The older brother of South African Paralympic and Olympic athletic star Oscar Pistorius, who is himself accused of murdering his girlfriend, has been charged with culpable homicide for a 2010 road death.
Carl Pistorius, 28, was allegedly involved in a fatal collision with a woman motorcyclist while driving in the town of Vanderbijlpark, an hour’s drive south of Johannesburg, BBC News reports.
His trial had been due to begin last Thursday, a day before his famous brother was granted bail on a charge of premeditated murder over the Valentine’s Day killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
However, the trial has been pushed back a month and he is due to appear in court again at the end of March.
The Pistorius’ family lawyer, Kenny Oldwage, would only confirm that Carl is facing culpable homicide charges. But he refused to go into details.
“There is no doubt that Carl is innocent and the charge will be challenged in court,” Mr Oldwage said in a statement. “Carl deeply regrets the incident.”
Oldwage said police conducted tests on Carl Pistorius and he was found to have no alcohol in his blood at the time. He added that charges brought after the accident were dropped but were later reinstated by South African prosecutors.
Carl Pistorius holds a computer science degree at the University of London and another in accounting at Pretoria University, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports.
The shocking announcement adds to the Pistorius family’s problems even as Oscar Pistorius, the 26-year-old double amputee athlete known as “Blade Runner,” was released on one million rand ($112,770) bail on Friday. He is due back in court on June 4.
Following Oscar Pistorius’ release, Carl was seen driving to the home of their Uncle Arnold early on Sunday in Waterkloof, a suburb in the capital, Pretoria, where Oscar is staying.
Meanwhile in a case that has enthralled much of the world, Oscar Pistorius maintains that he shot Steenkamp accidentally, only opening fire after mistaking her for a burglar.
According to The Guardian, the Pistorius family began withdrawal efforts from social media on Saturday, following claims that Carl’s Twitter account had been hacked. They have now shut down all social media accounts connected to Oscar’s brother and his sister Aimee.
Reportedly Carl Pistorius was a constant presence in court last week during his brother’s four-day bail hearing in Pretoria, along with Aimee and their father Henke.
At various points during the hearings when Oscar broke down in tears in the dock, Carl would lean forward and put his hand on his brother’s shoulder.
Some of Steenkamp’s relatives have lashed out at the Pistorius family, with her uncle Michael criticizing them for not contacting the Steenkamp family after the fatal shooting.
According to South Africa’s City Press newspaper, Michael Steenkamp said:
“They have not offered their condolences, nor made a simple phone call to us,” although AFP notes the Pistorius family did send two bouquet of flowers along with handwritten notes.
On Saturday the parents of Reeva Steenkamp spoke to a local newspaper from their family home in Port Elizabeth.
The model’s mother June said she had received the flowers but asked, “But what does it mean? Nothing.”
Reeva’s father, Barry, was quoted saying, “If it didn’t happen the way he [Oscar] said it did, he must suffer, and he will suffer … only he knows.”
The Pistorius family has yet to comment publicly on the charges against Carl.