Oscar Pistorius Murder Trial: Day 1 Delayed by Lack of Interpreter

Mark PattersonUK Staff WriterMarch 3, 2014

Oscar Pistorius is watched by June Steenkamp, right, the mother of Reeva Steenkamp, as he arrives for his trial at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, March 3, 2014. Pistorius is charged with murder with premeditation in the shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine's Day 2013. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, Pool)
Themba Hadebe/Associated Press

The Oscar Pistorius murder trial begins in South Africa today, with the eyes of the world on the famed Paralympian, who stands accused of the premeditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The trial comes just over a year after the shooting, and after an extraordinary bail hearing in which it was laid bare how much public interest there was in the case.

Preparations were made, and there was even a ruling that the case could be televised.

But there was no Afrikaans-speaking interpreter ready, and so the start was delayed:

Delay in court proceedings for Pistorius - trying to find an Afrikaans interpreter....you'd think they might have thought of this earlier

— Tom Steinfort (@tomsteinfort) March 3, 2014

#OscaPistorius The Afrikaans interpreter had no warning that they would be used in the Pistorius trial

— Debora Patta (@Debora_Patta) March 3, 2014

It subsequently emerged that there had been an interpreter in place, but according to Sky News' Alex Crawford, the size of the trial had given her cold feet:

#OscarPistorius We're told the interpreter arrived at court, saw the melee, burst into tears and said she couldnt do it

— Alex Crawford (@AlexCrawfordSky) March 3, 2014

It's not South Africa's first problem with an interpreter—back in December an sign language interpreter at the Nelson Mandela funeral was accused of being a fake, making up gestures with his hands, and, as NBC reported, subsequently admitted to a psychiatric hospital.