Oscar faces another gruelling day in court

2013-02-19 22:12
Oscar Pistorius (Picture: AFP)

Oscar Pistorius (Picture: AFP)

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Cape Town - Murder accused Paralympian Oscar Pistorius faces another gruelling day in court on Wednesday as his bail hearing continues, after the events surrounding the death of his girlfriend were recounted on day one of proceedings.

Magistrate Desmond Nair postponed the hearing on Tuesday afternoon to give the legal teams time to respond to affidavits presented to the court, and to ask questions.

Pistorius, charged with the murder of Reeva Steenkamp who was found dead in his Pretoria home last Thursday, remained in police custody overnight following his emotional day in court.

The application for him to be detained in the Brooklyn police station's holdings cells, instead of in a prison, expires on Wednesday.

"We will extend the application if we don't finish," said his attorney Kenny Oldwage.

But the NPA does not expect the hearing to be a drawn-out affair.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Medupi Simasiku told reporters outside the court in Pretoria the expectation is that the bail application will be completed before the end of the week.

"It’s not long [the bail process].  We believe that by Friday we would have wrapped up the whole bail application," said Simasiku.

Simasiku denied Pistorius was getting preferential treatment from the authorities, particularly at the Brooklyn police station.

"Like any other person, it is fair for him to get that opportunity to meet with his legal team to prepare for his bail process. The decision to keep him at the police station was taken to enable him to meet his legal team," he said.

"That decision was not taken because he is favoured, or [because] he is a celebrity."

He declined to comment on Pistorius’ affidavits, which were presented to the court on Tuesday.

"We cannot say much, lest we prejudice the whole process. We have to respond in court, as the State," said Simasiku.

Denial

Earlier on Tuesday, in an affidavit read out to the court, Pistorius denied murdering Steenkamp on the morning of Valentine's Day.

"I deny the allegation in the strongest terms. Nothing can be further from the truth," he said in the affidavit, which was read by his advocate Barry Roux.

Pistorius had been tearful the whole morning, but when the affidavit, marked "Exhibit A", was produced during his bail application, he began sobbing to the extent that his body shook.

His brother Carl held his back and placed his hand over his head, passing him an energy drink as Roux read that Steenkamp had given Pistorius a Valentine's Day present and that he "couldn't have been happier.

"She gave me a present for Valentine's and told me to open it the next day," the affidavit said.

On the eve of Valentine's Day, Steenkamp would have gone out with her friends, and he with his, the court heard.

They decided to have a quiet dinner.

Magistrate Desmond Nair had to pause proceedings briefly as Pistorius wept saying to him: "Just maintain your composure. Apply your mind."

He warned the media not to take photographs.

Pistorius said in his affidavit, he and Steenkamp got into bed and they fell asleep.

"I have received death threats before," the affidavit continued.

He kept a 9mm firearm under his bed.

Filled with horror and fear

Pistorius, a double amputee, who runs on carbon fibre blades, said he had mobility on stumps, and could walk on them.

He said intruders were in the toilet. He heard a noise and was "filled with horror and fear".

He heard someone in the bathroom.

"As I didn't have my prosthetic legs on I was vulnerable," the affidavit continued.

"I fired a shot at the toilet door and shouted to Reeva to call the police," he said.

"I knew I had to protect myself and Reeva," the affidavit continued.

"When I reached the bed, I realised Reeva wasn't in the bed."

He said he tried to open the bathroom door, but it was locked, and went to the balcony to scream for help.

He put "on" his legs, and broke the door open with a cricket bat, got a key and opened it.

"Reeva was slumped over but alive."

He carried her downstairs to take her to hospital and a doctor in the complex arrived.

"She died in my arms."

"I trust the South African legal system and the facts will show that I did not murder Reeva."

Pistorius said in the statement that he is not a flight risk, will not interfere with witnesses, has no previous convictions and is not disposed to violence. His continued incarceration will be of "no benefit" to the State.

Proceedings are set to begin at 09:00 on Wednesday.

Visit News24's Oscar Pistorius Special Report.

Read more on:    npa  |  oscar pistorius  |  reeva steenkamp

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