Oscar Pistorius' Trial Will Start Again Monday, And Here Are 4 Things You Never Knew About The Case
Think you everything there is to know about Oscar Pistorius and his murder trial? Think again. Pistorius' media circus of a trial will resume Monday, and with the new evidence provided by his 30-day psychiatric evaluation newly in play, the Blade Runner's fate is more uncertain than ever. The case, which was initially slated to last a few mere weeks with dates set for March 3 to March 20, has exceeded expectations in terms of both length and drama. With scheduling conflicts, missteps, and further complications, the Pistorius trial has dragged on for nearly four months, and still may not have an end in sight.
While we may think we know all there is to know about the convoluted case, there are a few details that have gotten lost in the media frenzy. Few cases have gripped international attention quite like the Pistorius trial; the South African Olympian was a celebrated idol for handicapped athletes before the events of last Valentine's Day. And given the high-profile nature of the case, we've been bombarded by a seemingly endless stream of facts and coverage about Oscar Pistorius.
Here are a few things that haven't seen the spotlight, but should have...
1. Oscar Pistorius wasn't the only key player in the case charged with murder
In fact, the lead detective on the case faces seven counts of attempted murder charges. In the see-saw that has been Pistorius' trial, with the defense seeming to lead early on before being ripped to shreds by "Pit Bull" Gerrie Nel, both sides of the case have seen considerable ups and downs over the course of the trial. The earliest blow to the prosecution came from lead detective Hilton Botha, who revealed in February that he was involved in a serious investigation of his own.
According to the charges, in 2011, Botha and two other officers drunkenly fired several shots at a taxi with seven passengers. Though the charges had initially been dropped, they were reinstated around the time of the Pistorius trial. Soon thereafter, Botha was removed from the trial altogether.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel later joked about the situation, saying "there goes my case" when Botha briefly reappeared in court to clarify some of his contradictory statements about Pistorius and the events that transpired on February 14, 2013. Botha had previously come under fire during during the Pistorius trial for giving unreliable and inconsistent testimony, as well as mishandling the initial crime scene investigation.
2. The Pistorius family is no stranger to murder trials
And Pistorius' lawyers are no strangers to the family. Working alongside lead defense attorney Barry Roux is Kenny Oldwadge, who defended Oscar Pistorius' brother, Carl, in 2013. Carl Pistorius was cleared of culpable homicide charges just a few months after Oscar was first accused of killing Reeva Steenkamp.
In 2008, a 36-year-old woman crashed her motorcycle into the back of Carl Pistorius' truck, and later died of the injuries she sustained in the accident. But the judge in the elder Pistorius' case found that the woman had been speeding and that alcohol might have been involved. The woman's family agreed with the verdict, telling the Telegraph that the culpable homicide charges against Carl Pistorius were "ridiculous."
But the same might not be said for Steenkamp's death, as her family seems convinced of Pistorius' guilt, given the couple's rocky relationship.
3. Reeva Steenkamp Was Killed On Black Friday, A Day Meant To Protest The Prevalence Of Violence Against Women
Reeva Steenkamp's untimely death is unquestionably tragic, but Steenkamp's fate is by no means uncommon in violence-ridden South Africa. In fact, South Africa is largely considered the country with the highest rates of violence against women in the world.
A large part of the problem lies in the normalization of this mistreatment. In 2009, the country’s Medical Research Council released survey results that claimed more than one in four men admitted to raping a woman. Of these men, nearly half said they had attacked multiple women. South Africa’s Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, said in a statement,
It is just about men’s attitude and the way we socialize them in this country, and the structure of patriarchy which gives men the sense that they have the right to harm, to an extent of killing, women. That is the key issue.
The day she died, Steenkamp had planned to wear black in honor of Black Friday, a campaign organized on behalf of Anene Booysen, a 17-year-old who was brutally gang-raped and later died as a result of the violence.
4. Oscar Pistorius' Psychiatrist Just Suffered A Heart Attack
Pistorius' psychiatric report, which should have been handed over to the courts by now, might have been delayed as a result of Dr. Leon Fine's heart attack. Dr. Fine served as one of the experts meant to determine whether Pistorius suffered from generalized anxiety disorder, and whether this condition affected his decision to shoot Steenkamp. Dr. Fine has not yet signed the report, which may be causing a bit of a delay, but this is not expected to deter the proceedings on Monday.
There is not yet word on Dr. Fine's status, though he seems to be recovering well, as his signature is still expected on the official report. The conclusions reached by the four experts is said to be unanimous, and will be a key factor when the trial resumes next week.