No preferential treatment for Oscar
Pretoria - Despite his global celebrity status, murder accused Oscar Pistorius will not be getting any special treatment behind bars, NPA spokesman Medupe Simasiku said on Friday.
Pistorius would not be spending the weekend at a correctional services prison after his first court appearance, but would be held at a police station because he needed sufficient time to consult his lawyers.
“We believe that it is fair for the accused (Pistorius) so that he can meet with his defence (lawyers). It is noted that when the accused is kept at a prison there is no after hours visit, whether from the legal team or the family,” said Simasiku.
“There is no celebrity status (at play) here. It’s not a common practice, but it is a decision of the court. We can’t argue regarding why the court made that decision (to keep Pistorius at the police station).”
During his stay at the Brooklyn police station in Pretoria the athlete “would meet his defence and talk his case through with them so they can be able to apply for bail on Tuesday”.
Pistorius was formally charged on Friday with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
He was arrested on Thursday after Steenkamp, a model, law graduate, and participant in the Tropika Island of Treasure television show, was shot dead in his home.
After spending the night in jail the celebrity paralympian arrived at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court in the back seat of a double-cab police bakkie.
He held a jacket over his head and a book in front of his face as cameramen surged towards the vehicle. The news of his arrest and Steenkamp's murder made local and international news.
With his father Henke and sister Aimee in the front row of the court, Pistorius walked into the packed room wearing a dark suit. He stood quietly in the dock, his hands at his side.
But after Magistrate Desmond Nair greeted him he put his hands to his mouth and wept. Nair asked him to be calm and he sat down.
The charge of murder was read into the court record.
Nair dealt briefly with an application to broadcast proceedings live.
With jaws clenched and his cheek twitching, Pistorius listened as his advocate Barry Roux said: “It can never be in the interests of justice... it will seriously prejudice the accused.”
Nair ruled against live broadcasts of proceedings, allowing only audio recordings of argument and judgment and photographs before and after proceedings.
Nair moved to the bail application and Roux asked that it be set down for next week. This would allow the defence to prepare for forensic tests to support their argument that it was a “Section five” allegation.
In terms of Section five of the Criminal Procedure Act, which deals with “serious” offences, an accused may only be granted bail if he or she produces evidence to satisfy the court that the interests of justice permit the release.
Section six on the other hand, deals with “extremely serious” crime and requires exceptional circumstances for bail to be granted.
State prosecutor Gerrie Nel, who also prosecuted former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi, supported the postponement, for further tests and information gathering.
Nair asked: “Is the State's argument pre-meditated murder?”
“Yes,” said Nel.
The postponement was granted to Tuesday, February 19.
Pistorius would remain in the Brooklyn police station's cells.
Pistorius was still teary-eyed as he was led away. - Sapa