The brother of Oscar Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to killing a woman motorcyclist in a road crash.
Carl Pistorius denied culpable homicide or negligent killing and also to two alternative charges of driving in a reckless and inconsiderate manner.
The older brother of double-amputee Olympian Oscar Pistorius was accompanied by their younger sister, Aimee, and other relatives and friends for the first day of his trial at a court in Vanderbijlpark, south of Johannesburg.
Oscar Pistorius, who was charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14, was not present and has not been seen in public since he was granted bail on February 22. His lawyers plan to challenge his bail restrictions.
Carl’s trial was adjourned until next week to allow lawyer Kenneth Oldwadge, also part of Oscar’s defence team, to help prepare Oscar’s bail appeal at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.
Carl and Aimee arrived separately at the court but left together at the end of the hearing and declined to comment.
Carl chewed gum and spoke just once during the proceedings, to plead not guilty to the main charge and the two alternative charges.
Asked by Magistrate Buks du Plessis if he understood the main charge of culpable homicide against him, the 28-year-old Carl Pistorius replied: “I do, your worship, and I plead not guilty.”
Prosecutors say Carl Pistorius was driving 4x4 in March 2008 when he hit a motorcyclist in Vanderbijlpark. The woman, Maria Barnard, died in hospital six days after the accident.
The Pistorius family said last month that Carl deeply regretted the incident but insisted it was a “tragic accident.” He had not been drinking, the family said.
In court Mr Oldwadge said “the heart” of Carl Pistorius’ defence would be their claim that 36-year-old Ms Barnard, a member of a local motorcycling club, was intoxicated at the time of the accident and had been drinking during the day. He said she was the one driving recklessly.
Initial proceedings in Carl Pistorius’ trial had focused on a request by South Africa’s national broadcaster, SABC, to show the trial proceedings live on national television or record them for later use.
In opposing the application Mr Oldwadge said the legal team for Oscar Pistorius had been “overwhelmed by the media” during his bail hearing and that similar press scrutiny would make it difficult to work in court during the older brother’s case.
The athlete denies murdering Ms Steenkamp and says he shot her by mistake, fearing an intruder was in his home. Prosecutors say he killed her intentionally following an argument.
Oscar Pistorius must appear in court again on June 4. Brother Carl must return to the Vanderbijlpark court next Wednesday.