News / Africa

Pistorius Trial Week 2 Features Blood, Tears

An image taken from the court pool TV via AP showing on screen a police photograph of Oscar Pistorius standing on his blood-stained prosthetic legs and wearing shorts covered in blood, taken shortly after the athlete fatally shot his girlfriend, which was shown to the court in Pretoria, at his murder trial, Mar. 14, 2014.
An image taken from the court pool TV via AP showing on screen a police photograph of Oscar Pistorius standing on his blood-stained prosthetic legs and wearing shorts covered in blood, taken shortly after the athlete fatally shot his girlfriend, which was shown to the court in Pretoria, at his murder trial, Mar. 14, 2014.
Anita Powell
The second week of Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial has been one of blood and tears, with riveting testimony and gruesome crime scene photos that drew strong reactions from the famous athlete.  The trial has riveted South Africa, and many ordinary citizens have expressed strong opinions. As the trial goes into its third week, there is no sign it will end soon.

Day 10 of the Olympic athlete's murder trial started in a dramatic fashion, with graphic photos of Pistorius that were taken by police shortly after they arrived at his home to find he had shot dead his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in the wee hours of Valentine’s Day, 2013.

Photos of a red-eyed Pistorius, naked from the waist up and splattered with Steenkamp's blood, were a stark contrast to the suit-clad man who sat in the packed courtroom and averted his eyes from the screens showing his image.

Just two weeks into what is sure to be a marathon trial, the court proceedings have had all of the elements of an epic drama. 

Pistorius, a sprinter, shot to fame by becoming the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics, in 2012.  Steenkamp, his girlfriend of three months, was on a rising trajectory as a model and TV personality. 

Then came that Valentine’s morning when Pistorius said he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder and shot four times through a locked bathroom door, killing her.  The prosecution argued that he shot with intent to kill.

  • Oscar Pistorius leaves the high court in Pretoria, April 14, 2014.
  • Oscar Pistorius outside the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, April 10, 2014.
  • Jane Steenkamp, Reeva Steenkamp's mother is comforted by a relative after her dead daughter's picture was shown on screen during the trial of Oscar Pistorius at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, April 9, 2014.
  • Family members, including uncle Arnold Pistorius, right, cry as they listen to Oscar Pistorius testifying in court in Pretoria, April 8, 2014.
  • Oscar Pistorius becomes emotional during his trial at the high court in Pretoria, April 7, 2014.
  • Members of the public crowd around Oscar Pistorius as he leaves the high court, Pretoria, March 12, 2014.

  • Oscar Pistorius cries as he prays with his sister Aimee and brother Carl at his indictment at the magistrates court in Pretoria, August 19, 2013.
  • This aerial image taken from video provided by VNS24/7 shows the home of Oscar Pistorius in a gated housing complex in Pretoria, Feb. 14, 2013.
  • Olympian runner Oscar Pistorius posing next to his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, Jan. 26, 2013.
  • Oscar Pistorius celebrates winning the men's 400 meter final during the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Sept. 8, 2012.

Earlier this week, Pistoris retched and vomited in court while listening to graphic testimony about Steenkamp's injuries.

This case has also seen testimony from former police Colonel Schoombie van Rensburg that a policeman on the scene may have pilfered one of the athlete’s pricey watches just after the fatal shooting.

He also said that an investigator initially handled the weapon without gloves on.  Van Rensburg resigned from the force last year, allegedly under pressure over the bungling of the crime scene.

It's those unexpected twists that helped keep the public gallery full of ordinary South Africans, who squeezed into the hard court pews along with the world's press.

Zah Masuku, 43, said she views the trial was an education. That’s why she traveled for about an hour from Johannesburg to sit in court on Friday.

“I’m interested in forensics. I’m a forensics analyst student, doing my second year.  Beside that, I’m interested because it’s a big case that everyone is interested in, and it’s my first time in court.  I wanted to feel the experience. … I’m not getting tired, and by the look of things, and the social media and the conversations, I don’t think people are getting tired or are going to be tired anytime soon,” she said.

Another Oscar-watcher was self-described housewife Sonya St. Clair, 42. She said that two weeks in, she’s still as interested as ever.

“Wherever you go, people are talking about it. You go for dinner, everyone’s talking about it. It’s big news,” she said.

The case is the first criminal trial to be broadcast live in South Africa -- offering citizens a rare glimpse into the workings of their justice system.  That has led to a veritable social media explosion in South Africa, where the city of Johannesburg leads the African continent in Twitter usage.

The state has listed 107 witnesses, and has gone through just a fraction of them -- and that’s before the defense can begin to present its case.

Judge Thokozile Masipa has extended the trial's official end date from March 20 to April 4.  But many experts said it may go on for months beyond that - turning this sprinter’s journey into a marathon.

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Njualem from: Cameroon
March 14, 2014 11:39 AM
Its a pity for his status

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
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 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 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.

VOA Blogs