SA woman organization demands justice in Pistorius murder case

2013-02-23 00:21:53 GMT2013-02-23 08:21:53(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

By Ntandoyenkosi Ncube

JOHANNESBURG, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- The ruling African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL) on Friday vowed to continue its fight for justice in paralympian Oscar Pistorius' murder of his girl friend Reeva Steenkamp.

The ANCWL made the remarks after the Pretoria Magistrate's Court granted Pistorius bail, rejecting the State's argument that the athlete would flee the country once granted bail.

"ANCWL respects the decision of the court to grant Oscar Pistorius bail. We would, however, like to express our disappointment in the conduct of the investigating officer who seemed unprofessional and unprepared during his cross examination, " ANCWL head of communications Troy Martens said in a statement.

She was referring to Hilton Botha, the previous major investigator in Pistorius' murder case. Botha, himself was charged with attempted murder while investigating a 2011 murder case, has been replaced.

At Friday's hearing, chief magistrate Desmond Nair said Botha did not spend enough time showing that Pistorius had a propensity to commit violence.

To charge Pistorius with a history of violent acts, Botha brought reports of alleged vulgar language and threats and a gun discharged under a table, but did not provide details, Nair said.

The magistrate blamed Botha for failing to articulate and gather the evidence professionally.

Pistorius was charged with killing his girl friend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14 in his Pretoria home. But the double amputee argued in an affidavit that he shot Steenkamp, mistaking him for a burglar.

"We remain vigilant in our demand for justice in the murder case of Reeva Steenkamp and are satisfied that the charges remain a schedule 6 offense carrying a possible life sentence if found guilty, "the ANCWL said.

Nair's decision to grant Pistorius bail was applauded by Pistorius's relatives and supporters.

What is particularly distressing for the ANCWL is the reaction of some men in court who jumped up and celebrated the granting of bail "as if they had won a trophy, forgetting that an innocent woman has lost her life," the statement said.

The 26-year-old Olympian was granted bail at about 114,000 U.S. dollars. His case has been postponed until June 4.

Pistorius was ordered to hand over firearms and passports, avoid his home and all witnesses in the case, report to a police station twice a week and not to drink alcohol.

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