The tension in the Pretoria courtroom reached its peak in the closing hours of Pistorius hearing

After 105 minutes of summing up, the defence counsel captured the feelings of people all over the world when he said 'I'm just glad it's over'

Related Topics

There was a history of bail in the South African legal system dating back to the 17th century and a reference to the impact of the Boer War.

There was a detailed rehearsal of the arguments of defence and prosecution that seemed not to want to end. There was even an abrupt bathroom break at a moment of excruciating tension that provoked groans from the hardy patrons of Court C. The red-robed magistrate, Desmond Nair, was acutely aware of his global audience as he delivered his ruling in Oscar Pistorius’s bail hearing. He took his 15 minutes of fame and stretched them out to 105.

When the moment finally came it found the fallen hero, whose sobbing has been testimony to his stamina as well as his inner turmoil, becalmed. His grey-suited shoulders shook, his head dropped and he said nothing. His family, who have sat within touching distance of him during proceedings, showed relief rather than joy. It was left to the hulking frame of Fubes Danor, a family friend acting as bodyguard to the Pistorius clan, to shout, “Yes”.

The mixture of raw emotion, slow-paced procedural law and extraordinary tension that marked the rest of the week was given its fullest expression in the closing hours. Defence counsel Barry Roux, the top-dollar attorney who was the star turn of the bail hearings, captured the feelings of people all over the world when he said: “I’m just glad it’s over.”

From the reporters whose voluminous Tweets have fed the global appetite for forensic detail to the haunted court clerks who fought losing battles to bring order to the court, no one had experienced anything quite like it. Each day had begun with a battle to make it beyond the scrum of bystanders and cameras, under the striped tape, past the exhausted security men and through the heavy wooden doors of Court C.

In the gallery, among the Pistorius women in the best of their wardrobes were the green-swathed ladies of ANC women’s league, and the gangster chic of Kenny Kunene, Johannesburg’s “Mr Sushi”, an ex-convict turned impresario. In the claustrophobic heat, the effect was something between a television reality show and a Bikram yoga studio.

Mr Nair, by turns teased and indulged the media desperate for fresh pictures of the accused. No images were allowed while the magistrate was in court but at dramatic moments in proceedings when the Paralympian wept openly the canny magistrate would up and leave the court before Mr Pistorius, thereby exposing him to a barrage of flash photography. It was a stationary equivalent of what is known in the United States as the “perp walk”.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
With an eye for strategy: Stephen Fry’s General Melchett and Rowan Atkinson’s Edmund Blackadder  

What Cameron really needs is to turn this into a khaki election

Matthew Norman
An Italian policeman stands guard as migrants eat while waiting at the port of Lampedusa to board a ferry bound for Porto Empedocle in Sicily. Authorities on the Italian island of Lampedusa struggled to cope with a huge influx of newly-arrived migrants as aid organisations warned the Libya crisis means thousands more could be on their way  

Migrant boat disaster: EU must commit funds to stop many more dying

Alistair Dawber
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own