Oscar trial: Steenkamps are anxious, ‘waiting for this period to end’

2014-09-09 09:34

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Paralympian Oscar Pistorius let his defence team down when he testified in his murder trial, a lawyer said ahead of the start of his judgment on Thursday.

“The fact that he broke down is understandable, but the problem is that he kept changing his version. I think he was actually a good state witness,” advocate with the Bridge Group, Mannie Witz said.

“The defence argued their case very well, but their client let them down because he was not a good witness.”

Witz said Pistorius had to stick to the version he gave during his bail application. At the time he said he thought an intruder was behind the door of the toilet in his Pretoria home when he shot through it.

He fired four times, killing his model and law-graduate girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14 2013.

The state said the murder was premeditated. Judge Thokozile Masipa will begin handing down judgment in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Thursday.

When the trial started on March 3, Pistorius pleaded not guilty to the murder charge and to three firearm-related charges.

Senior lecturer at the University of Cape Town, Kelly Phelps, said the defence did a good job at “pulling together the various strands of evidence into a coherent narrative”.

“Reading their heads of argument handed in at the close of the trial I think they have highlighted the purpose behind each witness’s testimony very clearly,” she said.

“I think there is a good chance on the basis of the heads that they have met that evidential burden and highlighted holes in the state’s case.”

Steenkamp’s uncle, Michael Steenkamp, said the family would be in court on Thursday.

“We will all be there to see what is going to happen. Whichever way it goes, the Lord knows exactly what the answer is,” he said yesteday.

“The family is not doing too good in this anxious period and we are just waiting for this period to end. We leave it in the Lord’s hands.”

Witz and Phelps said judgment would run into Friday because of the length of the transcript and the number of charges.

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