Oscar Pistorius trial, day 1, part 1 - as it happened

2014-03-03 09:44

Get all the latest details as Oscar Pistorius goes on trial for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp. See updates from earlier in the day here.

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Last Updated at 06:48

We continue our live updates here

Our coverage of the first day of Oscar Pistorius’s murder trial continues as he appears in the North Gauteng High Court for Reeva Steenkamp’s death. 

Hundreds of journalists are at the court to cover the trial for media organisations from around the globe. 

Read our updates from earlier on Monday here.


12:46 - Nel asks for early lunch. No objections. Court adjourns. Back at 13:50.


12:45 - Burger says she doesn't know any other witnesses. 


12:45 - Capt van Aardt took our statement. Took statement from husband and I separately. 


12:44 - We wanted to contact the police privately because of the intense media attention at that stage.


12:44 - Burger we contacted an attorney to hear how we should go about this...wanted to do it privately.


12:42 - We're private people. Tried to find out what to do. It's weird for us to be here.


12:41 - We went away during the pretrial and heard on the radio about a witness who stays 600m away from OP. 


12:40 - only made a statement later because I don't live in Silverwoods. 


12:39 - Husband told me he heard that OP was on the news and that he shot someone who he thought was an intruder. Husband then realised that was what we heard. Husband told me it cannot be because that was not what we heard.


12:38 - Later husband called me and asked me if I could remember what happened the previous night. I said yes. 


12:37 - Then told another colleague about incident. Told her I thought it was a housebreaking.


12:37 - Got to the university and saw a colleague, told him of terrible night. 


12:35 - Went to work. Phoned a friend. Her child in Silverwoods nursery school. Asked her to find out what happened.


12:35 - Thought it was a housebreaking. 


12:34 - Nel going to screams. "It was very traumatic for me. It was blood-curdling screams," says Burger. 


12:33 - Burger's bedroom window faces towards OP's residence. Bedroom window was open due to heat and lack of air con.


12:31 - Burger pointing to balcony of her house. A two-storey house. The view of the house is obscured only by a few trees. The roof can be seen in the distance.


12:31 - Burger has pointed out her house on an aerial photo. Oscar’s house is also highlighted. The two are about three blocks apart. 


12:30 - Can't imagine how hard this must all be for Reeva's mom to hear and see.


12:29 - Aerial photos now being shown - to show the distance between Burger's home and that of OP.


12:27 - "I hope that woman did not watch her husband being shot in front of her", Burger told her husband.


12:26 - It was a confusing evening because I was awake and then up... I got up the following morning as usual. 


12:25 - Husband returned from balcony. Didn't hear man screaming after he screamed for help. 


12:25 - The pause between 1 and 2 was longer than between 3 and 4. 


12:24 - Just after her screams, I heard four shots. The time between the first and the second than between three and four. 


12:23 - The woman screaming was very scared. 


12:22 - Husband went back to balcony. I stayed in bed. Then more screams. Worse this time. 


12:22 - Husband says he called wrong security. Of residence they stayed previously. 


12:21 - husband repeated the story because the phone was given to another guard. He xplained that some was being attacked in her house.


12:21 - Husband told security of attack next door. 


12:20 - Then gave phone to husband to speak to security. Thought our security at Silverstream should called Silverwood security to tell them there was an attack at one of the houses. 


12:19 - Told husband to come back in from balcony. Told him to call security. I took my cellphone and called security. 


12:18 - I was still in bed when I heard her screams. She screamed terribly and yelled for help. Then I also heard a man screaming for help. Three times. 


12:18 - Woke just after 3am to a woman's terrible screams. My husband also woke up from the screams. Husband went to the balcony.


12:17 - Nel moves onto events of the night. "I was at home that night (February 13) with my husband." "A night like any other." Husband and I went to bed between 9-10pm.  


12:16 - My house borders the Silverwoods Estate (where OP lived).


12:15 - Burger a lecturer at University of Pretoria. Moved into estate in 2011. 


12:14 - Burger being sworn in. She'll give evidence in Afrikaans. Translator there. The international media must be relieved. 


12:12 - State's first witness Michelle Burger being called. Burger is one of OP's neighbours. Witness's face won't be shown on TV. 


