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Oscar Pistorius judge warns of media influence

Oscar Pistorius leaves after court proceedings on Tuesday. Picture: Getty

Oscar Pistorius leaves after court proceedings on Tuesday. Picture: Getty

  • by ALLAN MACKIE
 

A South African magistrate warned against “trial by media” of Oscar Pistorius as the athlete appeared in court for the first time since being freed on bail over the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Daniel Thulare 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.

The 26-year-old double amputee and six-time Paralympic sprint champion is accused of murdering Ms Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and law graduate on February 14.

The athlete has said he shot Ms Steenkamp through a bathroom door thinking an intruder was inside his house.

Appearing in court in Pretoria, clean shaven 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.

The South African athlete is expected to stand trial later this year or early next year.

Mr Thulare said the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) should “seriously look” at whether any of the coverage of the case had scandalised the court.

He also made a public appeal for anyone with information about the case to contact the authorities.

Defence laywer Barry Roux told the court the defence team did not oppose an adjournment of the case to August 19.

Pre-trial issues are expected to be dealt with at the hearing on August 19.

The appearance comes after Ms Steenkamp’s parents Barry and June gave a television interview saying they were desperate to find out why their daughter had been shot.

In the Channel 5 interview, shown last night, Mrs Steenkamp said “there is only one person who knows what happened” that night in February when her “terrified” daughter was killed .

Pistorius’s family yesterday said they will “support him every step of the way” and “fully stand behind” him.

The Blade Runner’s uncle Arnold Pistorius said the family was “shaken” by pictures of the star’s bloody bathroom that emerged last week.

He said: “We believe in him, love him and will support him every step of the way in what lies ahead.

“We were shaken by the graphic images, leaked into the public domain this week, of the accident scene at Oscar’s house.

“It has always been our plea that the legal process be allowed to run its course with integrity. The leaking of evidential material into the public domain before the court case does not advance this process.

“We continue to have great faith in the South African legal justice system and believe that Oscar’s account of what happened on that terrible night in February will be borne out by the evidence that the defence team will lead in court.”

SEE ALSO:

• Dani Garavelli: Oscar Pistorius - fallen hero

 
 
 

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