Oscar Pistorius Murder Trial: Wikipedia

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Trial of Oscar Pistorius

Palace of Justice, Church Square

The trial of Oscar Pistorius is taking place in South Africa. It started on Monday 3 March 2014.
Oscar Pistorius is a leading South African runner, who won attention as an athlete with a disability competing at a high level, including multiple Paralympic Games and the 2012 Summer Olympics. His girlfriend was Reeva Steenkamp, a model and television personality.
In the early morning of Thursday, 14 February 2013, Steenkamp was shot and killed by Pistorius at his Pretoria home.[1][2][3][4] Pistorius was taken into police custody and was formally charged with murder in a Pretoria court on 15 February.[5][6][7]

Bail Hearing

The bail hearing commenced on 19 February under Chief Magistrate of Pretoria Desmond Nair.[1][8] During the hearing, both prosecution and defence said that Pistorius had fired four shots through a locked bathroom door, hitting Steenkamp three times inside the bathroom.[9][10] Prosecutor Gerrie Nel claimed that Pistorius had put on his prosthetic legs, walked across his bedroom to the bathroom, and intentionally shot Steenkamp through the door.[9][11] Nel argued that the time required for this process was sufficient to establish the alleged murder as premeditated.[12] Pistorius said that he had thought Steenkamp was in the bed, and that the person in the bathroom was an intruder. He also said he had not put on his prosthetics before shooting into the bathroom.[9]
Chief investigating officer Hilton Botha said at the bail hearing that a witness had heard gunshots coming from Pistorius' home and then a female screaming followed by more gunshots; he initially said the witness was 600 metres away, but later said the distance was 300 metres.[13] Botha also said the trajectory of the gunshots indicated that they had been fired downward and directly toward the toilet, seemingly conflicting with Pistorius' statement that he was not wearing his prosthetics at the time.[14] He acknowledged that procedural mistakes had been made during the crime scene investigation and that police had found no evidence inconsistent with the version of events presented by Pistorius, adding later that equally nothing contradicted the police version either.[13][14] On 22 February, Botha was removed from the case following revelations that he was facing attempted murder charges stemming from a 2009 incident. Botha was replaced by Vineshkumar Moonoo, described as "the most senior detective" in the South African Police Service.[15]
On the first day of the bail hearing, Magistrate Nair ruled that for the purposes of the bail hearing Pistorius was charged with a Schedule 6 criminal offence, which relates to serious crimes including premeditated murder and requires exceptional circumstances for release on bail.[16][17] On 22 February, at the conclusion of the four-day bail hearing, Magistrate Nair said that the state had not convinced him that Pistorius posed a flight risk and fixed bail at R1 million (US$113,000).[18] On 4 June the court case was postponed to allow time for further investigation until a hearing at Pretoria Magistrate's Court on 19 August,[19][20]when Pistorius was formally indicted on two charges of murder and the illegal possession of ammunition. The indictment noted that even if Pistorius was mistaken in the identity of the person he shot, the intention was to kill. Dates for a trial to be held at the Gauteng Division of the High Court were set from 3 to 20 March 2014.[21][22][23]
In late June 2013, Pistorius returned to training, reportedly looking much thinner and wearing a beard. His agent said that it was a very emotional experience for Pistorius and that returning had been a "bittersweet" moment for him.[24]

Media Coverage

Time published a cover story titled Pistorius And South Africa's Culture of Violence in 11 March 2013 issue of the magazine,[25][26] and Vanity Fair published a feature story about the incident in the Crime section of their June 2013 issue.[27] On 11 March 2013, BBC Three aired an hour long documentary about the incident titled Oscar Pistorius: What Really Happened?Discovery Networks International acquired the broadcasting rights to the programme, which will be titled Blade Runner: The Untold Story in the United States.[28][29] On 3 June 2013, Channel 5 aired two consecutive hour long documentaries titled Why Did Oscar Pistorius Kill Our Daughter? and Pistorius Trial: The Key Questions.[30][31][32][33]
On 29 January 2014, it was announced that South African satellite pay-channel DStv would launch a 24-hour channel covering the Oscar Pistorius trial.[34] On 25 February 2014, Judge President Dunstan Mlambo ruled in the High Court in Pretoria that the entire trial may be broadcast live via audio and that parts of the trial may be broadcast live via television, namely the opening and closing arguments, the testimony of consenting state witnesses, the judgement, and the sentencing if applicable.[35][36]

