Pistorius lawyer puts up fight

2013-02-21 14:07

Oscar Pistorius’ lawyer sought to dismantle the State’s murder case against the athlete at his bail application in the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court today.

“Your worship ... the poor quality of the evidence of investigating officer [Hilton] Botha further exposed the disastrous shortcomings of the State’s case,” argued Barry Roux.

He said there was no evidence of the premeditated murder of Pistorius’ girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, as alleged by the State, and that it was not mentioned on the charge sheet at all.

He insisted Pistorius did not have a house in Italy, part of the State’s contention that he could be a flight risk if granted bail.

Earlier, prosecutor Gerrie Nel turned to a feature on Pistorius in glossy women’s magazine Sarie, reporting that he did have a house there.

Roux said if Pistorius had wanted to kill Steenkamp he did not need a locked toilet or bathroom.

“He could do it anywhere.”

Pistorius is charged with murdering Steenkamp, which he has denied in an affidavit, saying he thought there was an intruder in the house when he shot into the toilet she was in.

“There is no evidence that the applicant knew it was Reeva in the toilet,” said Roux.

It is up to Roux to show exceptional circumstances why Pistorius should be released after the charge was declared a Schedule 6 offence in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act by Magistrate Desmond Nair.

But Roux said the charge should not even be Schedule 6, or even Schedule 5.

Pistorius’ version was consistent with the “known evidence”, he said.

Before this, the court was stunned by a surprise application by a woman describing herself as an attorney.

She wanted to apply for Pistorius to be sent for a mental examination and for the case to be held in camera.

Nair dismissed this.

There has also been speculation over how the court will handle the news that Botha himself faces an attempted murder charge related to shots fired, reportedly during a police chase.

Nel told Nair the prosecution had not been aware of this.

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