Oscar Pistorius leaves the Pretoria High after court proceedings were ajourned for lunch break on the third day of his murder trial. Picture: Antoine de Ras, 05/03/2014

Pretoria - Oscar Pistorius is a man used to the limelight, having a barrage of photographers and television cameras in his face. But this week he was a far cry from the smiling hero the world had known.

There are clearly two camps attending his trial – some who passionately believe in his innocence and others who, in no uncertain terms, voice what they feel his fate should be.

Everyone also has their own take on his demeanour in court.

“Would you not say he is full of himself?” someone asked as Pistorius walked into court on Wednesday and took his seat in the dock. Another said he wore the face of a defeated man.

Looking closely at the lonely figure in the dock, it is clear he is taking strain.

Perhaps it is because he has to face a few hundred media cameras and members of the public as he makes his way into and out of court each day. Perhaps it is because he knows he is fighting for his freedom.

At one stage this week, he wiped tears from his cheeks as he sat in the dock. On another occasion, before the start of the day’s proceedings, he sat quietly with his face in one of his hands, mumbling to himself. Speculation was that he was saying a prayer.

Then there is the odd occasion when he manages a smile for his family, sitting directly behind him.

Throughout his trial, Pistorius sits with his notepad on his lap, writing as State witnesses give their evidence. From time to time he hands notes to his defence team.

It was clear that the encouraging squeeze of the shoulder he received from Barry Roux SC before the start of Wednesday’s proceedings was welcome.

But lunchtimes and the end of the day’s proceedings, when he has to make his way from court, are clearly tense times for him.

On Wednesday, Pistorius had to face a media frenzy, together with a horde of members of the public. The court orderlies now hold him back in court for a few minutes until the police have lined up outside to try to shield him from the stampede.

It was a haunted-looking Pistorius who, during lunchtime on Wednesday, tried to make his way to the advocates’ chambers in Madiba Street. He was flanked by police and a bodyguard as hundreds of onlookers and members of the media virtually chased him up the street.

Pistorius, who was nearly knocked over, looked straight ahead as he walked to the chambers.

The National Prosecuting Authority promised last week that he would not receive preferential treatment. Although he is allowed to enter the court from a side door, there are no other privileges.

He is not even shielded from an odd fan in court. One of them rushed past police to the off-limits area in front during a tea break this week and grabbed a surprised Pistorius’s hand. He shook it vigorously before making his way back to the public gallery.

Pretoria News