‘Oscar killed Reeva in cold blood’

2013-02-15 13:25

The National Prosecuting Authority will argue that star athlete Oscar Pistorius is allegedly guilty of the “premeditated murder” of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

This startling revelation was made by Advocate Gerrie Nel in Pistorius’s first court appearance in the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court today.

Pistorius, dressed in a dark suit with a blue shirt, broke down and started sobbing several times, spending most of the court appearance with his head bowed.

His father, Henke Pistorius, twice reached over from where he sat behind Pistorius in the public gallery and placed his hand on his back in support.

Nel, who is famous for the successful prosecution of former police commissioner Jackie Selebi, was responding to a question by Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair, when he confirmed that the NPA would argue that Pistorius is guilty of “premeditated murder”.

This was in relation to a debate over which schedule of the Criminal Procedure Act the charge against Pistorius would be based on.

Advocate Barry Roux, appearing for Pistorius, had earlier confirmed that the State would argue that the offence was a Schedule 6 offence, the most serious offence in terms of bail applications.

Roux said that, given the information Pistorius’s defence had, there was “no reason” why the charge shouldn’t be a Schedule 5 charge.

The difference is important because a Schedule 6 charge will make it more difficult for Pistorius to secure his release on bail.

If the NPA argues that it is a Schedule 6 charge, it will be up to Pistorius to show that exceptional circumstances exist which would show it was in the interests of justice for him to be released on bail.

Roux said his legal team had not yet had an opportunity to consult forensic experts and asked for a postponement until Tuesday to do so.

Nair granted the postponement, which was not opposed by Nel.

Pistorius will be held at the Brooklyn police station until then.

Nair asked Nel if it wouldn’t be considered “unfair” for Pistorius to be held at the station, given that police cells were not “as comfortable” as the prison where accused are usually held.

But Nel said he did not oppose the application, given the gravity of the matter and the need for Pistorius to consult his legal team.

Pistorius will only be formally charged when he is asked to plead.


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