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Oscar Pistorius bail appeal on Thursday, brother Carl's trial starts a day earlier

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JOHANNESBURG - Oscar Pistorius' appeal against his bail conditions will be heard on the same day his older brother Carl is due in another South African court to stand trial for culpable homicide.

The double-amputee Olympic athlete's legal team will challenge some of his bail conditions at the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday, the family lawyer told The Associated Press.

Carl's trial is set for Wednesday and Thursday next week in a court south of Johannesburg, the lawyer and prosecutors said.

The concurrent cases will thrust the family into another media frenzy, even if multiple Paralympic champion Oscar — charged with murder in the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last month — is not required to appear at his bail appeal.

Family lawyer Kenny Oldwadge told The Associated Press on Friday they now have confirmation from the North Gauteng High Court that the appeal is scheduled for March 28 at that High Court, where Oscar's defence team will challenge his travel restrictions and the requirement that he must report twice a week to a police station, among other conditions.

Oscar Pistorius hasn't been seen in public since he was granted bail at Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Feb. 22.

The next part of the 26-year-old runner's sensational case — which continues to grip South Africans and much of the world — will take place while brother Carl is in Vanderbijlpark Magistrate's Court facing a culpable homicide charge for alleged negligent driving in the death of a 36-year-old woman in a road collision in 2008.

The 28-year-old Carl denies the charges and Oldwadge said he would lead Carl's defence at the trial.

The concurrent dates for the Pistorius brothers had also stretched the family's legal team, Oldwadge said, and provided them with significant logistical problems as they prepared for cases in the two cities.

"We didn't suggest it (the date for Oscar's appeal) but we were forced into it because of the need to get the appeal heard as soon as possible," Oldwadge said.

He said there was "no need" for Oscar to appear in court in the bail appeal.

Oscar's legal team filed an appeal against some of his bail conditions on March 7, objecting to him being not allowed to travel outside of South Africa even though a magistrate said he was not a flight risk when granting him 1 million rand ($108,000) bail last month. They're also challenging an alcohol ban and a ruling that Pistorius cannot speak with residents at the gated Silverwoods Country Estate, where he shot Steenkamp dead in his house in the early hours of Feb. 14.

Pistorius' lawyers say he should be able to consult with residents to be able to prepare his defence. He denies the murder charge. They also object to the ruling that he has to report twice a week to the Brooklyn Police Station in Pretoria, where he was held after his arrest.

Pistorius has been staying at his uncle's house in an upmarket Pretoria suburb since he was released on bail. He must appear in court again on June 4, but his lawyers argued in their appeal that forcing him to go to the police station only serves to "expose" him with "no added benefit to the criminal justice system."

Pistorius denies murdering Steenkamp and says he shot her by mistake fearing an intruder was in his home. Prosecutors say he killed her intentionally following a loud argument in the early hours of Valentine's Day.

State prosecutors also believe they have a case against Carl, who they argue was driving negligently, National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Medupe Simasiku told the AP on Friday.

Simasiku said the older Pistorius brother was driving a Ford Ranger SUV in March 2008 when he collided with a female motorcyclist. The woman, Marietjie Barnard, died in a hospital and although the culpable homicide charge against Carl was initially dropped, it was reinstated this year because forensic evidence and reports from the accident scene were now available, Simasiku said.

"According to the investigation we have, there is a case against (Carl) Pistorius," Simasiku said.

The Pistorius family said last month that Carl deeply regretted the incident but insisted it was a "tragic accident." He was not under the influence of alcohol, the family said.

Simasiku, who is the spokesman for the prosecution in both Pistorius cases, also said the scheduling of legal proceedings involving both brothers in the same week was not intentional.

"(Carl's trial) was scheduled way before Oscar," he said. "People may think ... that we were trying to run them concurrently. The case has been there for a very long time, scheduled way before the younger brother. It has nothing to do with Oscar."

___

Follow Gerald Imray at www.twitter.com/GeraldImrayAP

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