JUSTICE IN SOUTH AFRICA
South Africa is one of a few countries in the world that that has a court system that takes root in Roman-Dutch law. Because of this, those appearing in criminal trials do not have the option of a jury trial, common in the United States and other countries. Instead, a single judge will hear the entire case and then rule on a person's guilt or innocence. The judge can be assisted by two advisers during the trial. Typically, those advisers offer assistance in looking at the more technical aspects of the evidence given at trial. If found guilty, a person can later appeal the ruling or the sentence they receive. A premeditated murder charge carries a minimum sentence of life in prison. There is no death penalty in South Africa.
REACTION TO THE CASE
The day of the shooting, companies quickly removed billboards and advertising featuring Pistorius. One pulled an Internet ad for Nike showed Pistorius starting to sprint in his blades, with the caption: "I am the bullet in the chamber." Pistorius' agent was forced to cancel all the athlete's future scheduled races. Pistorius' sponsors — including big-name brands like Nike and eyewear manufacturer Oakley — are sticking by him, the agent said.
AP Sports Writer Gerald Imray contributed to this report.
Jon Gambrell can be reached at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP .
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