Oscar arrives for judgment day
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Pretoria - Oscar Pistorius arrived inside Courtroom GD at the High Court in Pretoria just after 9am, appearing fairly calm and smiling as he greeted his lawyers.
Advocate Kenny Oldwadge smiled and grabbed the athlete's arm in what appeared to be an attempt to reassure his client.
Carl Pistorius was wheeled next to his brother's legal team because of space constraints in the room, but the siblings only spoke for a few seconds before the athlete sat in the dock. The weekend prior to closing arguments in August, Carl was involved in a serious accident that left him critically injured.
It was chaotic outside the court earlier on Thursday morning, with journalists, self-proclaimed “Pistorians” and other onlookers flooding the street outside.
While the initial days of the trial attracted a similar amount of attention, as the proceedings continued, both media and public interest in attending court waned.
However, Thursday marks the day that Judge Thokozile Masipa will start her judgment over whether the Paralympian is guilty of murdering his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
After more than a month of deliberation, Masipa will have decided if Pistorius's version of events - that he was deathly afraid of an intruder he believed had broken into his house, prompting the shooting - is true.
The prosecution, led by advocate Gerrie Nel, has spent months arguing, however, that Pistorius and Steenkamp were in the middle of a passionate argument, and that the athlete chose to murder her in cold blood.
Masipa's judgment is expected to summarise the entire court case in detail, meaning it is unlikely a verdict could be delivered by the end of court proceedings on Thursday.
However, the possibility that a verdict could be delivered soon has attracted visitors from across the province.
Lena Weideman and her 20-year-old daughter, Marleyna, travelled from Boksburg to attend court.
Lena had taken a day off from work, with the duo leaving home at 2.30am on Thursday morning to show their support for Pistorius.
As self-proclaimed “Pistorians”, both mother and daughter are sure of the athlete's innocence and believe that Judge Masipa will “set him free”.
“It was an accident and everyone should know that,” said Marleyna.
“He's a very softhearted, humble person… our thoughts will be with him,” said Lena.
Before entering the courthouse, one elderly woman wearing a black fascinator hat had put up a brightly painted banner with balloons attached on the bus stop outside, which read:
“Oscar, you were, you are, will always be inspirational, a hero.”
Court officials and the opposing legal teams had clearly predicted the flurry of media that would be surrounding the court, with Masipa spotted arriving before 7am, and Nel and his fellow prosecutor Andrea Johnson already inside the courthouse before 8am.
At just after 8.15am, the Steenkamp family arrived at court, with Reeva's mother June, stoically pacing past the contingent of photographers with minimal expression on her face.
Defence advocate Barry Roux and his team waltzed past the media and the courthouse, presumably to their usual coffee spot, Tribeca.
Journalists from across the world had set up their broadcast vans outside the court, the street continuing to fill with well-dressed correspondents performing live-crossings as they waited for proceedings to begin at 9.30am.