Pistorius' bail hearing postponed
The Pretoria Magistrate Court on Tuesday postponed Paralympian Oscar Pistorius' bail hearing to Wednesday.
Magistrate Desmond Nair ruled that the bail hearing be heard under Schedule 6 Offence of the Criminal Procedure Act. This means that Pistorius faces a charge of pre-meditated murder for which bail is granted under exceptional circumstances.
The court room was packed to the brim with scores of local and international journalists jostling to enter the court room.
Pistorius was arrested on Thursday on allegations of shooting his girl friend Reeva Steenkamp at his luxury Silver Woods Estate home east of South Africa's capital, Pretoria. He has been in custody since his arrest.
Pistorius claims he mistook Steenkamp for a burglar.
Reeva Steenkamp was a model and a law graduate. The two had been seeing each other since late last year.
During the bail hearing in court, Pistorius appeared exhausted, distraught and in tears. State Prosecutor Gerrie Nel opposed bail, saying Pistorius pre-meditated the murder of his girlfriend.
Nel told the court that the state evidence is that Steenkamp was shot three times behind a closed bathroom door.
He added that before the murder, Pistorius woke up, put on his prosthetic legs and walked seven metres to the bathroom where he shot his girlfriend three times through the bathroom door.
"The door was broken open from outside. There is no possible information to support his version that it was a burglar," Nel said.
He said that by preparing and arming himself Oscar's motive was to kill.
He further argued that no burglar could break into a house and lock himself in the bathroom.
However, Pistorius's lawyer Advocate Barry Roux disagreed, "We submit it's not even murder," Roux said.
In his affidavit read in court in support of his bail application, Pistorius said, "I have no intention to relocate as I love my country. I deny that I committed murder."
The affidavit revealed for the first time Pistorius's version of what happened on that fateful Thursday morning. He wrote that on 13 February he and Steenkamp agreed to have a quiet dinner at home. Steenkamp did yoga exercises before the two fell asleep.
Pistorius alleged he went out of the bedroom to get a fan and he heard noises in the bathroom. He screamed that the person must come out and later fired gun shots not knowing Reeva was inside. He then used a cricket bat to break the bathroom door and found Reeva slumped over in the toilet still alive and called paramedics but she later died.
"We were deeply in love and couldn't be happier. I did not mean to kill Reeva," Pistorius said.
The 26-year-old athlete's both legs were amputated before he could even walk after doctors discovered that he was born without the slender born supporting his legs below knee joint.
Though he has used prosthetic legs since childhood, he went on to win gold, silver and bronze medals in world paralympic games.
However, his agent has since announced that all his planned competitions have been cancelled to allow him to deal with the murder charges he is facing.
As Pistorius's lawyers fought hard inside the court to get him bail, there was a lot of activity outside the court and away.
A group of women including members of the ruling African National Congress Women's League protested outside the Pretoria Magistrate court calling on the court to deny bail to the murder accused. Some carried placards written, "No bail for Pistorius," and "Pistorius must rot in jail."
Also on Tuesday, the family of Steenkamp gathered at a private memorial service at her home town in Port Elizabeth. Her body was later cremated at the Victoria Park Crematorium in the presence of family members and a few invited guests.
Steenkamp's bother Adam Steenkamp said her death had traumatised the family. "Everyone is sad understandably but at certain points we were smiling towards remembering Reeva because we only have good memories of her," he said.
Family spokesperson Michael Steenkamp sobbed bitterly when expressing the family's sorrow. He said, "We are all here together as family and there is only one thing missing, Reeva." Pretoria (Xinhua)