Nel, Roux head to head in closing arguments

2014-08-07 00:00

ADVOCATES Gerrie Nel and Barry Roux will match up today in a final, epic bout in one of the toughest legal battles yet in South Africa.

“It will be something to see,” said Ulrich Roux, a Johannesburg attorney. “It is two of the best legal brains in the country confronting against each other with proper sound arguments. I think they will both fare very well.”

Nel and Roux, the two advocates who achieved world fame over months in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial, will make their long-awaited closing arguments in court GD of the Pretoria high court today.

It will be Nel’s last chance to convince Judge Thokozile Masipa that Pistorius murdered his girlfriend, the model Reeva Steenkamp, with intent in a rage.

And it is Roux’s last chance to convince Masipa the four shots fired through the locked bathroom door were all one tragic accident.

Apart from the murder charge, Pistorius is also charged with twice recklessly discharging a firearm in public and illegal possession of ammunition.

He pleaded not guilty on all four charges.

• Five key points for Oscar

Advocate Barry Roux will argue:

• Pistorius is unique case because of his disability, increased vigilance and vulnerability on his stumps. Given this expert evidence, his version sounds reasonable and true.

• The state relies too much on circumstantial evidence and did not succeed in proving premeditated murder or one of the three other charges beyond reasonable doubt.

• The experts for the defence created sufficient doubt regarding the forensic method of using stomach contents to determine when a deceased had eaten last.

• Some of the state’s evidence was seriously contradictory.

• Police officers contaminated the scene.

• Five key points for the state

Advocate Gerrie Nel will argue:

• Oscar Pistorius was a poor and unreliable witness. His version on all four events is incredible and must be rejected by the court.

• The testimony by four state witnesses who said they had undoubtedly heard a woman’s screams, was not contradicted in any manner.

• Neither Pistorius nor his experts could explain why there was 200 ml of food in Steenkamp’s stomach if she ate eight hours before her death, as Pistorius alleged.

• Forensic evidence shows Reeva protected her head with her hands and would have yelled out in pain as one round hit her hip.

• The court cannot, based on the evidence before it, make any other deduction than that Pistorius murdered Steenkamp.

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