Pistorius' bail hearing and South Africa’s epidemic of violence against women.

Prosecution spokesman Medupe Simasiku has said the bail hearing could last all week. The prosecution will continue their arguments on Wednesday. But he gave few details of what court-watchers could expect.

"We are not going to say anything more, in as far as the case continued today," he said. "It is because it is still going to continue the bail application, and it is that we are afraid to prejudice the whole process by talking too much and giving information that will end up not allowing the process to run smoothly.”
 
The tale is as dramatic as Pistorius’ own life story: born without fibula bones, he became the first double-amputee to compete in the Olympics, running in the 400 meters in last year’s London games.  He is nicknamed the 'blade runner' for his carbon fiber prosthetics.

His path to glory has never been easy, but in many ways, this could be the toughest fight of his life.  If convicted in the upcoming trial, he could face life in prison.

You May Like

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid