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, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    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....

    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.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    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 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 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 Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    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 New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    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 Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    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.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.