Pistorius' brother facing culpable homicide charge

3:41 PM, Feb 24, 2013   |    comments
Carl Pistorius watches as his brother, Olympian Oscar Pistorius, appears in South Africa court on Feb. 22. Oscar faces a premeditated murder charge in the death of his girlfriend.(Photo: Alexander Joe, AFP/Getty Images)
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The family of South African Paralympic hero Oscar Pistorius said Sunday that his older brother, Carl, is facing a charge of culpable homicide related to a 2008 mortorcyle-car crash, but said the charge will be vigorously contested.

The legal problems of Carl Pistorius came to light days after a judge granted bail to Oscar Pistorius, a double-amputee dubbed the "blade runner" for the carbon-fiber legs on which he runs.

Lawyer Kenny Oldwage said in a statement issued by public relations firm Vuma Reputation Management that Carl had been involved in a crash "in which a woman motorcyclist sadly lost her life." He said "there is no doubt that Carl is innocent and the charge will be challenged in court."

"Following the accident culpable homicide charges were brought against Carl Pistorius, but the charges were later withdrawn by the state," he said. The National Prosecuting Authority's deputy public prosecutor later reinstated the charges.

E-News Channel Africa reported that the case was provisionally withdrawn but was reinstated "under pressure from the woman's family" who felt there was evidence it was not just an accident but that there was alleged negligence on the part of Carl Pistorius.

"Carl deeply regrets the accident," Oldwage said, adding that the motorcyclist collided with Carl's car. The crash took place in Vanderbijlpark, an hour's drive south of Johannesburg.

Blood tests conducted by the police at the time proved that Carl Pistorius had not been under the influence of alcohol, South Africa's Mail and Guardian Online reported. The website said Carl Pistorius appeared in court on Thursday, the day before bail was granted to his brother, but that Carl's trial was postponed until the end of March.

Oscar Pistorius, 26, is charged with murder after shooting his model-girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, 29, through the bathroom door of his Pretoria home on Valentine's Day. He admits shooting Steenkamp but denies murder, saying he mistook her for an intruder. His next court date is scheduled for June 4.

On Sunday, a representative of the Pistorius family said two bouquets had been sent to Steenkamp's family the day before her funeral. One was from Oscar, the other from the Pistorius family. Both had handwritten notes, BBC reported.

On Saturday Steenkamp's mother, June, said she had received the flowers.

"But what does it mean?" she told BBC. "Nothing."

The Pritorius family has also struggled with social media. Family spokeswoman Janine Hills told the Mail and Guardian that Oscar's Twitter account was hacked.

"It is most unfortunate that during this sensitive time, someone would choose to hack into Oscar Pistorius's older brother Carl Pistorius's Twitter handle," Hills said.

The tweet, which read "Thank-you to every person that has prayed for both families, Osca" and had been posted under Carl's handle, has since been removed.

"Carl did not tweet this afternoon, out of respect to Oscar and Reeva (Steenkamp)," Hill said. She said the family has dropped all its Twitter.

On Sunday, a South African man who said Steenkamp had stayed at his home since September, described Oscar Pistorius as moody and impatient. Cecil Myers, whose daughter was close friends with Steenkamp, said in an interview published Sunday in the City Press newspaper, that Pistorius will have the killing of Steenkamp on his conscience. "I hope he gets a long sentence. Gets what he deserves," said Myers.

According to Myers, Steenkamp "told me he pushed her a bit into a corner. She felt caged in."

Myers said he told Oscar Pistorius "not to force himself on her. Back off." He said that after initially agreeing with him, it appeared that Pistorius soon took no heed.

Oscar Pistorius was born without fibula bones due to a congenital defect and his legs were amputated when he was 11 months old. He has run on carbon-fiber blades and was originally banned from competing against able-bodied peers because many argued that his blades gave him an unfair advantage. He was later cleared to compete.

He is a multiple Paralympic medalist, and won a silver medal at the 2011 Daegu world championships with South Africa's 4x400 relay team. He failed to medal at the London Olympics, where he ran in the 400-meter race and the 4x400 relay.

Contributing: Associated Press

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