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Pre-meditated murder charge breaks Oscar

19 February 2013, 16:39

Pretoria - Pre-meditation could not be ruled out in the death of Oscar Pistorius's girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, Pretoria magistrate Desmond Nair said on Tuesday.

With Pistorius crying, and his family sobbing and praying in the public gallery, Nair then ruled that the murder charge against Pistorius be treated as a schedule six offence.

This is a section of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA) which deals with extremely serious offences.

"I find it unfortunate that I have to rule whether this is a schedule five or six case," said Nair.

Exceptional circumstances

Under the act, where an accused is charged with an "extremely serious" schedule six offence, he may be released only if he produces evidence to satisfy the court that exceptional circumstances exist which, in the interests of justice, permit his release.

Nair said there did not need to be a set amount of time which passed between planning, and an act, for it to constitute pre-meditation.

Pistorius was charged with murder on Friday after the shooting, the previous morning, of Steenkamp at his home in Pretoria.

Steenkamp's funeral service took place earlier on Tuesday in Port Elizabeth.

Pistorius had listened with his head bowed while Nair ran through the background of submissions made by State prosecutor Gerrie Nel and by his advocate Barry Roux.

Nel had submitted that Steenkamp's death was pre-meditated murder, rejecting an explanation that Pistorius had mistaken Steenkamp for a burglar.

After a recess, the court is expected to proceed to the bail application.





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