Nearly a year and a half ago, Oscar Pistorius was a national hero for South Africa, but now the double-amputee nicknamed “Blade Runner” faces murder charges in an upcoming trial.
A former Olympian and track superstar for South Africa with his performance at the 2012 Summer Games in London, Pistorius will go to trial for the alleged murder of his girlfriend on Monday, March 3.
On Valentine's Day in 2013, model Reeva Steenkamp was found dead inside the bathroom of Pistorius’s home from gunshot wounds.
Pistorius, 27, has not denied shooting Steenkamp but has instead stated he believed she was an intruder.
Cameras will be allowed inside the courtroom for at least for part of Pistorius’s trial following Judge Dunstan Mlambo’s ruling in Pretoria High Court on Wednesday. It will be the first time a criminal trial is broadcast in South Africa, according to reports.
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Stating the decision to allow cameras was to provide a balance between Pistorius’s right to a fair trial and the freedoms of the media, Mlambo’s ruling also stipulated that any witnesses, including Pistorius, would have to give their consent to be filmed.
"The justice system is still perceived as treating the rich and famous with kid gloves whilst being harsh on the poor and vulnerable," Mlambo said.
"Enabling a larger South African society to follow first-hand the criminal proceedings which involve a celebrity, so to speak, will go a long way into dispelling these negative and unfounded perceptions about the justice system, and will inform and educate society regarding the conduct of criminal proceedings."
A six-time Paralympic Games gold medalist, Pistorius became the first amputee runner in Olympic history back in 2012, competing in the 400 meters and 4 x 400 meter relay. He placed eighth in both events.
Both of Pistorius’s legs were amputated when he was 11 months old, but he remained determined throughout his life to race. Originally, there was some controversy over whether his prosthetic legs, which look similar to blades, gave him an unfair advantage over able-bodied runners.