Family of slain girlfriend seeks answers, Pistorius to face bail hearing
The family of Reeva Steenkamp, the South African model shot on Valentine's Day, is asking why she died. South African Olympian and double-amputee Oscar Pistorius, who is accused of murdering Steenkamp, his girlfriend, will face a bail hearing on Tuesday.
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In a statement initially given only to The Associated Press and two South African reporters over the weekend, Arnold Pistorius, Oscar's uncle, said the prosecution's own case would show there was no murder.Skip to next paragraph
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"We have no doubt there is no substance to the allegation," Pistorius' uncle said, "and that the state's own case, including its own forensic evidence, strongly refutes any possibility of a premeditated murder or indeed any murder at all."
The bail hearing, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, will be the first time both the prosecutors and defense will show their hands about the evidence involved in the killing, said Stephen Tuson, an adjunct law professor at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
"There will kind of be a little trial within a trial," Tuson said.
Due to the gravity of the charges, Pistorius' defense lawyers will present their case first, trying to argue that their client is not a danger to the public and won't try to flee to avoid trial, Tuson said. They'll also have to show that he won't try to intimidate witnesses, nor pose a risk of sparking public unrest, the professor said.
The defense does have the opportunity to put Pistorius — who broke down and wept in his first appearance in court — on the stand to offer testimony on his own behalf. That likely won't happen, as prosecutors would then be allowed to ask him potentially incriminating questions, Tuson said.
Typically, defense lawyers read a prepared statement in court instead.
From there, prosecutors will offer their own version of events, likely bolstered by testimony from the lead investigator in the killing, Tuson said.
Pistorius has been in custody in Brooklyn police station in Pretoria.
His agent told the AP that there is no way to predict if he will ever run track again.
"For me it's too early to comment," Peet Van Zyl said. "I think it's still a huge shock and tragedy that took the world by surprise so I can't comment on that one (Pistorius' future career) or give any timeline to that at this point in time."
Follow Gerald Imray at http://twitter.com/GeraldImrayAP
Follow Jon Gambrell at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP
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