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

    Wife of IS Leader Charged in Death of US Hostage

    Suspect allegedly admitted to being responsible for American aid worker Kayla Mueller, who officials say was sexually abused and ‘owned’ by one IS member

    Year of the Monkey Could Prove Economic Balancing Act for China

    China is up against a tricky situation on the financial front, facing the need to fight capital flight while also stopping a further slide of foreign currency reserves

    Runners Attempt 26-mile South Pole Marathon in Sub-Zero Temperatures

    How alluring is running 26.2 miles at 10,000 feet when it’s minus 31 Celsius out?

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

    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    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 '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 Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    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.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.