South African Magistrate Worried over “Trial by Media” as Pistorius Returns to Court

 

A South African magistrate today warned against “trial by media” as Oscar Pistorius 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.

There remains intense interest in Oscar Pistorius' case and he was mobbed by photographers as he arrived at the court in Pretoria.

The trial was postponed until August 19 after his lawyers asked for more time to prepare the case.

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

Pistorius claimed he shot 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 later in the year and the same bail conditions would apply.

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

Thulare said the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) should “seriously look” at whether any of the coverage of the case had scandalized the court.He also made a public appeal for anyone with information about the case to contact the authorities.Defense lawyer Barry Roux told the court the defense team did not oppose an adjournment of the case to August 19.Pre-trial issues are expected to be dealt with at that hearing.

The appearance comes after 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, June Steenkamp said “there is only one person who knows what happened” that night in February when her “terrified” daughter was killed.

Contact the writer of this story at duncan.mackay@insidethegames.biz. Inside the Games is an online blog of the London Organizing Committee that staged the 2012 London Games. The blog continues to cover issues that are important to the Olympic Movement. This article is reprinted here with permission of the blog editors.

 

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