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A look at the murder case facing Oscar Pistorius

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 18, 2013 at 9:46 am •  Published: February 18, 2013
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THE BAIL HEARING

The bail hearing Tuesday and Wednesday in Pretoria will see prosecutors offer Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair evidence about the killing to bolster their arguments that Pistorius should be denied bail and held until his trial. That evidence likely will include specific details about the killing and why they believe the athlete killed Steenkamp — things that police have been hesitant so far to release publicly. Pistorius likely will offer a plea in the case, as he didn't in a brief court appearance Friday. Pistorius' lawyers will likely try to show that he is not a flight risk and represents no danger to the community if he's free until trial. Prosecutors have said they'll pursue a premeditated murder charge against Pistorius, which could make it more difficult for him to be granted bail. Nair will hear both the prosecution and the defense, then issue a ruling about whether Pistorius will be allowed bail. That could include Nair asking Pistorius to put up cash for his release, as well as the athlete giving up his passport and setting other restrictions. If Pistorius is held without bail until trial, he will be transferred from the local police station he's currently being held in to prison, likely in Pretoria.

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JUSTICE IN SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa is one of a few countries in the world that that has a court system that takes root in Roman-Dutch law. Because of this, those appearing in criminal trials do not have the option of a jury trial, common in the United States and other countries. Instead, a single judge will hear the entire case and then rule on a person's guilt or innocence. The judge can be assisted by two advisers during the trial. Typically, those advisers offer assistance in looking at the more technical aspects of the evidence given at trial. If found guilty, a person can later appeal the ruling or the sentence they receive. A premeditated murder charge carries a minimum sentence of life in prison. There is no death penalty in South Africa.

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REACTION TO THE CASE

The day of the shooting, companies quickly removed billboards and advertising featuring Pistorius. One pulled an Internet ad for Nike showed Pistorius starting to sprint in his blades, with the caption: "I am the bullet in the chamber." Pistorius' agent was forced to cancel all the athlete's future scheduled races. Pistorius' sponsors — including big-name brands like Nike and eyewear manufacturer Oakley — are sticking by him, the agent said.

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AP Sports Writer Gerald Imray contributed to this report.

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Jon Gambrell can be reached at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP .