Oscar Pistorius: Roux, Nel ready to fire last salvos

2014-08-06 20:58

The murder trial of paralympian Oscar Pistorius will enter its last stages tomorrow when closing arguments will be presented in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

During cross-examination, the athlete took the blame for the death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp: “I blame myself for taking Reeva’s life”.

On July 8, Judge Thokozile Masipa ruled that no heads of argument could be published in print or electronic media until the commencement of the arguments in court.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel accused Pistorius of killing Steenkamp “in cold blood”.

Nel said the court should find that Pistorius’s account of the shooting on Valentine’s Day last year was “so improbable that it could not reasonably, possibly be true”.

“She was locked into the bathroom and you armed yourself with the sole purpose of shooting and killing her. That is what you did,” said Nel.

Nel said neighbours, who testified that they heard blood-curdling screams, in fact heard Steenkamp’s cries when she tried to “escape” from Pistorius.

Pistorius testified that he was the one who was screaming as he tried to break down the toilet door, trying to reach Steenkamp after the shooting.

Barry Roux SC, for Pistorius, told the court that decibel tests were done on the athlete to prove that he screams like woman when he is anxious.

During the trial, Nel accused Pistorius of faking emotional distress on the witness stand because he knew his version of why he shot and killed Steenkamp did not hold water.

Pistorius protested that he had become emotional because he was recalling a traumatic event.

Pistorius’s defence also threw their share of blows to the State’s case.

Roux accused a former police officer of using his testimony to spare the State the embarrassment of calling to the stand a colleague who had compromised evidence.

“You allowed yourself to give evidence that was designed to take the place of Mr Botha,” said Roux to former police colonel Giliam van Rensburg during cross-examination.

He was referring to Hilton Botha, the investigator who was dropped from the high-profile case last year after he admitted to contaminating the scene.

Roux also questioned Van Rensburg on the reliability of photos taken at the crime scene and asked if they could be relied on.

Roux said there were contradictions in evidence submitted by radiologist Johan Stipp, who was one of the first people to arrive on the scene.

He accused witnesses of tailoring their evidence.

Pistorius underwent a month-long psychiatric evaluation at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital, after which the court heard he did not suffer from general anxiety disorder.

The State closed its case on March 25 after it called 21 of the 107 witnesses on its witness list.

The witnesses included Pistorius’s neighbours, a security guard at his estate, the pathologist, ballistics expert, cellphone expert, Pistorius’s ex-girlfriend and former friends.

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