Oscar Pistorius' brother Carl pleads not guilty in female motorcyclist road death trial


Carl Pistorius, the sharp suited brother of Paralympian double-amputee Oscar Pistorius, pleaded not guilty to a charge of culpable homicide for the death of a female motorcyclist in a 2008 road collision.

Chewing gum as he took copious notes during witness testimony on the first day of his trial, Carl looked confident, especially as his lawyer Kenny Oldwadge - who also represents his brother Oscar - subjected the state prosecution’s first witness to a thorough cross-examination.

The elder Pistorius brother is accused of driving an SUV recklessly in March 2008, when he collided with a female motorcyclist in Vanderbijlpark, south of Johannesburg, resulting her death six days later, after she was hospitalised for her injuries. Prosecutors say Carl Pistorius swerved his vehicle into Marietjie Barnard, who was overtaking him on her motorcycle, and she had no way to avoid him.

Although the case against Carl was initially removed from the court docket, it was re-added after forensic evidence and reports from the accident scene assisted officers to finalise their investigation, the prosecution said.

The defence, while cross-examining witness Anton Coetzee, a fellow member of Barnard’s motorcycling group who was with her during the incident, suggested that the 36-year-old woman was intoxicated during her ride - which was part of a group excursion - and was driving recklessly herself. Oldwadge said that their case would show, with the testimony of a motor accident reconstruction expert, that Barnard would have had to have been travelling at speeds of over 147 kilometres per hour on the stretch of open road.

Despite some harsh questioning by Oldwage of Coetzee in court, the state prosecution says they remain confident of success. “Remember, when we bring the case to court, we have enough evidence to say it can stand trial. And we can manage to win it if everything goes well, and accordingly,” Medupe Simasiku from the National Prosecuting Authority said.

The Pistorius family last month described the incident as a “tragic accident.”

Carl and his little sister Aimee, dressed in black, who also supported her brother Oscar in court throughout his recent bail hearing, declined to comment to The Independent as to how the family was holding up through both brothers’ legal proceedings.

Carl is expected to appear in the Vanderbijlpark Magistrates Court next on April 3rd, after the continuation of his trial was postponed to allow Oldwadge to be present in a Pretoria High Court today, appealing for changes brother Oscar Pistorius’ bail conditions.

Simasiku says they expect a verdict in Carl’s case within the next two weeks.