New dent in Oscar’s bathroom door casts doubt on cops’ forensic ability

2014-03-12 16:49

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The Oscar Pistorius murder trial today heard for the first time how the police may have botched a key piece of evidence in the trial.

Colonel Johannes Vermeulen, a police forensic scientist, admitted under cross-examination that there was a “significant” mark that mysteriously appeared on the bathroom door, while it was in the custody of the police forensic science lab.

A legal source with experience in criminal law told City Press that the admission was “very bad” and cast serious doubt on the police’s forensic ability in relation to all the other marks on the door.

The bathroom door, the panels of which were found torn out at the crime scene and lying on the floor, has been reconstructed in the courtroom.

Roux pointed out a dent, which had been made in the far right panel of the door, as it stood in court.

He then referred to a crime scene photograph in which the same panel of the door is visible, lying in a pool of blood in Pistorius’ bathroom.

Roux then asked Vermeulen to show the court where the mark on the door, clearly visible in court, was located on the same panel in the photograph.

“It’s not on this photo,” replied Vermeulen.

Roux then asked if Vermeulen would admit the mark was “quite an invasive mark”.

“It’s significant”, responded Vermeulen.

Roux said this showed something had happened to the door while it was in the safekeeping of the police department. Vermeulen conceded as much.

Roux also showed a photo in which a boot print “consistent with that of a police boot” was visible on the door, something which he said had been wiped away.

Roux put it to Vermeulen that another mark on the door was caused by Pistorius trying to kick the door down with his prosthesis.

He admitted that he had not analysed this mark but said it could have been made by Pistorius carrying Steenkamp out of the bathroom and stepping on a panel.

Earlier, he had testified that the marks on the door were consistent with someone not wearing prostheses hitting the door.

This contradicts what Pistorius had said in his bail application, which was that he had his prosthetic legs on when he hit the door with the bat.

Read: Did Oscar Pistorius lie about prosthetic legs?

The cross-examination will continue tomorrow.

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