S.African court acquits brother of Oscar Pistorius

May 21, 2013, 10:09 AM EDT
Carl Pistorius, brother of Oscar Pistorius, the superstar double-amputee Olympic athlete who shot and killed his girlfriend and is accused of murder, stands inside the court for his culpable homicide case at the Magistrate Court in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa on Tuesday, May 21, 2013.(AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
(AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Oscar Pistorius' older brother cried tears of relief Tuesday as a magistrate acquitted him of culpable homicide and negligent driving for the death of a woman in a road accident.

The case attracted international interest because the two Pistorius two brothers — including double-amputee Olympics star Oscar — faced court cases for the deaths of two women.

The magistrate ruled that Carl Pistorius, 28, was not negligent and that Maria Barnard was driving her motorcycle excessively fast when she crashed into the back of his vehicle in March 2008.

Carl Pistorius' case was brought to court shortly after athlete Oscar Pistorius shot dead his girlfriend on Valentine's Day.

The spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority, Medupe Simasiku, denied that Carl Pistorius was only prosecuted because of his younger brother's high-profile murder case.

"I believe that despite the fact that the case got the media interest because of the younger brother's case in Pretoria, this case still ran its own course according to its own merit," Simasiku told The Associated Press.

Carl Pistorius' stepmother and sister hugged him in the court after Magistrate Buks du Plessis announced he was acquitted of all charges — culpable homicide as well as alternate charges of driving negligently and driving without consideration.

Pistorius said he felt for the family of the woman who died, regardless of who was responsible. "My heart goes to them," he said. "I do think of them, and I will continue thinking of them while I walk on this Earth, and I understand their loss and their pain and, regardless of whose responsibility it is, the pain doesn't diminish."

Barnard died in a hospital six days after the accident.

Simasiku said the state did not have an expert witness to counter a planned defense argument that Barnard actually died from lack of care in the hospital and not as a result of injuries sustained in the accident.

"We have lost the case," Simasiku said, adding that the National Prosecution Authority will take no further action.

Oscar Pistorius, meanwhile, is charged with premeditated murder in the shooting he says was accidental because he mistook model Reeva Steenkamp for a burglar.


Associated Press writer Gerald Imray contributed to this report from Stellenbosch, South Africa.