News / Africa

Pistorius's Story Challenged, Bail Decision Pending

Oscar Pistorius stands in the dock during a break in court proceedings at the Pretoria Magistrates court, February 20, 2013.
Oscar Pistorius stands in the dock during a break in court proceedings at the Pretoria Magistrates court, February 20, 2013.
Anita Powell
Lawyers have concluded their arguments in the bail hearing of South African Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius, who is charged with murder in the shooting death of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp. The prosecution says Pistorius, a double amputee athlete, committed pre-meditated murder, while the defense maintains he thought he was shooting a burglar.  

The day in court ended with a question from Magistrate Desmond Nair:  Will Oscar Pistorius flee if he grants him bail ahead of his murder trial?

Nair will have to decide that in coming days, as he prepares to rule on the athlete's bail application.

It was a day of back and forth arguments from the prosecution and defense.

The prosecution first called up Hilton Botha, an experienced police investigator who was on the scene shortly after the February 14 shooting at Pistorius' Pretoria home.

Botha said police found model Reeva Steenkamp dead at the scene and fully clothed.  Botha noted that Pistorius fired four shots through the closed door to the bathroom, but that the toilet does not line up with the door.  

Botha also said that police found a stock of unlicensed ammunition at the runner’s home and four mobile phones -- none of which had been used to call police or an ambulance, as Pistorius said he had.  

Botha also said a witness told police that she heard loud talking from the house for an hour before the 3 a.m. shooting, indicating that Pistorius may have argued with Steenkamp before the shooting.

He noted two prior violent incidents involving Pistorius: he said the Olympic athlete accidentally fired a weapon in January at a popular Johannesburg restaurant and talked a friend into taking the blame.  He also threatened to hurt two different men.

Oscar Pistorius

  • Born without fibula bones
  • Legs amputated below the knee at 11 months
  • Ran with carbon fiber prosthetics that earned him nickname "Blade Runner"
  • In 2008, successfully appealed ban against competing in major competitions
  • Failed to qualify for Beijing Olympics
  • Won gold in 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters at 2008 Paralympics
  • In 2012, became first double-amputee to run in the Olympics
Botha also said police found "testosterone, needles and injections" in Pistorius' bedroom.

Botha concluded: “I believe that he knew she was in the bathroom, and that he fired four shots through the door, and killed her.”

Defense Attorney Barry Roux then questioned Botha's account of the fatal shooting.   Roux says that Pistorius mistook his girlfriend of three months for a burglar who had gotten into the bathroom and shot her dead through the closed bathroom door.

Roux questioned the policework -- noting that Botha failed to wear protective shoes at the scene, and that he missed one phone that Pistorius had used to call police.  He also accused Botha of entering the house with a preconceived idea of what Pistorius had done.

Concerning the testosterone claim, Roux said the substance was a herbal remedy used by many athletes, and not a banned substance.

Botha, under questioning, said that Pistorius' account of the shooting was not inconsistent with evidence police found at the scene.

The investigator maintained that he suspected Pistorius would flee -- perhaps to Italy, where he has known ties -- if granted bail.

One of Pistorius' friends, magnate Kenny Kunene, was in court for both days of the bail hearing.  

"I'm hoping for bail," said Kunene. "He gave his side of the story yesterday.  And all those prophets of doom, who have reduced him to being guilty before they could even know about his version, we will wait and see how the case ends up.  Obviously, it's keep up there and we'll keep praying, and we'll let him keep praying, I will remain loving him, and I will remain a friend, and if he calls upon me to help him, I will do so."

After two days of arguments, Magistrate Nair will now rule on the bail request.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Gerry
February 20, 2013 10:50 PM
This individual should not be granted bail in terms of violence against women in South Africa, where the use of firearms has become to common. Keeping him imprisoned under suicide watch, would ensure he stands trial for this heinous crime and
sends out a clear message to all who use such violence against women.

by: noel from: nyc
February 20, 2013 5:54 PM
Tired of this story being on the front page. Young, blond, pretty, murdered...lets move on. The black woman in NY was decapitated with a knife by her hubby. She's an American and she didn't make the US evening news. I wonder why?

by: Angela from: Lancaster, Pa
February 20, 2013 3:41 PM
Could the screaming before the shooting been Oscar yelling at the supposed robber? Hope the Steenkamps can find a way to go on. This is horrible. I am also curious about what Oscar got or was getting Reeva for Valentine's Day. Did he buy her something? And what was it? It was their first Valentine's Day together. Just wondering....

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs