JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The brother of Olympic star Oscar Pistorius is facing a culpable homicide charge for a 2008 road death, compounding problems for the family after the double-amputee runner was charged with premeditated murder in the Feb. 14 shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Lawyer Kenny Oldwage said in a statement that Carl had been involved in a car accident “in which a woman motorcyclist sadly lost her life.” He said that “there is no doubt that Carl is innocent and the charge will be challenged in court.”
Carl Pistorius was already in court last Thursday, as his brother Oscar was facing a bail hearing, and will appear again at the end of next month.
Oscar Pistorius was released on bail Friday and his brother Carl was seen driving into the home of their uncle Arnold early Sunday in Waterkloof, an affluent suburb of Pretoria, the nation’s capital, where Oscar is now staying.
The problems surrounding his older brother Carl are the latest twist in a case that has transfixed South Africa and much of the world. Sunday’s revelation of the culpable homicide charge immediately created a stir.
“It’s also doubly sad because it’s involved with Oscar and his brother and all the family — so they have double sort of trouble. So, not good,” said Johannesburg resident Jim Plester.
Oldwage said that “Carl deeply regrets the accident” and that a blood test showed he was not drunk at the time. “It was a tragic road accident after the deceased collided with Carl’s car.”
He said the charges had initially been dropped, only to be reinstated later.
Oscar Pistorius was charged with premeditated murder, but the athlete says he killed his girlfriend accidentally, opening fire after mistaking her for an intruder in his home.
On Saturday, the family took steps to lower its profile on social media after someone hacked into the Twitter account of Carl. They cancelled all the social media sites for both Oscar’s brother and his sister Aimee.
Carl has always been close to Oscar but was notably absent when their uncle Arnold, flanked by Oscar’s sister Aimee, read out a first reaction to the shooting on Feb. 17, even though he was also on the premises.
The three-story house where Pistorius is staying with his aunt and uncle sits on a hill with a sweeping view of Pretoria. It has a large swimming pool and an immaculate garden.
The character of Pistorius also continued to take center stage. For many, it mirrors his public appearances as an articulate, well-spoken advocate for Paralympic athletes facing hardship. Witness statements backing up Oscar Pistorius as a down-to-earth guy were presented at the hearing.
Others have described him as a reckless risk taker who has been in trouble before, such as a boat accident in 2009 which put him into hospital intensive care unit.
On Sunday, a South African man who said Steenkamp had stayed at his home since September, described 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.
“Very nice and charming to us when they started dating,” said Myers. Myers said Pistorius initially used to come into the house but later just dropped Steenkamp off and picked her up when they began to date steadily, and he described the change as a lack of respect.
Myers recalled their first date and told the newspaper: “After that he wouldn’t leave her alone. He kept pestering her, phoning and phoning and phoning her.”
According to Myers, Steenkamp “told me he pushed her a bit into a corner. She felt caged in.”
Myers said he told 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.
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 4×400 relay team. But he failed to win a medal at the London Olympics, where he ran in the 400 meter race and the 4×400 relay race.