Pretoria - The first in a series of meetings to streamline the arrangements for the murder trial of Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius was held on Tuesday behind closed doors. The media will be informed early next month of the parameters that have been set for the trial that starts on March 3.
Lulama Luti, director of communications in the office of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng confirmed the meeting between Pretoria Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, officials from his office and of the director of public prosecutions, as well the Department of Justice.
“This was the first planning meeting. We cannot make any information available at this stage, but the media will be informed early in January.
“We have not yet formalised anything. We are still due to meet with members of the security sector such as the police and metro police.
“Lessons were learnt during the appearance of Pistorius in the magistrate’s court. This time we want to be more prepared and focused on what must be done. We have learnt our lessons in the past,” Luti told the Pretoria News.
She said the aim was not to jeopardise any party and to ensure a fair process for all.
Luti also said that the name of the judge who will preside over the murder trial could not be divulged at this stage.
The focus of the world will be on the Pretoria High Court where the trial is expected to run for three weeks from March 3. Media from across the world is expected to descend on Pretoria. Only a handful of media representatives attended the hearing earlier this year in the high court when Pistorius applied for some of his bail conditions to be relaxed.
This is in contrast to Pistorius’s bail proceedings in February in the lower court, where absolute chaos reigned. The State was unprepared at the time for the number of journalists who attended the proceedings and no proper system was in place as to who should be allowed inside the courtroom.
This resulted in a stampede inside and outside court as everyone wanted a glimpse of the world-famous athlete.
When the trial starts, Pistorius is expected to formally plead on the murder charge following the death of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
She was shot dead on Valentine’s Day this year in Pistorius’s luxury Pretoria east home.
The athlete will face additional gun-related charges for allegedly firing a gun at a restaurant and an incident in which he apparently fired shots through a car’s sunroof.
During his bail application Pistorius indicated he would plead not guilty to murdering Steenkamp as he had mistaken her for an intruder.
According to the post mortem report she died of multiple gunshot wounds when she was shot through the door of a toilet cubicle.
The State is expected to produce evidence from various experts – including ballistics experts and experts on blood spatter - to try to prove that Pistorius had the direct intention to kill Steenkamp.