The Oscar Pistorius trial for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp has begun.
This morning in Pretoria, Oscar Pistorius’ trial for the murder of his then girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who was killed by Pistorius on 14th February, 2013, began at the North Gauteng high court.
Pistorius has plead not guilty to all charges, including that of premeditated murder, and claims he mistook the 29-year-old model for an intruder.
Parts of the trial, which can be livestreamed here and here, will be televised live - a first for South Africa, and the entire audio will be made available for the public to hear. According to the BBC, “The testimony of the accused and his witnesses is exempt.”
Media interest is high as both local and international news and information agencies gathered outside the court buildings this morning. Protesters from the ANC Women’s League were seen outside the court were they called for harsher sentences for men who commit crimes against women.
There are no jurors at South African trials. His fate will ultimately be decided by Judge Thokozile Matilda Masipa, which, according to the Guardian could pan out like this:
Criminal law experts believe that if the prosecution fails to prove premeditated murder, firing several shots through a closed door could bring a conviction for the lesser charge of culpable homicide, a South African equivalent of manslaughter covering unintentional deaths through negligence. Sentences in such cases range from fines to prison. They are left to courts to determine and are not set by fixed guidelines.
So far, testimony from the state’s first witness Michelle Burger, who lives about 177m away from Pistorius’ home but did not know him personally, has been given in court. Burger stated that she heard screams from a woman followed by four gun shots. Her witness testimony was not televised.
Court has adjourned and will be back later this afternoon but the streams are broadcasting recaps of today’s opening trial session.
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