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Pistorius hearing: Not just another day at court

By Hamilton Wende, special for CNN
updated 2:32 PM EDT, Tue June 4, 2013
  • S. African court grants prosecution's request to postpone Pistorius' case
  • The track star is accused of premeditated murder in the death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
  • Some outside the court complain attention on case interferes with normal judicial procedure
  • South African authorities keen to be seen treating Pistorius the same as other citizens

Pretoria, South Africa (CNN) -- The business of the Oscar Pistorius hearing lasted some 20 minutes -- not that long when it comes to court procedure, but it is the ongoing scrutiny and widespread international attention that is bothering many South Africans.

As the scrum of media and curious onlookers gathered around Court 'C' of the Pretoria Magistrate's Court, there were many others who simply wanted Pistorius to leave so that their own cases could proceed.

"It's unfair. It's just not on," one woman said angrily to anyone who would listen. "I'm here for my maintenance case and nothing is happening because of this," she added, pointing to the crowd.

"I don't like it," another man said. "But it's understandable. It's Oscar. The world has filled stadiums to see him, so we can expect this."

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A lawyer standing nearby disagreed. "This is completely unacceptable. The business of this court has come to a complete standstill. It is unfair to many people who just want to have their cases heard."

The reactions of those outside Court 'C' cut to the heart of the South African state's dilemma with this case. They are determined to treat Pistorius as much as possible like every other citizen, insisting that he arrive at court through the main entrance and refusing to allow him to escape public scrutiny by taking a side entrance.

And yet Oscar Pistorius is not like any normal citizen; rather he is a global figure who has fallen from grace and South Africa and the world now eagerly watch his every move. From the moment it was discovered that he had shot Reeva Steenkamp on Valetines Day, the developing court case against him has been covered intensely by the media. "Over the top and grossly inappropriate," is how his lawyer Brian Webber described the coverage.

But Lulama Luti, a spokeswoman for the South African justice department said: "This court case involves an international athlete. We have to deal with it as best we can. We must ensure that there is access to what is happening in our courts. That is what our constitution requires."

Oscar Pistorius' next court appearance is scheduled for August 19. Ironically it would have been Reeva Steenkamp's birthday.

READ: Who is 'Blade Runner' Oscar Pistorius?

READ: Judge in 'Blade Runner' Pistorius case warns of 'trial by media'

READ: Pistorius family 'shaken' by leak of crime scene photos

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