12:10 - Reeva and OP were the only two people in the house. State's case based on circumstantial evidence. Only inference from circumstantial evidence is that OP shot Reeva with intent.


12:10 - State ready to call its first witness. But Nel will first read opening address. 


12:09 - OP's urine samples show no anabolic steroids, narcotics or diuretics.


12:08 - A fair amount of evidence not in dispute - post-mortem photos, no blunt force trauma, weather expert, bail application record.


12:07 - Admission by a person from the SA Weather Service on the weather conditions the morning of the shooting.


12:05 - Nel going over photos after Tasha's incident. 


12:02 - The prosecution is submitting a photo album of post-mortem photos. A little bird tells me they are pretty horrific to look at, says Rebecca Davis.


12:01 - "This is evidence or facts that the accused does not dispute." Now going over post mortem photos.


12:00 - Gunshot wounds on the deceased were inflicted by the accused. - Nel


11:59 - Prosecutor Nel giving State's case now. Nel: "Reeva Steenkamp died from multiple gunshot wounds sustained on 14/02/2013". Postmortem was done on 15th.


11:59 - Sounds as if OP's been standing the entire time. Lawyers asks if OP can be seated. "Yes, yes," says judge.


11:57 - OP confirms explanation as read out by his lawyer Kenny Oldwage. OP's plea explanation put down as 'exhibit A'.


11:56 - "The only purpose of admitting character evidence would be an attempt to engineer an assassination of my character."


11:55 - There was no argument. The claim that I wanted to shoot or kill Reeva cannot be further from the truth.


11:54 - State has no evidence to prove an alleged argument. "Unusual to challenge case in plea explanation, but I have no choice...state wants to introduce inadmissible character evidence."


11:53 - Going into Hilton Botha's evidence - "Botha's evidence had been tampered with... the scene was contaminated, disturbed and tampered with."


11:52 - State has conceded  on certain facts related to his location in the bathroom and whether he was on stumps.


11:51 - OP says witness's house is 105 metres from his and it would not have been possible for witness to hear voices raised in argument.


11:50 - OP says key witness against him has given second statement to police, contradicting her first statement.


11:50 - Witness heard woman's voice...but didn't say if it was Reeva and whether it came from my home... plea attacks State's claims that "there may have been an argument" between him and Reeva. "My bedroom and bathroom windows face away from neighbour's house..."


11:49 - OP says "The state has embarked on a strategy based on 'unsubstantiated allegations' to argue that I murdered Reeva, as in bail hearing."


11:48 - State contended that I intended to shoot Reeva.


11:46 - "During the early hours of the morning I brought two fans in from the balcony... Unbeknownst to me Reeva must have gone to the bathroom. I heard the bathroom window sliding open. Believed an intruder came in. Went to bathroom with gun. Believed Reeva was still in bed. 

"The state has no basis whatsoever that I intended to take Reeva's life. All the objective evidence will corroborate my version." 


11:45 - OP, in statement, says he was in a loving relationship with Reeva. Thought Reeva was an intruder.  


11:44 - Oldwage submits to the court the defence plea explanation.


11:42 - Possession of ammunition charge, another not guilty plea from OP. That's all charges. Not guilty plea to all. 


11:40 - "No guilty," OP says again to another charge. 


11:39 - On to the Tasha's restaurant incident - discharging a firearm. OP pleads not guilty.


11:38 - Another firearm related charge, OP pleads not guilty.


11:38 - OP pleads not guilty to firearm charge. 


11:37 -  Nel asks that the firearm-related charge two be amended because of a typing error - change date 2010 to 2012.


11:36 - OP pleads not guilty to murder charges.


11:35 - OP writing long notes on pad over a few pages. Exchanges words with uncle Arnold. Gerrie Nel reading out charges against OP.


11:34 - Judge mentions housekeeping issues such as language. Starting hours for trial are from 10:00. Hiccups this morning. Judge is sitting with assessors who are being sworn in. 


11:33 - All rise for Judge Thokozile Masipa.


11:28 - People are returning to court now. Families also back.


11:26 - That's quite a herd... 



