'What a circus' - Oscar trial bystanders

2014-09-12 09:29
(Photo: Sapa)

(Photo: Sapa)

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Pretoria - The media are stacked up on either side of the entrance to the North Gauteng High Court as bystanders looked on amazed at the throng of people who turned out for the second day of judgment in Oscar Pistorius's trial.

"What a circus," remarked another man. "I've never seen so many people here. This is bigger than Mandela," he said, smiling.

They stood on ladders, cameras on their shoulders, forming what felt like a tunnel to walk through, more than an hour before Judge Thokozile Masipa was expected to continue reading her judgment.

A woman in a fluorescent jacket was trying to move a large A-frame ladder from the pavement outside the entrance, while a man with an Australian accent offered to move it if she moved another woman, with a hand-held camera standing two steps away, out of the way.

"We've been here since 06:00," he protested politely, holding onto the ladder, a large camera at his feet. The woman in the jacket then left.

A woman walking by clicked her tongue in irritation at having to dodge the reporters standing idly around.

The sound of early morning traffic, chatter and the wheels of lawyer's black suitcases rattling over the paving filled the air.

Reeva’s family

The Steenkamp family arrived with their lawyer Dup de Bruyn and hurried past the media contingent lined up at the door.

People began lining the pathway adjacent to the court ahead of the arrival of Pistorius.

Outside, at the bus stop bench, was a scribbling which read: "We will always honour your talent." Across at the bus stop were the words: "Only God can judge".

Marshals were telling journalists where they were allowed to stand in attempts to make space for lawyers arriving for court.

Pistorius will hear on Friday if he is guilty of culpable homicide.

On Thursday, Judge Thokozile Masipa acquitted Pistorius of murder finding that the evidence with regard to the charge was "purely circumstantial".

However, she said Pistorius was negligent when he fired four shots into a toilet cubicle that killed his girlfriend.

Pistorius, aged 27, 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 on 14 February 2013.

The State argued the murder was premeditated.

Pistorius pleaded not guilty to the murder charge, and to three firearm-related charges.

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

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