Oscar Pistorius Pleads Not Guilty To Murder

Posted: March 3, 2014 by kirisyko in News
Tags: , , ,

Oscar Pistorius is in court for the first day of his murder trial, a year after he shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Wearing a dark suit and tie, the athlete was surrounded by photographers and journalists as he made his way through the court lobby.

The hearing began with the murder charge being put to him. When asked by judge Thokozile Masipa how he pleaded he said: “Not guilty, my lady.”

Reeva Steenkamp
Ms Steenkamp was shot dead at Pistorius’ home in February 2013

He also pleaded not guilty to a series of firearms charges.

For much of the opening statement by defence counsel Barry Roux, Pistorius had his eyes shut and occasionally sighed.

Mr Roux told the court how Pistorius thought an intruder was in his bathroom when he shot Ms Steenkamp.

Police crime scene tape marks off the Pretoria home of Oscar Pistorius
Ms Steenkamp was shot by Pistorius at his home in Pretoria

The hearing was due to begin at 8am UK time, but did not begin until 9.35am due to problems with an interpreter.

Earlier, there was disruption in court as a woman known only as Anna Marie, who has attempted to intervene in previous hearings, turned up at court and was surrounded and asked to leave.

Sky’s Alex Crawford, who is in court, said the woman told reporters she knew Pistorius’ mother, and wanted to see the judge.

June Steenkamp, Reeva Steenkamp's mother in court
June Steenkamp is in court for the first time

She also claims to be the ex-wife of the surgeon who amputated Pistorius’ legs as a baby.

In a landmark ruling, large parts of the case will be broadcast live by three remote-controlled cameras in court, but testimony given by Pistorius can not be shown.

The South African judge who made the decision said he had weighed up arguments for a fair trial from the Pistorius camp with principles of open justice and freedom of expression.

North Gauteng High Court
The High Court in Pretoria where the trial is taking place

The trial, which will hear from more than 100 witnesses, is scheduled to run for three weeks but could go on for longer.

The South African legal system does not have trials by a jury, so a judge will preside over proceedings and ultimately pronounce Pistorius innocent or guilty.

The 27-year-old double amputee faces charges of murder, illegal possession of ammunition and two additional counts relating to shooting a gun in public in two separate incidents before shooting Ms Steenkamp at his home in Pretoria.

Ms Steenkamp’s mother June is in court for the first time. She says she wants to look Pistorius in the eyes during the trial.

He stands accused of fatally shooting the 29-year-old model and reality TV star four times through a toilet door intentionally following a jealous row and then lying extensively about it.

Pistorius acknowledges he killed Ms Steenkamp but denies murder and says he shot her after mistaking her for an intruder.

Pistorius says he was terrified at the mistaken belief that there was a dangerous intruder in his home about to hurt him and the woman he loved dearly – but he had to intervene.

If found guilty of premeditated murder, the Paralympic and Olympic athlete could be jailed for at least 25 years.

see more:http://news.sky.com/story/1219982/oscar-pistorius-pleads-not-guilty-to-murder

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