‘Smile, Oscar,’ say supporters, as judgment day arrives

2014-09-11 08:24

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A supporter outside the North Gauteng High Court today said South Africa’s most famous Paralympian is an inspiration and must smile.

Judge Thokozile Masipa begins handing down judgment in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius today in Pretoria.

“I feel very, very sorry for Oscar. We are here to support him, me and my daughter ... I want him to know he must feel free to smile again,” Rea du Plessis said.

She was carrying a banner outside the court which read: “Oscar you were, you are, [you] will always be [an] inspiration, a hero.”

She said she supported Pistorius despite him “making a mistake”.

Pistorius was on trial for killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14 2013.

Scores of journalists streamed to the court this morning.

Television vans were lined up on Madiba Street, and several camera crews had set up at the court’s entrance awaiting the arrival of Pistorius.

Journalists were seen filing stories or milling around, waiting to take their seats in the court room.

Part of the road had been cordoned off, and police were positioned at certain points.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel made an early arrival at the court, wearing a dark suit and white shirt.

Steenkamp’s friends Gina and Kim Myers were also at court and her family was expected to arrive shortly.

“The family will be there; Reeva’s parents will be there,” Steenkamp’s uncle, Michael Steenkamp, said on Monday.

He would also be there, accompanied by his wife and daughter.

“The family is not doing too good in this anxious period and we are just waiting for this period to end. We leave it in the Lord’s hands,” he said at the time.

Pistorius has said he thought an intruder was behind the door of the toilet in his Pretoria home when he shot through it. He fired four times, killing Steenkamp.

The state says the murder was premeditated.

When the trial started on March 3, Pistorius pleaded not guilty to the murder charge, and to three firearm-related charges.

Pistorius’ family, including sister Aimee, brother Carl and uncle Arnold, have been at almost every court appearance since the trial started on March 3.

It was unclear which of his family members would be in court today.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act – one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

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