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How Oscar Pistorius' solicitor hurt his client and why it may not matter

Oscar Pistorius sits solemnly in court as he waits to learn his future.
Oscar Pistorius sits solemnly in court as he waits to learn his future.
Photo by Pool/Getty Images

By now most everyone interested in the Oscar Pistorius case has heard about his altercation in the VIP Room at the Michelangelo Towers in Sandton, Johannesburg with Jared Mortimer while the runner's trial is on hiatus at the North Gauteng High Court. And the news has made the rounds that the athlete's family admits it was "unwise" their loved one was out at a public bar, which essentially invited such a situation, but they felt he did it because he was "lonely," according to a July 16 report from the AFP via MSN.

What isn't really being discussed, however, is how the solicitors of the former South African paralympic athlete have let their client down, regardless of his own participation to that end. And how that does not absolve Oscar of the need to be his own best defense, either, of course. And what this will mean to the judge.

The Citizen did opine that "if you are on trial for murder, the last thing you should be doing is looking for trouble in a nightclub." And an attorney weighing in on the matter named Llewellyn Curlewis reminds readers that:

One of the most basic bail conditions is that the person cannot involve themselves in further criminal acts."

The athlete's family spokeswoman Anneliese Burgess insist that in regards to the recent bar fight, Oscar felt Mortimer had:

"Started to aggressively interrogate him on matters relating to the trial" at the time of the incident. But that even though Pistorius asked to be left alone, he was not, so he left the club with his cousin after the altercation, according to Fox Sports.

Burgess also stated that:

My client regrets the decision to go to a public space and thereby inviting unwelcome attention."

Hindsight is always 20/20, of course. But when Pistorius' murder case first garnered media attention and court intervention, a ban was placed on the runner preventing him from leaving the country and using drugs or alcohol. And there was an excellent reason for that: to help him not incriminate himself any further. And that ban, if his attorneys had not sought to have it lifted, would have helped prevent the man on trial from implicating himself in any future scandals, as he now faces.

But Pistorius wanted the ability to earn money and continue in his sport while awaiting trial, and that is understandable, as he did have to pay for a defense, so he needed to put money in his pocket. And he must have needed to have something else to take his mind off of the murder of his law graduate girlfriend. So getting the ban lifted on travel outside the country made sense for him professionally.

CNN reported on March 29, 2013 that Judge Bert Bam agreed with Oscar Pistorius' attorney Berry Roux that there was no reason the competitor should not be able to travel overseas if a sports-related event opportunity was available for his participation. And the judge even said Mr. Roux, Oscar's solicitor, could be the holder of Reeva Steenkamp's killer's passport, rather than the Court. But where Oscar's attorney erred in this case appears to be on pushing to have the ban lifted for alcohol consumption.

At that time, when the bans were lifted, it was being reported that it was a "victory for the athlete's legal team." Most would hardly call it a victory for the murder defendant now that his ability to drink alcohol in public settings has resulted in yet another incident that makes him look like State advocate Gerrie Nel continues to portray: someone out of control.

But Fox Sports also reported recently that "the altercation in the nightspot cannot be a factor in Pistorius' trial," according to a legal analyst.

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