Murder Trial

Pistorius is also facing two additional charges of firing a gun in a public space.[37] The trial was assigned to Judge Thokozile Masipa,[38] who appointed two assessors to assist her.[39]
The trial commenced on 3 March 2014 in the High Court in Pretoria. Pistorius pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him, including murder and several gun-related charges.[40][41]
On the first and second day of the trial, witnesses testified to hearing sounds of arguing that lasted about an hour followed by what were described as a woman's screams and gunshots on the night Steenkamp died.[42][43][44][45]
On the morning of day three, the defence resumed the cross examination of witnesses claiming to have heard a woman's screams and gunshots. The defence sought to establish that this was in fact Pistorius screaming for help and that the "explosive sounds" heard was the door to the toilet being battered down. In the afternoon the prosecution continued with testimony relating to an incident when a shot was fired in a restaurant the year previously.[46][47][48]
On the fourth day, Pistorius' neighbour, Johan Stipp, testified that he found Pistorius praying over Steenkamp's body when he went over to help after being woken by what he described as the sound of gunshots and a woman screaming. Stipp said that the first thing he remembered Pistorius saying when he saw him was "I shot her. I thought she was a burglar. I shot her." Stipp also testified that the light was on in the bathroom and he saw a figure moving as a woman screamed.[49][50][51]


