Oscar Pistorius to get hearing next week to appeal bail conditions
Athlete may not appear at March 28 hearing
Oscar Pistorius' appeal against his bail conditions will be heard on Thursday, a day after the culpable homicide trial of older brother Carl begins, a family lawyer told The Associated Press on Friday.
Advocate Kenny Oldwadge said they had confirmation from Pretoria's North Gauteng High Court that the appeal is scheduled for March 28 at the High Court, meaning the brothers will both likely have legal proceedings on the same day.
The Olympic athlete, charged with murder in the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last month, is challenging travel restrictions and having to report twice a week to a police station, among other conditions.
Oldwadge and prosecutors said Pistorius — who hasn't been seen publicly since he was granted bail — was not required to appear in court for the appeal.
The next part of the 26-year-old double-amputee runner's high-profile case — which continues to grip South Africans and much of the world's media — will now take place while brother Carl is in another court to defend himself against a culpable homicide charge for alleged negligent driving in the death of a 36-year-old woman in a road collision in 2008.
Carl was going to trial on Wednesday and Thursday in the Vanderbijlpark Magistrate's Court, south of Johannesburg, prosecutors said. The 28-year-old Carl denies the charges and Oldwadge said he would lead Carl's defense at the trial.
The concurrent dates for the Pistorius brothers had also stretched the family's legal team, Oldwadge said, and provided them with significant logistical problems.
"We didn't suggest it [the date for Oscar's appeal] but we were forced into it because of the need to get the appeal heard as soon as possible," Oldwadge said.
He said there was "no need" for Oscar to appear in court.
The multiple Paralympic champion's legal team filed an appeal against some of his bail conditions on March 7, objecting to him being not allowed to travel outside of South Africa even though a magistrate said he was not a flight risk when granting him 1 million rand ($108,000 US) bail last month. They're also challenging the alcohol ban and that Pistorius cannot speak with any residents at the Silverwoods Country Estate, where he shot Steenkamp dead in his house the early hours of Feb. 14.
Pistorius' lawyers say he should be able to consult with residents to be able to prepare his defence. They also object to the ruling that he has to report twice a week to the Brooklyn Police Station in Pretoria, where he was held after his arrest.
Pistorius denies murdering his girlfriend and says he shot her by mistake fearing an intruder was in his home. Prosecutors say he killed her intentionally following a loud argument in the early hours of Valentine's Day.
State prosecutors also believe they have a culpable homicide case against Carl, who they argue was driving negligently, National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Medupe Simasiku told the AP on Friday.
Simasiku said the older Pistorius brother was driving a Ford Ranger SUV in March 2008 when he collided with a female motorcyclist. The woman, Marietjie Barnard, died in a hospital.
"According to the investigation we have, there is a case against Pistorius," Simasiku said.
Simasiku, who is the spokesman for the prosecution in both Pistorius cases, said the scheduling of proceedings in both brothers' cases in the same week was not intentional.
"[Carl's trial] was scheduled way before Oscar," he said. "People may think ... that we were trying to run them concurrently."