Steenkamp’s family may sue Oscar in civil claim

AS Reeva Steenkamp’s heartbroken Port Elizabeth parents consider a civil claim against Oscar Pistorius, the Olympic star is set to challenge his bail conditions which his legal team have termed unwarranted and unfair.

Lawyers for Pistorius want to put an end to his compulsory drug and alcohol testing and his ban on travel. They would also like to see Pistorius able to move back into the house where Steenkamp was gunned down on Valentine’s Day.

Steenkamp’s father said yesterday he did not want to talk about any pending legal action. “I’m not saying anything. I don’t want to talk about this. Please consult [lawyer] Mike Venter,” he said.

Advocate Dup de Bruyn SC, who has also been retained by Steenkamp’s parents, confirmed talk of a civil claim had taken place.

“It is a consideration but nothing has been decided.

“Our clients are still very traumatised so we haven’t had time to really sit down and have a detailed consultation,” he said.

Venter said the nature and extent of relief that could be sought by Steenkamp’s parents was still to be determined.

Steenkamp’s uncle, Michael, who told CNN in an interview on Thursday night that he would forgive Pistorius for shooting and killing his niece regardless of the outcome in court, said he was unaware his brother was considering civil action.

However, he said he would support any decision the model’s family made.

“I stand by what I said on CNN but everyone’s views are different, especially bearing in mind they [Barry and June] are her parents. I can’t put myself in their shoes. It’s their child who will never be with them again.

“I will continue to support Barry and June whatever they decide to do.”

He said the couple were not doing well as they were still very traumatised by their daughter’s death.

“I phone them every day and they are not doing well at all. Basically at this point they just need all the support they can get from their family and friends. They are just taking one day at a time. Some days are more difficult for them then others.”

During the CNN interview, Steenkamp said he would like to be face to face with Pistorius to give him forgiveness.

“Whatever the outcome, I feel with my belief, and if Christ could forgive when he died on the cross, why can’t I?”

He said none of the Steenkamp family would be in court when Pistorius appears again on June 4.

“None of us are going to be represented at the court and the trial. None of us.

“We won’t be present. I can tell you that now and for that reason it’s not about the court case, it’s about Reeva.”

Asked about reports emerging of Pistorius’s past, Steenkamp said the less he knew the better.

It was reported last night that Pistorius’s lawyers would try to have several of his bail conditions scrapped or altered. In papers before the Pretoria High Court, his lawyers argued that the athlete should to be able to travel, given that Magistrate Desmond Nair found during his bail application two weeks ago that he was not a flight risk.

Pistorius’s legal team also said it should not be necessary for him to report to the Brooklyn police station in Pretoria.

The papers stated his team would seek an end to his supervision by a probation officer and to him submitting to compulsory drug and alcohol tests.

“There is no desire by [Pistorius] to use any prohibited substance or alcohol, but the condition imposed is not warranted or substantiated by facts,” the application reportedly read.

Pistorius would also ask the court to allow him to return to his Pretoria home where the shooting took place.

In an affidavit submitted as part of his bail application, the paralympian had said he thought he was firing at an intruder through a closed bathroom door.

Former investigating officer Hilton Botha yesterday said the door could have been a massive money spinner for police had they taken media up on offers to sell photos of it.

He said he was told some officers were offered $50 000 (R453 625). Botha said the door needed to be removed as evidence and for forensic tests to be conducted.

Pistorius was granted R1-million bail on February 22.

Steenkamp was cremated in an emotional private ceremony in Port Elizabeth on February 19.

This
is a version of an article that appeared in the print edition of the Weekend
Post on Saturday, March 9, 2013.

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