Pistorius's lawyer criticises State's case

2013-02-21 14:28
Oscar Pistorius appears at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on the third day of bail hearing. (Alexander Joe, AFP)

Oscar Pistorius appears at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on the third day of bail hearing. (Alexander Joe, AFP)

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Pretoria - Oscar Pistorius's lawyer sought to dismantle the State's murder case against the athlete at his bail application in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

"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 pre-meditated murder of Pistorius's girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp as alleged by the State, and that it was not mentioned on the charge sheet at all.

'He cared'

The fact that Pistorius carried his shot girlfriend downstairs and called for help showed positive steps to save her life, Roux said.

The fact that he phoned estate manager Johan Stander and Netcare emergency services also meant he was trying to save her life.

It was also "speculative at best" that there may have been an argument, he said.

The origin of the argument was unknown and the theory of the argument was a sign of desperation by the State.

Security estate

Roux also told the court that living in a security complex does not make a person immune to crime and does not tilt the scales in the State's favour.

"Unfortunately, it is not South Africa's best kept secret: crime is not limited to unsecure areas," he said.

It was a "neutral" factor, he said.

Pistorius said he thought a burglar was in the toilet when he shot through the door, killing her.

Earlier, Roux 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.

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. 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 schedule six in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act by magistrate Desmond Nair.

'Poor' investigation

Roux called the police investigation "poor" and said the charge should not even be schedule six, or even schedule five.

Pistorius's 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.

Read more on:    reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  barry roux

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