Oscar Pistorius trial: A timeline of the star athlete's road from fame to infamy
Published on Mar 2, 2014 8:56 PM
Olympic and Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius fell from grace when he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in February 2013. Here’s a look back at the events.
Feb 14: News breaks around 8am on Valentine's Day that Pistorius has shot and killed his girlfriend, claiming he mistook her for a robber. Police later confirm they have arrested Pistorius and recovered a 9mm pistol. By mid-morning, police have confirmed that the woman shot dead is 29-year-old model Reeva Steenkamp. They say they will oppose bail when Pistorius appears in court.
Feb 15: After spending the night behind bars, Pistorius appears in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court. Prosecutors announce they intend to pursue a charge of premeditated murder. His bail hearing is set for Feb 19.
Feb 17: Pistorius's agent, Mr Peet van Zyl, says all future races Pistorius is contracted to compete in have been cancelled.
Feb 19: Ms Reeva Steenkamp's funeral is held in Port Elizabeth. Pistorius appears in court on the first day of a bail hearing. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel says the athlete fired four shots through a bathroom door, hitting Ms Steenkamp three times. His defence says Pistorius thought Ms Steenkamp was an intruder. Pistorius denies he deliberately shot his girlfriend.
Feb 22: Magistrate Desmond Nair grants Pistorius bail of one million rand (S$117,545). Conditions include that Pistorius surrender his passport and any weapons in his possession.
Feb 28: Pistorius appears on the cover of the March issue of Time Magazine in the United States, Asia, and the South Pacific. He is bare-chested, wearing shorts and his running blades. Printed over his picture are the words: "Man. Superman. Gunman."
Mar 11: His lawyers file an appeal against bail restrictions imposed on him.
Mar 28: His bail restrictions are eased by the high court in Pretoria, allowing him to leave South Africa if he wants to compete internationally.
Aug 19: On The day on which Ms Steenkamp would have turned 30, Pistorius appears in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court before magistrate Desmond Nair to have the state's indictment served on him. He is charged with premeditated murder and violation of the Firearms Control Act. Accompanying the indictment is a list of more than 100 possible witnesses. The trial is set to take place in the high court in Pretoria from March 3 to 20.
Feb 14: On the anniversary of Ms Steenkamp's death, Pistorius posts a tribute to her on his official website oscarpistorius.com: "No words can adequately capture my feelings about the devastating accident that has caused such heartache for everyone who truly loved – and continues to love Reeva."
Feb 19: Media groups ask the high court for permission to broadcast Pistorius's murder trial.
Feb 25: Judge Dunstan Mlambo rules that trial can be televised, saying it was vital that South Africans who feel ill-treated by the justice system be given a first-hand look at the trial.
Mar 2: A 24-hour TV channel dedicated to the trial is launched on Dstv.
Mar 3: Trial starts in the high court in Pretoria. Pistorius pleads not guilty to murder and three unrelated firearms charges. His neighbour Michelle Berger, the first witness on the stand, tells the jury she heard ‘petrified and blood-curdling screams’ before the noise of gunshots at around 3am on the night Reeva was killed.
Mar 10 - Pistorius vomits repeatedly in court after hearing graphic details describing Ms Steenkamp's fatal injuries.
Mar 11- The athlete's former girlfriend, Samantha Taylor, stands as a witness and tells the court how a ‘furious’ Pistorius fired a gun out of a car sun-roof after being pulled over by police in September 2012.
Mar 24 - Text messages between Ms Steenkamp and Pistorius are read to the court. The model describes how she was scared of him - "I'm scared of you sometimes and how you snap at me" - and in the weeks before her death, his jealousy and short temper escalated.
Apr 8 - Pistorius howls and retches in court whilst describing how he shot Ms Steenkamp.
Apr 15 - A South African newspaper reports that Pistorius was seen partying and flirting with women in Johannesburg during his bail period. Pistorius strongly denied that this was the case.
May 12 - It is suggested that the athlete be put under psychiatric observation after an expert says he has an anxiety disorder. The trial is set back once more.
Jun 30 - After a six-week interruption, a panel of psychiatrists and a psychologist conclude he is not suffering from a mental illness.
Jul 2 - A report is read out in court concluding that Pistorius is severely depressed and will have an increased suicide risk unless he gets mental health care.
Aug 8 - The trial concludes and a verdict is scheduled for Sept 11 2014.
Sept 11 - Judge Thokozile Masipa clears Pistorius of two different murder charges. In comments before lunch recess, Masipa says: "The state has not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of premeditated murder. There are just not enough facts to support such a finding." At lunch, the proceedings are adjourned until the next day.
Sept 12 - Within an hour of the start of court proceedings, a guilty verdict is delivered for the offence of 'culpable homicide', the equivalent of manslaughter in English law. The judge adds that there was a reasonable possibility that Pistorius thought he was attacking an intruder rather than intending to kill Ms Steenkamp, though he acted with recklessness and negligence. Lawyers and legal academics voice shock after the verdict, with critics saying Judge Thokozile Masipa had been too lenient.
Oct 13 - Sentencing begins for Pistorius
SOURCE: The Mail, Guardian, The Independent
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