Oscar Pistorius Bail Hearing: Day One
Update: The bail hearing is continued until tomorrow at 9:00 am (South Africa time). It will be live-streamed to an overflow courtroom for reporters. Prosecutors will provide the defense additional discovery. Both sides want to present more evidence.
Details: After the prosecution finished its argument and the parties debated premeditation, the judge stated he cannot rule out premediation and the bail hearing would proceed as a class six offense of premeditated murder, making the test for bail a showing of exceptional circumstances. But he also said he may change his mind after all the evidence is in and reduce it to a class five offense, which requires a lesser showing that bail is in the interests of justice.
The defense then presented its case. [More...]
Oscarís lawyer read an affidavit from Oscar outlining what happened. Oscars sobbed throughout and the hearing had to be stopped a few times.
The defense then read affidavits of friends as to the strength and closeness of the coupleís relationship.
Prosecutors will respond to Oscarís affidavit tomorrow, after consulting with their Investigative Officer, Hilton Botha, whom they are likely to call as a witness. The defense may present more evidence as well.
It was media bedlam outside the Pretoria courthouse this morning for Oscar Pistorius's bail hearing. Photos here and here. Only 26 journalists were allowed inside the courtroom. The hearing is now underway.
The prosecutor, Garrie Nel, opens with: Oscar Pistorius shot an unarmed woman who was inside a toilet. He fired four shots, three killed the woman. She was shot three times through the bathroom door, then Oscar carried her downstairs. Oscar is sobbing as he listens to the prosecutor.
Prosecutor Nel says pre-meditation does not require pre-planning -- it's enough if Oscar considered his actions. He says claiming Reeva was an intruder was part of the plan. (A little inconsistent reporting here by two of the reporters: if he's arguing no plan is needed, why argue the intruder was part of a plan?)
The Prosecutor says Oscar got up, put on his prostheses and walked 7 meters to fire the gun.
The prosecution is done for now, it's Oscar's turn. His lawyer, David Roux, says Oscar has no prior convictions. He says it was an accident. Just because she was in the bathroom doesn't mean he didn't think she was an intruder. Roux says Oscar broke down the toilet door to get to her and help her. He shot first and then broke down the door and discovered his mistake. (Another discrepancy in reporting? Why would his lawyer say he broke down the door to help her if he didn't know it was her?)
Roux says he will show lots of cases where a husband shot a wife through a door. He says there may be evidence of an argument earlier, but that's neither evidence of murder nor premeditation. Oscar is sobbing again.
Are reporters tweeting too fast? Bateman reports Roux told the court "Roux we know as everyday people take refuge to toilets when in intrude in house."
The defense finishes its opening, the prosecutor is up again. He says he's even more convinced this was premeditated murder.
The prosecutor says if she just "had an urge" she wouldn't have locked the door.
The lawyers are now arguing over the definition of premeditation. The prosecutor reads from the dictionary. The defense argues there's a difference between intent and premeditation. "If I pick up a firearm and I want to shoot you between the eyes, that's not premeditated, it's intended."
As I explained here, the defense wants the Court to view the case as a Category 5 offense rather than Category 6 (premeditation) because the rules for bail are more stringent for a Category 6 offense.
Roux asks how the prosecutor could know Oscar got up and put on his prostheses if there are no witnesses?
Andrew Harding of the BBC says the defense is much more forceful than the prosecution.
2:00 am MT: Court breaks for 20 minutes, I'm going to bed. For updates, follow the tweeters mentioned above.
The Pistorius legal team will present testimony from its forensic expert Reggie Perumal. A projector has been set up for a powerpoint and he came into court carrying a large map.
This is Oscar's brother Carl, who is at court, as are Oscar's father and sister. They sure look alike.
The Magistrate Desmond Nair just threatened photojournalists with contempt of court if they publish pictures of Oscar taken inside the court like they did on Friday.
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