Monday 20 November 2017

This is not a trial by media, warns judge in Pistorius case

Aislinn Laing Pretoria

Oscar Pistorius, the South African paralympian accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, has appeared in court for the first time in three months.

Mr Pistorius (26) spoke just once during the 15 minute hearing, replying softly, "Yes your honour" to confirm that he understood the magistrate's instructions not to violate his bail conditions before he next appears in court in August.

He faces trial for the premeditated murder of Miss Steenkamp (29) whom he allegedly shot through a locked toilet door at his home in Pretoria on St Valentine's Day.

He claims he thought she was a burglar; the prosecution claim he killed her after a row.

The athlete appeared calm and composed in contrast to his earlier, emotional state during his week-long bail hearing in February.

Contrary to reports that he had grown a beard, he appeared clean-shaven and wore a navy suit.

He was supported by a large contingent of family and friends, and accompanied into court by his uncle Arnold, with whom he has been staying since he was released from a week in police custody following the shooting.

Magistrate Daniel Thulare warned the media against "at most scandalising, at least contemptuous actions" that could compromise the case.

He appealed for anyone with new information about the case to approach police, and warned against "trial by media".

The judge said he was "worried" by aspects of reporting about the killing after prosecutor Andrea Johnson asked for a postponement of the hearing to allow for further investigation of the case.

Appearing in court in Pretoria, Pistorius, dressed in a dark suit and tie, was calm and composed throughout the hearing.

He spoke only to confirm that he had understood after the magistrate confirmed that the hearing would be postponed until August 19 and the same bail conditions would apply.

Pistorius's next court date, August 19, will fall on what would have been Miss Steenkamp's 30th birthday. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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