Pretoria - Blade Runner Oscar Pistorius will be treated like any other accused when he enters the dock in the Pretoria High Court on Monday to face murder and contravention of the Firearms Control Act charges.
A reliable source said one of Pistorius’s close family members was at court on Thursday, scouting logistics. She asked an official whether it was possible to bring Pistorius directly into court through the underground holding cells.
If this was allowed, it would mean Pistorius would avoid the media frenzy awaiting him when he entered the court building through the main entrance.
But National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Medupi Simasiku said Pistorius would be treated like any other accused on bail and would not receive preferential treatment. He denied an office would be made available to Pistorius during breaks or lunchtime.
Good news for members of the public who want to experience the trial first-hand is that 20 seats will be made available, “strictly on a first come, first served basis”.
The 20 members of the public will receive accreditation tags, which are to be returned as they leave the courtroom.
The members of the public will share the back row with the ANC Women’s League. A few more members of the public will be allowed to view the proceedings from the overflow court, directly next to the main courtroom. They too will be issued with accreditation cards before they are allowed in.
Notices of the seating arrangements were put up in court GD – previously reserved for a decade for the Boeremag treason trial – setting out who will sit where.
The first row behind the dock is reserved for the Pistorius family on one side of the court. The opposite side in the same row is reserved for the family of Reeva Steenkamp, who was shot dead on Valentine’s Day last year.
Three rows have been allocated to the press – 40 local and 40 international media houses. The rest of the media will be hosted in the overflow court next door.
A second door, west from the court building’s main entrance, is being set up to give the media a separate entrance. This is to avoid congestion, as the court daily accommodates hundreds of people.
Extra security guards, SAPS and metro police members will be roped in to assist and to ensure that things run in an orderly way.
The office of Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba called on the media to be seated by 9.30am, so proceedings could start at 10am.
Lulama Luti, spokeswoman for the judiciary, said they were all geared up for proceedings. She was confident all would run smoothly.
By Thursday afternoon, the hi-tech audio and visual equipment of the media houses granted permission to directly transmit the proceedings had been set up. Large TV screens had also been erected around the courtroom for evidence to be presented visually.
The Pistorius trial is the talk of the court, with typists, ushers, lawyers and advocates saying they cannot wait to get a glimpse of the man whom they idolised.