South Africa Politics Guide
The murder trial of fallen South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius resumes on Thursday for closing arguments after months of gripping testimony that captured the world's attention. It will be a final showdown between two of the country's top legal minds: defence lawyer Barry Roux, and senior state prosecutor Gerrie Nel, nicknamed "Bulldog" because of his brutal style of questioning.
The South African Police Service's handling of crucial evidence in the Oscar Pistorius murder investigation is expected to come under fire again this week as the Olympian's trial enters its third week. Pistorius is accused of murdering his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in cold blood during a pre-dawn argument in his home in Eastern Pretoria. He does not dispute pulling the trigger but says it was a tragic case of mistaken identity - that he thought there was an intruder in the bathroom and his life, as well as Steenkamp's, was in danger.
Months before he killed his girlfriend, Oscar Pistorius said he drew his gun and went into "combat mode" after hearing the noise of a possible intruder in his home, which turned out to be a laundry machine, a South African guns expert testified Monday at the athlete's murder trial. Sean Rens, manager of the International Firearm Training Academy in Walkerville town, said he has had many conversations about firearms with Pistorius, who is accused of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. He said the double-amputee runner had "a great love and enthusiasm" for guns.
As it entered its second week, the Oscar Pistorius murder trial turned into an episode of "CSI," replete with gory autopsy details and photographs of the crime scene. Even the bathroom door through which he shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, was reassembled and put up in court. Drama from the trial came from a police expert swinging Pistorius' cricket bat at the door in court to try to determine whether he was wearing his prosthetic legs when he did it. It came as well from detailed descriptions of the damage hollow-tip bullets do to human flesh.
The testimony in the first week of Oscar Pistorius' murder trial was jaw dropping at times, and more riveting evidence is expected as the prosecution seeks to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the double-amputee athlete intentionally shot dead his girlfriend.
"Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius has been on trial for a week, charged with the murder of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp. At this point, some facts are beyond dispute. The Olympic and Paralympic track star killed his girlfriend in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year. He fired four bullets through the door of a toilet room she was in. Three hit her; the final one in the head, and she died.
A security guard who was working in Oscar Pistorius' gated community says the athlete told him everything was "fine" when he called to investigate neighbors' reports of gunshots on the night Reeva Steenkamp was killed. Pieter Baba, who was driving with another guard and called Pistorius from outside the Olympian's villa in the predawn hours of Feb. 14 last year, testified Friday: "That's when Mr. Pistorius said to me everything is fine." Baba said Pistorius called him back but was crying and didn't speak, and the line "went off."
From the corner of Paul Kruger and Madiba Street the target is approaching, and the barked commands from behind the banks of lenses turn suddenly anxious: “Hold… Hold… HOLD... Wait... Wait… HOLD... Hold... Wait.”
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