Oscar Pistorius appeared before Magistrate Daniel Thulare for a very short time on Tuesday. According to various reports, the magistrate spent more time addressing the media than he did referring to the case. There wasn’t much to be said for the events of Valentine’s Day at the Pistorius residence as the police have yet to finalise their investigation into the matter. The state asked for more time to conclude their investigation before settling on a trial date.
Pistorius appeared calm in the dock, a change from the early days when he was torn by emotion and shock soon after he shot Reeva Steenkamp by accident in the bathroom of his apartment. Pistorius previously said that he had been certain that he was protecting his home against burglars when he shot through the bathroom door on Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, it was not a burglar in the toilet; it was his new girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
Since that fateful morning, both local and international media houses have reported quite extensively on the case. Magistrate Daniel Thulare is concerned that Oscar Pistorius is being ‘tried by the media’ before he has his day in court to account for his role in the death of the young model. Last week, photos of the crime scene were published causing intense reactions from the public. Thulare said: “It would appear some of the activities may amount, if not to scandalising the court system in the republic, then to contempt of court.”
The magistrate encouraged the National Prosecuting Authority to conduct an investigation to determine if any of the reports about the Pistorius case have been in contempt of court. He sternly added that it was necessary to “invite our colleagues around the world to make sure we all respect the processes of the Republic of South Africa.”
Pistorius had the support of his family in court. His brother Carl and sister Aimee were present to stand by him. Carl was acquitted of culpable homicide in the death of a motorcyclist in 2008. His uncle and cousins also came to be with the athlete. In an ironic twist, Oscar Pistorius was ordered to be in court on 19 August; the day Reeva Steenkamp would have turned 30 years old.