Pretoria - While Oscar Pistorius’s bail application continues in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court, a different drama is playing out at the Brooklyn police station where he has been held since his arrest.
A source at the station, who asked not to be named, said Pistorius was being treated differently from the other suspects while being detained at the station. The source said Pistorius did not sleep on state-issued blankets and sponges. Brand new bedding and pillows had been delivered for him to use in the holding cell.
“While the official visiting time for suspects is strictly between 3pm and 4pm, the head of visible policing has instructed his juniors to allow Oscar’s family to visit at any time. The visiting time, as written, does not apply to Oscar,” the source said.
There were reports on Thursday that Pistorius was sleeping on the floor and sometimes had to share a holding cell with other detainees, but the source strongly disputed these claims. “He has a dedicated cell where he spends time alone from other suspects,” said the source.
The Pretoria News has established that, generally, detainees share holding cells and are seldom alone in a cell, and the visiting hours for everyone are between 3pm and 4pm.
The source also raised the issue of Pistorius’s being protected when leaving and arriving at the station and being transported to court in comfort, while other detainees were taken in the back of a police truck.
The source said when the athlete returned to the station after court proceedings, a special gate, other than the main gate used by other station vehicles, was used and that it was supervised by the station commander.
The Pretoria News can confirm this as our team stationed at the police station has witnessed this first-hand.
“When he has to go to court a special vehicle collects him from the station. Before Oscar’s police vehicle leaves, a decoy police van leaves first with a police officer of Oscar’s stature covered, pretending to be Oscar. As soon as the media’s attention is diverted, the real Oscar is whisked away in style in a double cab in the opposite direction. This is also engineered and supervised by the station commander in person.”
The source added that after Pistorius’s vehicle had left, it was followed by a truck ferrying not-so-privileged suspects to court, including some who were going to the same regional court as Oscar.
“When any other person is detained at Brooklyn station, including those accused of serious crimes, they are offered no special privileges and the station commander does not arrange any of the special treat-ment,” the source said.
Police spokesman Brigadier Neville Malila disputed the claims on Thursday and said Pistorius was not getting preferential treatment. He said there were special visiting hours agreed on. “There is a difference between someone who has appeared in court and someone who has just been arrested and is still going to appear in court,” said Malila.