Pistorious murder trial starts
Monday, March 03, 2014
PRETORIA ”“ Proceedings in the Oscar Pistorious murder trial have finally begun in Pretoria's Gauteng North High Court after being delayed for nearly two hours.
Presiding judge Thokozile Masipa swore in witnesses and the court prosecutor began reading the charges against Pistorious, according to an Anadolu Agency reporter inside the court room.
The prosecution accuses Pistorious, South Africa's internationally-recognized Paralympian, of knowingly and intentionally killing his 29-year-old girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine's Day last year at his home in Pretoria.
The sports superstar, for his part, says he shot at the bathroom door of his house, thinking an intruder had entered the home and not realizing his model girlfriend was inside.
The trial was delayed by nearly two hours, according to an AA reporter.
"Some court witnesses want to testify in Afrikaans [a West Germanic language spoken in South Africa and Namibia], so we're waiting for an interpreter," a court official told AA inside the packed courtroom.
Pistorious, accompanied by his uncle, had arrived earlier through the main court entrance, evading photojournalists and reporters who had expected him to come through the back entrance.
They came shortly after the arrival of the mother of Pistorious' late girlfriend, who had taken her seat in court.
Family and friends of the sports icon were seated in the front row of the courtroom, while Pistorious stood inside the dock.
"We're here to find out the truth of what happened to Reeva," Maria Nomufuna, a Pretoria resident, told AA in the courtroom. "Justice must prevail."
Nomufuna said that women had been victims of violence in South Africa and expected to see justice.
Popularly known as the "Blade Runner," Pistorious was born without the fibulas in both of his legs.
Before completing his first year, he had to have both his lower limbs amputated.
In 2004, he rose to fame at the age of 17 after winning a gold medal at the Athens Paralympics Games.
The sprinter has since gone on to win several other medals.
Pistorious made history in 2012 by becoming the first amputee runner to compete in the Olympics.
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