From the news desk

What’s ailing Oscar?

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Oscar Pistorius had not been well ahead of his appearance in the high court in Pretoria on Monday. The disgraced athlete was taken to hospital over the weekend, and family members were overheard in court saying he would undergo further tests this week.

While it was not known what was wrong with him, rumours were rife that he went to hospital because he had flu.

Pistorius family spokeswoman Anneliese Burgess did not want to divulge the reason he was taken to hospital or how long he remained there.

She would only confirm that Pistorius had been in hospital.

“Oscar was taken to hospital over the weekend, but the family do not want to comment in any way as they view it as a private matter,” she told the News.

The former Olympic hero looked tense – or was simply not feeling well – when he took his place in the dock shortly after 9am.

Both the prosecution and defence said they were geared up for sentencing proceedings when convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius returns to the high court on June 13.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel told Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba, who stood in for Judge Thokozile Masipa, that the parties were available to sit even on June 16 – a public holiday – if necessary.

The matter was set down until June 17, but it was not yet known when Judge Masipa would sentence Pistorius.

Nel said the parties met and made themselves available for the entire week. Pistorius’s advocate, Samantha Jackson, who stood in for Barry Roux, reported to Judge Ledwaba that the tracking device which monitored Pistorius movements was faulty.

Jackson said it was malfunctioning and kept on warning Pistorius that he was violating his parole conditions.

This happened even when he was at home. Jackson said they were now on their third device and it was still giving warning signals that he was violating his parole conditions.

According to her, Pistorius was keeping a log on all the warnings that came through.

The device was fitted by Correctional Services to keep tabs on Pistorius’s movements outside his home. This was part of his bail conditions set last December, when his bail was upped to R10 000, coupled with other stringent conditions. These included that he could only leave his uncle Arnold’s Waterkloof home daily between 7am and noon and may not travel further than a radius of 20km from the house.

Pistorius was escorted by members of Correctional Services as soon as the court adjourned to a passage outside the courtroom, where the faulty device was attended to.

His bail conditions were also slightly relaxed in that he only required the permission of the investigating officer, Mike van Aard, when he wanted to leave his home. Previously, he also had to obtain the permission from Correctional Services before leaving the house. A gaunt-looking Pistorius didn’t speak during his appearance, other than to tell Judge Ledwaba that he understood he had to be back in court on June 13.

This will be the first time that he faces Judge Masipa, after she convicted him of culpable homicide and sentenced him to an effective 10 months in jail.

This time, the judge will have no choice but to sentence him as a convicted murderer.

Judge Masipa is bound by law to sentence him to 15 years’ imprisonment, unless she finds mitigating factors to pass a lesser sentence.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) overturned the culpable homicide verdict and replaced it with one of murder.

It was found that the trial court incorrectly applied the law in convicting him on the lesser charge. Judge Eric Leach said when Pistorius fired the four shots into the tiny toilet cubicle on the morning of Valentine’s Day 2013, he knew he could kill someone.

The findings of the judges were not that Pistorius intended killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, but rather that he could kill “the intruder” behind the door.

Pistorius then pinned his hopes on the Constitutional Court to overrule the SCA.

But his application was dismissed, leaving him hoping the defence will be able to produce enough expert evidence to convince Judge Masipa that he deserves a lesser sentence.

[Source: Pretoria News]
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