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Pistorius' prior police run-ins

February 20th, 2013
07:18 PM ET

By Samuel Burke, CNN

During the bail hearing for Oscar Pistorius in Pretoria on Wednesday, a South African police investigator testified about previous run-ins that the double amputee Olympian has had with police.

Detective Hilton Botha said in his testimony that Pistorius had accidentally fired a weapon at a restaurant in January, and alleged that Pistorius persuaded a friend to take responsibility - Pistorius denied those charges.

The investigator also said Pistorius had previously threatened violence in another incident in an altercation over a woman.

In 2009, Botha said he also investigated another incident, in which an unidentified woman had accused Pistorius of assault, but her claim could not be proved and the case was dropped without any charges being filed. 

READ MORE:  Who is Pistorius?

"It's as if when you're famous, or a celebrity, or of an athletic status, such as Oscar Pistorius, you have different rules applying to you," South African journalist Debora Patta said about attitudes in her country. Patta is the host of an investigative news program called "Third Degree," and spoke in an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.

"I think part of the problem is that South Africa wants its heroes to be unflawed. We want to believe so badly in this metaphor of inspiration that we overlook," she said. "We are so in love with that narrative that we actually don't look enough and deeply enough at the person behind it."

She says part of this problem is that the South Africa suffers from such extreme violence, so it's no wonder the country looks so desperately for inspiring stories, like the one of Pistorius overcoming adversity.

Rape and homicide plague the Rainbow Nation - it has one of the highest firearm-related death rates in the world according to the U.N.

Though most of the world had never heard about Pistorius’ previous run-ins with police, they had been reported in South Africa.

Patta believes these previous incidents were clearly seeds of some trouble.

"There were daemons that were driving this young man, Oscar Pistorius, who we know as a hero in South Africa. And yet there were signs of aggression." Patta said.

"The gun [incident] took place just a couple of weeks ago and that is incontrovertible. The gun was fired in an open public area. Oscar Pistorius disputes that he fired the gun." Patta said. "He says that it was a friend, but people who were with him said he did fired it. It was fired by accident, make no mistake, but the fact that a gun was being played around with in place public in it of itself is horrifying"

That fact that "song and dance" wasn't made about the incident is also indicative of South Africa's attitude toward these incidents, according to Patta. She believes an episode like this, where a gun is fired where an athlete was present, in another country would have provoked a public debate on gun proliferation.

The allegation in 2009 was not tested in a court of law - Oscar Pistorius was not as well known, not even in South Africa, at that time. Pistorius did speak openly about the incident according to Patta, claiming the incident was a misunderstanding, and even eventually no charges were filed.

"That too seems to have been dropped and just pushed under the carpet," Patta said. "And now when one looks back with, of course, the exact science of hindsight, it does seem that there were warning signs that at the very least that Oscar Pistorius displayed a significant amount of aggression and that were not people around him who were grounding him and pulling him back to earth."

RELATED: Fighting rape in South Africa's 'broken system'

Filed under:  Latest Episode • South Africa
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Philosopher

    I do not understand why a journalist's personal opinion is of any relevance to a news article. Third Degree is very much like a tabloid. Two thirds of this article is about the opinion of Debora Patta, who is not an expert in any field related to this case, or human behaviour. This certainly detracts from the potential merits of this article.

    February 20, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Reply
    • QuintoBlanco

      It gives an insight in a country that is not well known by many people in the USA and Europe. She is also giving useful background information. Yes, she is stating her opinion, but since the article isn’t masquerading her opinion as facts, the reader can decide how valid her statements are.

      Personally I’m not that interested in Oscar Pistorius, but I do care about the ramifications if he is not convicted. I’m afraid that if he is not convicted, more people will start using the “I thought my spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend was an intruder” defense.

      February 21, 2013 at 9:10 am | Reply
    • Gary Packwood

      It's because TV personality Debora Patta is the South African version of our TV personality Nancy Grace here in the U.S. who will and actually does say anything to advance the extreme feminist narrative that privileged white males with a swagger are the source of all evil.

      We have seen this before with the rumors, gossip and innuendo swirled around the athletes charged in the Duke University rape hoax. ... all advanced by Nancy Grace and her followers.

      We need to forget about the anti-male narrative and those who push that narrative and focus on the truth.

      It really is all about the truth.

      February 21, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Reply
    • lawyer

      your attack is unfounded. why not show that she was not telling the truth. Anyway, in SA money can buy you almost everything including psychopaths.

      February 21, 2013 at 8:54 pm | Reply
  2. Mike

    Pretty salacious and opinionated if you ask me. Debora going on another one of her tirades trying to make a name for herself.
    But I guess that is what sensational reporting is all about..

    February 20, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Reply
  3. raj

    Opps.. what happen to my comments

    February 21, 2013 at 12:52 am | Reply
  4. raj

    this is weird... i typed twice and it vanishes.. ha ha.

    February 21, 2013 at 12:57 am | Reply
    • Larry

      You probably need to type faster!

      February 21, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Reply
  5. Deliah

    Well,well,what do you know ?golden boy not so golden after all.

    February 21, 2013 at 8:40 am | Reply
  6. Janina

    Who is editing your articles, and what are they on?

    February 21, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Reply
  7. Todd Bobo

    The woman who filed charges four years ago was asked to leave a party and tripped or was shoved. The gun which discharged in a restaurant was in Pistorius' pants and went off by accident.
    This young man may be young, he may have been reckless, but there is no evidence so far that he intentiionally shot Reeva Steenkamp, no matter how improbable his explanation. It seems as if it may have been a horrible accident an over reaction to a misperceived threat. Literally let's wait until the jury is in, but still remember that a promising , beautiful young woman is dead. Nothing changes that fact...

    February 21, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Reply
  8. Ingrid

    Many moons ago, when going into a police station in SA (with a broken nose) I was told " we don't interfere in household pronlems" Needless to say, it complicated my life tremendously (and those of my childrens). NOTHING has changed in SA as far as violence against women is concerned.

    February 22, 2013 at 12:16 am | Reply
  9. raj


    February 22, 2013 at 12:55 am | Reply
  10. raj

    its wierd and funny... when i type few words it accepts and post when i write a para it shows page error.. yeuk

    February 22, 2013 at 12:56 am | Reply
  11. di

    outh Africa........not Gloves but Bat this time!...

    February 22, 2013 at 8:23 am | Reply
  12. Chiedozie Ebe

    Sometimes,a thorough investigation has to be carried out on an individuals precedents,for us to be really sure if they are actually capable of carrying out a crime of the type Oscar is being suspected of.Investigations,forensic research, behavioral history and depositions by on-d-spot witnesses are the major areas of police work that could help d justice dept. in uncovering d truth of what really happened that morning in Oscar's house.If they are thorough about these,and are not swayed by the personality of the individual,the truth will most definitely come to light.

    February 24, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Reply
  13. Adan Curle

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    May 4, 2013 at 7:21 am | Reply
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    October 15, 2013 at 10:59 pm | Reply
  15. increase soundcloud plays

    I do like the manner in which you have framed this situation plus it really does supply me personally some fodder for consideration. However, because of everything that I have seen, I simply wish as other opinions pack on that folks remain on point and in no way start upon a tirade regarding some other news du jour. Still, thank you for this fantastic point and even though I can not really go along with the idea in totality, I respect your standpoint.

    May 2, 2016 at 3:43 am | Reply

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