Oscar Pistorius’ 31 seconds of silence

2014-04-13 06:00

Thirty-one seconds. That’s how long Oscar Pistorius was silent when asked by Prosecutor Gerrie Nel if he heard Reeva Steenkamp scream after he fired the first of four shots that killed her.

Late on the third day of what has been a ­sustained and brutal cross-examination, Nel said: “Are you sure, Mr Pistorius, that Reeva didn’t scream after you fired the first shot?”

Oscar slumped back in his chair and kept quiet for 31 seconds. Court GD in Pretoria was ­utterly silent.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqGR3V2gRb4

On the audio recording, all that can be heard is Nel again asking “Are you sure?” after five seconds of silence had passed.

Eleven seconds later, a man can be heard taking a deep breath and slowly exhaling.

Surprisingly, it is Nel who breaks the silence to come to Pistorius’ rescue, saying: “My Lady, I’m ­giving the witness time to console himself, he is distressed”.

“I wouldn’t have done that,” said an ­experienced former prosecutor.

“I would have kept quiet and counted and then when he finally said something, I would have said: ‘That took you four and a half minutes. What were you thinking about?’’’

I thought that was the ­moment he was going to crack, the former prosecutor added.

» Get City Press newspaper today for the full story, including the similarities between Nel’s strategy in the Pistorius case and the Jackie Selebi case.

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