Paralympian Oscar Pistorius. Picture: Getty Images
Irvine Makuyana and Sapa
While athletics star Oscar Pistorius is out on bail of R1m and is a relatively free man until his next court appearance in June, some questions have been left unanswered; he still has a “strong” case to answer in court. And a revelation about the Paralympian’s older brother, Carl, has added to the ongoing drama and speculation.
Magistrate Desmond Nair made it clear he was only concerned with whether the Blade Runner should be released on bail and not in dealing with his guilt or innocence. He raised serious questions about Oscar’s version of events and stated bungling detective Hilton Botha – who has been removed from the case – was “not the state’s case”.
Among the burning questions is the motive for the killing if the state’s case is to be believed.
Does a message from Reeva Steenkamp’s former lover, rugby star Francois Hougaard, have anything to do with the tragic Valentine’s Day shooting?
Yesterday an agency representing Hougaard and Reeva’s friend, radio DJ Poppy Ntshongwana, issued this statement: “Our clients will not comment on any rumours or answer any questions regarding Reeva Steenkamp or Oscar Pistorius at this stage as this is still an ongoing investigation and this whole sad ordeal has got nothing to do with them.”
It has been reported Hougaard warned Steenkamp about Oscar’s “violent streak” in a “serious talk” he had with her.
A Valentine’s Day message the rugby star sent to Steenkamp is speculated to have triggered or played a part in a possible lover’s tiff before the shooting.
A message and a picture Hougaard tweeted hours after the model and budding TV star was killed added more fuel to the rumour of a lover’s row.
Hougaard tweeted: “Happier times with special people. We all miss u so much Reevs.”
The magistrate raised sharp questions as to why Oscar did not escape through the bedroom door with his girlfriend if he thought there was a dangerous intruder inside and why he did not ascertain who was in the bathroom before firing the fatal shots. “To my mind, what if he came out and the intruder was waiting for him?”
The athlete’s version is that he got up in the early hours of Valentine’s Day and went out to the balcony to bring inside a fan. When he got back he heard a noise coming from the bathroom and thought it was a burglar. Feeling vulnerable and afraid, he took his gun and fired at what he thought was an intruder. Lt-Gen Vinesh Moonoo, who boasts 32 years of experience as a police officer, has taken over the investigation and a strong team of detectives is being assembled.
Among the areas the team will be probing is the allegation that there had been an altercation before the shooting.
Oscar is not the only one facing a criminal charge in the family. Yesterday the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) confirmed a case of culpable homicide against Pistorius’ brother, Carl, was postponed to Wednesday.
A female motorcyclist was left dead in Vanderbijlpark in 2010 after Pistorius allegedly rammed into her.
Gauteng NPA spokesperson Medupi Simasiku said yesterday: “Carl Pistorius is charged with culpable homicide. He will appear in court on March 27. The case was supposed to have been heard last Thursday. A request from the defence asking for a court postponement was received and granted.”
Simasiku said he could not “divulge further information”.
“I do not know which court he will appear. I will have to speak to the prosecutor (today) . We know that Carl appeared at the Vanderbijlpark Magistrate’s Court and I am not sure whether the case will be moved to Pretoria,” he said.
The Pistorius family also issued a statement confirming the accident and court case through their lawyer Kenny Oldwage and Vuma Reputation Management. – Additional reporting from Sapa
Reeva tweet: Did an SMS preceding the above tweet play a role in the tragedy?
Some of Oscar Pistorius’ bail conditions
» R1m bail
» Report to the Brooklyn police station in Pretoria every Monday and Friday
» Do not contact the Steenkamps or any of the state witnesses
» Do not consume alcohol or drugs
» Surrender firearms and two passports
» Do not leave Pretoria without informing the probation officer
» Stay away from all airports
» Do not return to the house where the shooting occurred
» Appear at the Pretoria Magistrate’s court on June 4, 2013