24 March 2014

South Africa: Analysis - Why Oscar Pistorius Has No Other Choice but to Testify

Photo: Marco Longari/Sapa
South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius cries in court (file photo).


There are only two people who know for certain the circumstances under which Reeva Steenkamp was shot, and one of them is dead. It's not mandatory for Oscar Pistorius to take the stand in his own defence, though his legal team has hinted that he will. But there's one particular previous South African case which provides a compelling reason for why he must do so. REBECCA DAVIS takes a look.

At Oscar Pistorius's bail hearing, he presented an affidavit giving his version of the events that took place at his house on the morning of 14 February, 2013. It is the only publicly available statement he has made on the matter. If he mounts the stand to present this version in person once the prosecution rests, Pistorius can expect a gruelling cross-examination from the state's Gerrie Nel. It must be a daunting prospect. If Pistorius wants to steel himself for why it's necessary, though, he may want to take a look back in South African legal history and consider the case of S vs De Oliveira.

Given that Pistorius has admitted to shooting and killing Reeva Steenkamp through a door, it's believed that his defence team will claim that he...

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