Oscar weeps bitterly in court

2013-02-16 00:00

PREMEDITATED murder.

That is what the state will prove Oscar Pistorius committed when he shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in the early hours of Valentine’s Day, advocate Gerrie Nel told the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

That means the accused allegedly had time to consider his actions, but still acted with the intent to kill his victim. According to the law, such a person did not act in the heat of the moment.

The court was jammed with media from as far afield as India and Fiji.

Pistorius’s father, Henke, sat stone-faced in the first row of the public gallery.

The paralympic athlete was neatly dressed in a dark suit, blue shirt and dark tie.

But one corner of his shirt collar was turned up and his eyes were swollen with recent tears. His mouth was set, as if he was fighting to keep his emotions in check. He apparently wept bitterly in the court cells yesterday morning.

Pistorius looked panicked at the sea of cameras in the court and dropped his face into his hands.

Chief magistrate Desmond Nair greeted him and told him to calm down and be seated.

His lawyer, Barry Roux SC, said he was “seriously traumatised”. He asked that the case be postponed until Tuesday for a bail hearing.

Roux said the state was planning to charge Pistorius with a schedule six offence under the Criminal Procedure Act, because it alleges the crime was premeditated.

However, he said he believed it should be a schedule five offence.

A person accused of a schedule six offence has to prove there are special circumstances that justify bail, and that bail is in the interest of justice.

With a schedule five offence, the accused has only to prove that bail is in the interests of justice.

Roux said the defence team wanted to do its own investigation and present facts arguing that the charge should fall under schedule five.

“We want to approach forensic experts. We can only start our investigation when we get access to the property [Pistorius’s house], which we have not yet got,” he said.

He asked that Pistorius be held at the Brooklyn police station cells rather than in jail.

He said it was not about preferential treatment,or it being a high-profile case.

“Most of the consultations will have to take place after hours and it will just be easier at the police station,” he said.

Nel didn’t oppose the request.

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