11:10 - Both the Pistorius and Steenkamp families have left the court, OP has also left the dock. The judge has apologised for the delay. Says there was confusion around interpreters.


11:09 - Karyn Maughan says she was told that the interpreter was only only informed this morning that she would have to interpret at the OP trial and is "overwhelmed". And Alex Crawford says she was told that the interpreter arrived at court, saw the melee, burst into tears and said she couldnt do it. Bad planning much...


11:04 - Trial now set to start at 11.30. 


11:03 - City Press's Charl du Plessis tweets: "Calling it an 'application' is a disservice to all applications ever. Single sentences stretched over entire A4 pages." Oh dear...


11:00 - Both legal teams have been summoned to see the judge now to discuss this application by Annemarie. She's claiming to be the ex wife of the surgeon who amputated OP's legs as a baby.


10:59 - Annemarie is 'concerned' that Oscar's boating accident may have caused brain damage. Um. Right.


10:56 - And a group of protesters are now outside court singing "Oscar, you're going to jail..."


10:55 - Anna-Marie's friend (an American) says "all she wants is for Oscar to be tested..because this is a big issue with athletes in NFL", tweets eNCA's Karyn Maughan. Also sounds like Annemarie's being escoted out of the courtroom.


10:52 -

 


10:50 - The defense team is now heading to the Judge's chambers. Normal tea break scheduled for 11:15.


10:47 - OP in court (From Media24): 



10:43 - Annamarie is the ex-wife of Oscar’s orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Gerald Versfeld. That's according to ANN7's Hasina Gori.


10:41 - Annemarie's told various media that she thinks #OscarPistorius had a head injury, which led to his poor reasoning during the shooting. She may delay proceedings. Again.


10:36 - Annemarie is handing a pile of documents to the legal teams. She'd claimed last year that OP's mother appeared to her in a dream. The judge at the broadcast trial told her to "sit down". Magistrate at bail hearing also sent her on her way. It's a bizarre and rather sad twist. 


10:34 - Apparently we’re waiting for an interpreter - some of the witnesses want to testify in Afrikaans. Also, the woman who disrupted proceedings at the bail hearing last year and at the broadcast trial, Annemarie, is there. She's wearing lawyers robes.


10:29 - And, as seasoned court reporters have reminded us, the late start to the trial is normal.


10:26 - The live feed from the courtroom is expected to start when the judge enters.


10:21 -  Pistorius team has hired their own team of typists to transcribe the entire proceedings for them to read each night, says Sky News's Alex Crawford.


10:17 - Judge's clerks have brought in several files. The registrar has gone to fetch judge. Proceedings will start soon.


10:16 -

 


10:15


10:13 - Uncle Arnold now reading OP's note to family.


10:12 - Sounds like everyone is there. Waiting for judge now. Reeva's mom June keeps looking Oscar's way ... But there's no glance towards her direction, says Power FM's Aldrin Sampear.


10:11 - OP passes a note to his family sitting behind him in court.


10:09 - OP's hand trembling as he takes a drink of water. Journalists have been told to take their places. 


10:03 - OP writing on an A4 notepad, occasionally touching his brow with an unsteady hand. Looking more composed than last year's hearings, says David Smith.


10:02 - Topic of debate here in Court GD - why does Pistorius have two blonde patches in the back of his hair. Stress? Or kamikaze barber? - the UK Telegraph's Aislinn Laing says.


10:00 - OP has a pen and paper with him.


9:58 - OP is deep in conversation with his lawyer and his ballistics expert Wollie Wolmarans.


9:56 - Oscar stands to greet the court sketch artist who he seems to know,then stands again to eagerly shakes hands w a uniformed police officer.


9:53 - OP is wearing a suit, white shirt and black tie and sits in dock. June Steenkmap stares at him coldly for long moments, says The GUardian's David Smith. He's got a cushion with him.


9:52Oscar Pistorius (OP) has arrived in court, looking alert and eager to get going. He looks straight ahead, not back at family ranked behind him. He is sipping water, looks composed, walks straight past Reeva's mother. He is chatting to a junior member of his legal team who is seated in front of the dock.


9:43 - Journalists from overflow court room to be brought into few remaining spaces.


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