Carl Pistorius, 28, denies causing the death of Maria Barnard in a road accident in March 2008. He pleaded not guilty last month to culpable homicide and also not guilty to two other charges relating to driving recklessly and without consideration when his Ford Ranger SUV collided with Barnard’s motorcycle five years ago, throwing Barnard off the bike.
The 36-year-old Barnard died in the hospital six days after the accident in Vanderbijlpark, a city south of Johannesburg.
Prosecutors say Pistorius was driving recklessly and caused the accident, which he denies. In court last month, when the trial began, defense lawyer Kenneth Oldwadge suggested that Barnard was the one driving too fast and also may have consumed alcohol on the day of the collision.
Around 10 reporters and a handful of television crews and photographers were at Vanderbijlpark Magistrate’s Court for the continuation of Carl’s trial on Thursday. Henke Pistorius, the father of Oscar and Carl, attended and sat directly behind Carl in the courtroom. Pistorius’ sister Aimee was also present.
Carl’s trial has raised media interest in South Africa because his brother, Oscar, the multiple Paralympic champion and world’s most famous disabled sportsman, is now facing a high-profile murder trial for shooting his girlfriend dead. Oscar Pistorius, 26, the double-amputee Olympic athlete, will return to court in Pretoria on June 4 after being charged with murder in the Valentine’s Day shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Oscar Pistorius was freed on bail in February and denies murdering Steenkamp in his home, saying he mistook her for an intruder.
On Thursday, constable Robert Raphadu, the policeman, testified in Carl’s trial that he was “close, very close” to the injured Barnard when he attended the accident scene and could not smell alcohol on the victim. In his cross-examination, Oldwadge said the defense did not agree with a sketch of the accident scene made by Raphadu and questioned the policeman’s recollection of the scene after the accident.
In a blue suit and open-necked white shirt, Carl Pistorius sat looking at his phone and tablet for much of the morning’s proceedings, but did confer with his legal team at one point during Raphadu’s testimony. Magistrate Buks du Plessis adjourned proceedings so that the court could decide if it was necessary to take Raphadu back to the scene of the accident.
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