Oscar Pistorius is escorted by police during his court appearance in Pretoria on Friday. Picture: REUTERS
Oscar Pistorius is escorted by police during his court appearance in Pretoria on Friday. Picture: REUTERS

PARALYMPIC and Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius’s murder case has been postponed to Tuesday in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court, after a highly charged first appearance on Friday.

The postponement was granted to allow the defence time for further preparation, and to properly categorise the charge against him in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act.

He will remain in police custody at the Brooklyn police station until his appearance on Tuesday.

Family disputes claims

Mr Pistorius’ family and management company on Friday disputed claims he had murdered his girlfriend.

“The alleged murder is disputed in the strongest terms,” the family and In-Site Athlete Management said in a statement issued by a public relations company in London.

“These are now live and active legal proceedings, which must be allowed to take their course through the process of proper investigation by the police, evidence gathering, and through the local South African judicial system.”

The state intends to charge Mr Pistorius with premeditated murder after the death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court heard on Friday.

"Is the state’s argument premeditated murder?" magistrate Desmond Nair asked.

"Yes," said the prosecutor, Adv Gerrie Nel.

Mr Nair ruled against live broadcasts of Mr Pistorius’s court appearance.

"There will be no live recordings of these proceedings. We will permit only audio broadcasts of the judgment," Mr Nair said on Friday, as a sobbing Mr Pistorius sat nearby with his jaw clenched.

'No celebrity status here'

He is expected to bring a bail application next week.

There is also expected to be clarity on whether the crime he is charged with falls under section 5 or section 6 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

In terms of section 5, dealing with "serious" offences, the accused may only be granted bail if he produces evidence to satisfy the court that the interests of justice permit the release.

Section 6 deals with "extremely serious" crime and requires exceptional circumstances for bail to be granted.

The National Prosecution Authority said Mr Pistorius would not receive any special treatment.

“There is no celebrity status here. The case has been postponed to Tuesday to allow the accused to meet with defence in preparation of the bail application,” said National Prosecuting Authority regional communication manager Medupe Simasiku.

Last year, Mr Pistorius became the first double leg amputee to compete in the Olympic Games when he ran the 400m race in London, reaching the semifinal, and was part of the South African 4x400m relay team. When competing, he uses specially designed carbon-fibre prostheses, which gave rise to his nickname of “Blade Runner”.

He also took part in the London Paralympics, where he won two gold medals and one silver medal.

Mr Pistorius was arrested on Thursday after Steenkamp was shot dead in his home, at the Silver Woods Country Estate in Pretoria.

Mr Nair allowed photographs to be taken when the court was not in session, as well as audio recordings of argument and judgment.

Due to the increased media interest a media list was held at the door to control access to the court.

Among those who were in court was director of public prosecutions for North Gauteng Sibongile Mzinyathi and businessman Kenny Kunene.

As Mr Pistorius walked out of the dock, his father, Henke, reached out to him.

Mr Pistorius just walked on, teary-eyed.

With Sapa and Samuel Mungadze