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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid