Pistorius charged with premedi

Pistorius charged with premeditated murder; trial set for March 2014

Oscar Pistorius appeared in court on Monday 19 August, Reeva Steenkamp’s birthday, where his trial date was set for March 2014 and he will face charges of premeditated murder and illegal possession of ammunition.

Pistorius charged with premedi

pistorius picOscar Pistorius’s trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp has been transferred to the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to start on 3 March, 2014.

This was announced by Magistrate Desmond Nair during the star Paralympian’s brief appearance in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Monday, which would have been Steenkamp’s 30th birthday.

The 26-year-old sprinter arrived at the court surrounded by dozens of reporters and cameramen. Steenkamp’s family and friends sat near to Pistorius’s family in the packed courtroom, where the athlete once again struggled to contain his emotions as he stood in the dock.

The state is arguing that Steenkamp’s death on 14 February was premeditated murder, a charge which carries a sentence of life imprisonment. Prosecutors handed over a five-page indictment, giving Pistorius’s legal team a chance to understand just how the State will approach the case.

The indictment contains two counts: premeditated murder and an additional charge of illegal possession of ammunition.

Nair said, “The matter before me today is merely for the postponement to the high court.”

According to South Africa’s Sunday Times, the police have built a case against Pistorius as a trigger-happy gunman prone to violent outbursts, which they will say was why he killed Steenkamp.

Pistorius’s past boasting of being a crack shot and threats to “break people’s legs” could come back to haunt him because the prosecution will now rely on former girlfriends and acquaintances in an attempt to expose his “aggressive character”.

The State intends to call 107 witnesses, including former investigating officer Hilton Botha, Steenkamp’s ex-boyfriend Warren Lahoud, Pistorius’s sister Aimee, uncle Arnold and former soccer player Marc Batchelor.

Batchelor is expected to testify about an altercation between him and Pistorius during which the athlete threatened to “break his legs”.

Samantha Taylor, who dated Pistorius before he started dating Steenkamp, has also turned State witness and has told police about an incident in which Pistorius “stood up and fired shots through the sunroof” while she was driving along a highway.

Taylor previously claimed that Pistorius had a dark side not many people knew about. Her mother wrote on Facebook after the shooting, “I’m so glad Sammy is safe and out of the clutches of that man.”

Although it was rumoured that Pistorius and Steenkamp were involved in a love triangle with the model’s ex-boyfriend, the Springbok Francois Hougaard, his name is not on the witness list.

The Sunday Times has reported that ballistic tests show Pistorius was, in fact, on his stumps when he pumped bullets through the toilet door of his Pretoria house in the early hours of Valentine’s Day, killing Steenkamp. The state has argued that Pistorius was wearing his prosthetic legs when he shot through the door.

Jannie van der Westhuizen, an international expert in the field of blood spatter, has been reportedly been appointed by the defence.

Read more:

Oscar Pistorius and the hero-worship of South African sportsmen

The top 10 Oscar Pistorius quotes

Oscar Pistorius’s six-gun arsenal

The top five accolades awarded to Oscar Pistorius

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