  1. "In full: Pistorius' affidavit to court"CNN. 21 February 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  2. ""Blade Runner" Pistorius charged with murdering girlfriend". London. Reuters. 14 February 2013.
  3. "Olympian Oscar Pistorius Charged With Murder". Associated Press. 14 February 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  4. Bennett, Lucy (14 February 2013). "Paralympian Oscar Pistorius charged with murder"The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  5. Dolan, David (15 February 2013). "Blade Runner Pistorius sobs in court after murder charge". Reuters. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  6. Harding, Andrew (15 February 2013). "Oscar Pistorius weeps as court hears murder charge". BBC. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  7. Tolsi, Niren (15 February 2013). "Pistorius 'intentionally shot and killed Steenkamp'"Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  8. Antonie, Cecil; Rohit Kachroo; Ian Johnston (15 February 2013). "Prosecutor: 'Blade Runner' Pistorius committed 'premeditated' murder of girlfriend". NBC News. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  9. Polgreen, Lydia (19 February 2013). "In Affidavit at Bail Hearing, Track Star Denies He Intended to Kill Girlfriend"The New York Times. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  10. "Pistorius bail hearing: What we know so far"Mail & Guardian. 20 February 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  11. "'Rot in jail' protesters cry outside Pistorius bail hearing". Reuters. 19 February 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  12. Davis, Rebecca (19 February 2013). "Pistorius bail hearing: Round One"Daily Maverick. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  13. Stein, Ginny (21 February 2013). "Defence seizes on police inconsistencies in Pistorius case".ABC NewsArchived from the original on 25 August 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013. "Lawyers representing Oscar Pistorius have challenged police testimony accusing the South African sprinter of the premeditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp."
  14. "Detective gives confused testimony in Pistorius case"CBC NewsAssociated Press. 20 February 2013. Archived from the original on 25 August 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013. "The detective leading the police investigation into Oscar Pistorius' fatal shooting of his girlfriend offered confusing testimony Wednesday, at one point agreeing with the athlete's defence that officers had no evidence challenging the runner's claim he accidentally killed her."
  15. Stein, Ginny (22 February 2013). "Lead detective dumped from Pistorius case"ABC News.Archived from the original on 2 September 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2013. "The detective leading the investigation into accused murderer Oscar Pistorius has been dumped from the case following revelations he is facing charges of attempted murder."
  16. "Blow for Pistorius in bail application"City Press. 19 February 2013. Archived from the original on 24 August 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2013. "The Oscar Pistorius case will be regarded as a Schedule 6 offence for the purposes of his bail application."
  17. "Oscar Pistorius bail hearing – day 1"News24. 19 February 2013. Archived from the original on 24 August 23013. Retrieved 22 August 2013. "At this point in time, I cannot rule out premeditation. For the purposes of bail – we go Schedule 6."
  18. Dolak, Kevin; Bazi Kanani (22 February 2013). "Oscar Pistorius Granted Bail in Murder Case".ABC NewsArchived from the original on 25 August 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013. "Oscar Pistorius was granted bail today in a South African court, meaning he can be released from jail for the six to eight months before his trial for the allegedly premeditated killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp."
  19. Govender, Peroshni (4 June 2013). "Pistorius judge attacks 'scandalizing' media coverage".ReutersArchived from the original on 21 August 2013. "A South African judge postponed the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius on Tuesday and criticized the media for sensationalist reporting of the Olympic and Paralympic athletics star's shooting of his girlfriend on Valentine's Day."
  20. "Pistorius case postponed until August"News24SAPA. 4 June 2013. Archived from the original on 21 August 2013. Retrieved 4 June 2013. "Pretoria – The case against murder accused paralympian Oscar Pistorius was postponed to 19 August [at] the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Tuesday."
  21. Ross, Will (19 August 2013). "Oscar Pistorius South Africa murder trial set for March". BBC News.Archived from the original on 19 August 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2013. "A date has been set for the trial of South African athlete Oscar Pistorius for the premeditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at a hearing at Pretoria magistrates' court. The prosecutor in the case said the dates of 3 to 20 March had been mutually agreed for the trial."
  22. Imray Gerald (23 Augyst 2013). "Oscar Pistorius Indicted For Murder in Killing of Reeva Steenkamp"Huffington PostArchived from the original on 24 August 2013. Retrieved 24 August 2013. "PRETORIA, South Africa – A woman screamed and then there was silence, according to South African prosecutors pressing a premeditated murder case against Oscar Pistorius. Next, the indictment says, witnesses heard gunshots and more screaming at the home of the Paralympic champion, who says he shot his girlfriend by mistake on Valentine's Day."
  23. "Full document – Oscar Pistorius indictment"City Press. 19 August 2013. Archived from the original on 24 August 2013. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  24. Imray, Gerald (28 June 2013). "'Emotional' Pistorius resumes track routine"SalonAssociated PressArchived from the original on 22 August 2013. "A bearded and much skinnier Oscar Pistorius was 'overcome with emotion' as he pulled on his carbon fiber running blades for his first track training since the killing of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, his agent said."
  25. Perry, Alex (11 March 2013). "Pistorius And South Africa's Culture of Violence"Time. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  26. "Man Superman Gunman: Mar. 11, 2013"Time. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  27. Seal, Mark (1 June 2013). "The Shooting Star and The Model"Vanity Fair. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  28. London, Nick (11 March 2013). "Oscar Pistorius documentary for BBC 'involved huge challenges'"The Guardian. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  29. Ferreira, Thinus (20 March 2013). "Gripping Oscar, Reeva doccie to air in SA"Channel24. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  30. "Why Did Oscar Pistorius Kill Our Daughter?". Channel 5. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  31. Cahalan, Paul (2 June 2013). "Oscar Pistorius murder trial: Documentary set to undermine evidence on row on night Reeva Steenkamp was killed"The Independent. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  32. "Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp 'fought a lot,' say model's parents"The Telegraph. 3 June 2013. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  33. Anderson, Steve; Branagh, Ellen; Wylie, Catherine (4 June 2013). "Oscar Pistorius arrives in court to face murder charge over death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp"The Independent. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  34. "24-hour Oscar Pistorius channel to launch"Eyewitness News. 29 January 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  35. du Plessis, Charl (25 February 2014). "Oscar trial to be broadcast live, court rules"City Press(South Africa). Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  36. "Oscar Pistorius trial can be broadcast live on TV, court rules"The Guardian. 25 February 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  37. Swails, Brent; Smith-Spark, Laura (30 October 2013). "South Africa's Oscar Pistorius to face 2 gun charges at murder trial". CNN. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  38. "Experienced, reserved judge for Pistorius trial"Mail & Guardian. 18 February 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  39. Venter, Zelda (13 February 2014). "Oscar trial judge appoints assessors"Pretoria News. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  40. "Oscar Pistorius pleads not guilty"News24. 3 March 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  41. "Oscar Pistorius goes on trial for murder of Reeva Steenkamp – as it happened"The Guardian. 3 March 2014. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  42. "Day 1: Inside the Oscar Pistorius trial"The SowetanArchived from the original on 5 March 2014.
  43. "Day 2: Inside the Oscar trial"The SowetanArchived from the original on 5 March 2014.
  44. "Pistorius pleads not guilty at Reeva Steenkamp murder trial"BBC NewsArchived from the original on 5 March 2014.
  45. "Pistorius neighbour 'heard fight'"BBC NewsArchived from the original on 5 March 2014.
  46. "Day 3: Inside the Oscar Pistorius trial"The Sowetan. Archived from the original on 7 March 2014\dearurl=no.
  47. "Pistorius trial: Athlete blamed for restaurant shooting". BBC. 5 March 2014. Archived from the original on 6 March 2014.
  48. "Pistorius Pal: We Covered For Him"The Daily BeastArchived from the original on 6 March 2014.
  49. "Day 4: Inside the Oscar Pistorius trial"The SowetanArchived from the original on 7 March 2014.
  50. Harding, Andrew (6 March 2014). "Oscar Pistorius found praying over Reeva Steenkamp body".BBC NewsArchived from the original on 7 March 2014. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  51. Smith, David. "Oscar Pistorius trial: doctor describes finding body of Reeva Steenkamp"The GuardianArchived from the original on 7 March 2014.