Family told - keep Oscar out of trouble

2014-09-12 22:53
(Stefan Heunis, AFP)

(Stefan Heunis, AFP)

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Johannesburg - Oscar Pistorius's family has been warned to keep the culpable homicide-convict on the straight and narrow in the next month while he awaits sentencing.

In its opposition to the extension of Pistorius's R1m bail, the State referred to an altercation in a Sandton nightclub in July.

However, in granting the extension, Judge Thokozile Masipa warned the defence to tell whoever would be staying with Pistorius that "there should be no further complications".

Pistorius's counsel Barry Roux turned around to look at his uncle Arnold Pistorius and the men nodded.

The 27-year-old athlete was found guilty of culpable homicide by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Friday.

In July, while the murder trial was still under way, Pistorius had an altercation with Jared Mortimer at the VIP Room club in the Michelangelo Towers in Sandton, Johannesburg.

Intoxicated

At the time, the Pistorius family released a media statement saying Mortimer "aggressively interrogated him" on matters relating to his murder trial.

Mortimer told a newspaper that Pistorius insulted President Jacob Zuma's family and his own friends, resulting in the altercation.

He claimed Pistorius was intoxicated and started to poke him in the chest while they were talking.

He pushed Pistorius away from him and the paralympian fell over a chair. Bouncers reportedly intervened and asked Pistorius to leave.

The family denied Mortimer's claims.

They said the athlete's move to venture into a public space while the trial was under way was unwise, but they had witnessed his "escalating sense of loneliness and alienation.

"This, we believe, is underlying some of his self-harming behaviour," said his uncle Leo Pistorius, adding that the family was finding ways of dealing with his isolation.

Masipa found Pistorius not guilty of the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on 14 February last year, but found him guilty on a lesser charge of culpable homicide.

While Masipa was reading out her verdict Pistorius stood emotionless with his hands folded in front of him.

Intruder

Oscar's father Henke Pistorius wept and friends of Reeva burst into tears. Reeva's parents, Barry and June Steenkamp, were stony-faced.

Masipa said evidence before the court showed that Pistorius had acted negligently when he fired into the toilet door, knowing there was someone behind the door.

"It cannot be said that the accused did not entertain a genuine belief that there was an intruder in the toilet who posed a threat to him....

"It could not be said that he foresaw that either the deceased or anyone else for that matter might be killed when he fired the shots at that door," she found.

Pistorius's family said they were "deeply grateful" to Masipa for not finding the blade runner guilty of murder.

However, there were no victors in the outcome of the trial, Arnold Pistorius told reporters in the courtroom.

"In a tragic event like this, there's no victors. We, as a family, remain deeply affected by the devastating tragedy," he said, with his wife Lois at his side.

"It won't bring Reeva back, but our hearts still go out to her family and friends."

Arnold said the verdict had lifted a "big burden" from the family's shoulders.

Contravening

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said it was disappointed by the ruling.

"At this point the matter is not concluded. We are still waiting for the sentence. It's only after the sentence that the NPA can weigh its options and see whether they can take the matter forward," NPA spokesperson Nathi Mncube told reporters outside the court.

"We feel at this point we should respect the process that is still underway."

The paralympian also faced three charges of contravening the Firearms Control Act - one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He was acquitted on charges of illegal possession of ammunition and one of the charges on the illegal discharge of a firearm in a public place.

But he was found guilty on the illegal discharge of a firearm in the Tasha's restaurant in Melrose Arch in January last year.

Read more on:    reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  thokozile masipa  |  pretoria  |  pistorius trial

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