Pistorius faces weekend in police cells

2013-02-15 14:36
Oscar Pistorius leaves the Pretoria Magistrate's Court after appearing in connection with the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. (Stephane de Sakutin, AFP)

Oscar Pistorius leaves the Pretoria Magistrate's Court after appearing in connection with the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. (Stephane de Sakutin, AFP)

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Pretoria - Paralympian Oscar Pistorius will spend the weekend in police cells after he was formally charged on Friday with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

He was arrested on Thursday after Steenkamp, a model and law graduate and participant in the Tropika Island of Treasure television show, was shot dead in his home.

After spending the night in jail the celebrity athlete arrived at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court in the back seat of a double-cab police bakkie.

Tearful

He held a jacket over his head and a book in front of his face as cameramen surged towards the vehicle. The news of his arrest and Steenkamp's murder made local and international news.

With his father Henke and sister Aimee in the front row of the court. Pistorius walked into the packed room wearing a dark suit. He stood quietly in the dock, his hands at his side.

But after Magistrate Desmond Nair greeted him he put his hands to his mouth and wept. Nair asked him to be calm and he sat down.

The charge of murder was read into the court record.

Nair dealt briefly with an application to broadcast proceedings live.

With jaws clenched and his cheek twitching, Pistorius listened as his lawyer advocate Barry Roux said: "It can never be in the interests of justice... it will seriously prejudice the accused."

Nair ruled against live broadcasts of proceedings, allowing only audio recordings of argument and judgment and photographs before and after proceedings.

Bail

Nair moved to the bail application and Roux asked that it be set down for next week. This would allow the defence to prepare for forensic tests to support their argument that it was a "Section five" allegation.

In terms of Section five of the Criminal Procedure Act, which deals with "serious" offences, an accused may only be granted bail if he or she produces evidence to satisfy the court that the interests of justice permit the release.

Section six on the other hand, deals with "extremely serious" crime and requires exceptional circumstances for bail to be granted.

State prosecutor Gerrie Nel, who also prosecuted former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi, supported the postponement, also for further tests and information gathering.

Nair asked: "Is the State's argument pre-meditated murder?"

"Yes," said Nel.

The postponement was granted to Tuesday 19 February. Pistorius would remain in the Brooklyn police station's cells.

Pistorius was still teary-eyed as he was led away.

TV show to go ahead

Meanwhile, Samantha Moon, executive producer of Tropika Island of Treasure 5, said the show featuring Steenkamp would be aired as planned on Saturday night.

"Reeva was an intelligent, beautiful, and amazing woman, and we feel it would be an injustice to keep that unknown from those who did not know her personally," Moon said.

"Every episode that she is in, every frame that she so ably dominates, shines with her light, and her laughter echoes in every conversation, and we want to share these special memories with the rest of South Africa."

It would dedicate this week's episode to Steenkamp.

- SAPA

Read more on:    reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius
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