Pistorius trial - Day 3, part 1 - as it happened

2014-03-05 07:36

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Get the latest updates from Wednesday afternoon's proceedings here.

We're now onto only the third day of the Oscar Pistorius trial. 

Defence lawyer Barry Roux tried ripping holes into first witness Michelle Burger's testimony but it seemed as if the Pretoria lecturer was quite strong (though she did break down a bit later).

The State brought up a second witness, also a neighbour of the Paralympian's, who testified to being kept awake in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year by a fight at a another house.

Burger's husband, Charl Johnson is now on the witness stand. 


12:03 - Court adjourned until 14:00. 


12:02Court adjourns. Mapisa asks to see counsel in chambers.


12:01 - Nel finished with witness. Roux says jokingly "I don't know if I want to cross-examine a boxer." Roux asks for recess. 


11:59 Bill paid, "I never spoke about it again," says Lerena. Then heard stories after Reeva's shooting that OP had shot him in the leg during Tasha's incident. Corrected stories saying he wasn't injured. 


11:58 - OP apologised profusely and asking if everyone was OK. OP asked Darren to "say it was you". Darren said it was him. OP said there was too much media attention around him. 


11:57 - Not injured, but toe grazed, says Lerena. I was in shock, he says.


11:57 - Shot went off the in restaurant, then there was complete silence.


11:55 - Friend called Darren Fresco passed gun under the restaurant table. Darren said "I'm one up, there's a bullet in the chamber." Lerena saw movements, didn't see the gun. 


11:54 - Lerena pointing out who was sitting where. OP was helping Lerena with a diet plan when they met at Tasha's.


11:52 - Pictures of Tasha's being shown on the screen. Pictures from the interior with an arrow show where the men were seated. The photos show how close the tables are next to each other


11:49 - Now onto day of the Tasha's shooting. Lerena says he was in a group of friends, one of whom was OP. 


11:49 - Lerena sees OP as an "icon and legend in sport". OP helped Lerena with a diet. 


11:47 - Met OP through his sponsor Daytona Group. Lerena met Oscar at a track day at Kyalami Race Track. A friend was racing that day. Lerena doesn't object to image being shown. 


11:46 - Lerena is a professional boxer. He knows OP.


11:45 - Nel says plans will be made to access the notes (Johnson and Burger's) which will be made available to the defence.


11:44 - Kevin Lerena called to the stand. He was in Tasha's when Oscar let gun off under the table. 


11:43 - Court resumes. Johnson excused for now. Another witness will be brought up.


11:38 - Mokonyane: Trial raises issues of violence against women and male domination. We must remember a woman was killed.


11:38


11:34 - Counsel are moving back and forth between their respective sides, discussing matters. It’s not clear whats going on, tweets Barry Bateman.


11:29 - Johnson and legal counsel are all back. 


11:28 - A cricket bat, in a plastic evidence bag, has been brought into court.  


11:05Forget Oscar Pistorius – what's really on trial here is misogyny, writes Zoe Williams in the UK's Guardian. 

"South African justice has a case to answer here, with its 14% conviction rate for rapists; but it's not as though the UK or America have anything to crow about in that regard. 

The wider culture of South Africa is on trial as a nidus of violence against women, a country with the highest recorded incidence of rape in the world, in which three women a day are killed by their partners.

But the more we turn these figures over, the more global they are, restricted neither to rich countries nor poor ones," Williams writes. 


10:54 - Roux asks for adjournment to get Johnson's notes. Granted. Back in court at 11:30. 


10:52 - Johnson says he and wife didn't make notes about what they'd heard together. He kept notes on personal laptop. 


10:49 - Johnson says he takes responsibility for security in the house because he's the man of the house. Decided to increase security after what he thought was robbery. 


10:49 - Roux going over over phone conversation Johnson had with his wife the next morning after they went to work.


10:48 - Johnson: "We were convinced it was a house break-in because of the fact that we heard a man and a woman screaming for help."


10:44 - Roux says defence took own photo of trees in front of Johnson's house. They are far more dense in February than on police photo.


10:43 - Roux: Timing of phone calls shows you heard cricket bat rather than gunshots. Johnson insists it was gunshots


10:42 - Roux was almost triumphant as he presented Johnson with info that OP phoned Stander (estate security) at 03:19.


10:38 - Roux moves onto Johnson's discussion after shooting with another neighbour. Neighbour woke up and only heard one shot or as Johnson put it "last shot". 


10:38 - Defence "Once you know suddenly that a woman was shot by Pistorius it cements your belief to the extent that it becomes absolutely concrete.


10:37 - Johnson asks Roux to repeat question because he "lost concentration". 


10:35 - Roux says one thing that didn't fit was the man screaming for help which they say they heard. A man's life is at stake, says Roux.


10:34 - Roux: 'its not just credibility. its about people who genuinely believe it (true). Its a different question if it's correct.'


10:32 -  Roux is plotting a timeline to illustrate to Johnson that the noises he heard, based on his version, was the bat on door. He says the sound that Johnson heard could ONLY have been the breaking down of the toilet door with the cricket bat.


10:31 - Roux reveals that Pistorius called estate security manager shortly after breaking down toilet door with cricket bat.


10:30 - I'm convinced I heard gunshots and that is my testimony, says Johnson.  


10:29 - Roux: We know after the call you threw phone down and ran back to the balcony.


10:27 - Johnson convinced he heard gunshots. Says he isn't certain about the bat and gunshot debtate.


10:25 - Roux: you and wife assumed they'd killed the husband. Johnson: can't recall exact thoughts, but thought they'd been attacked


10:24 - Roux: You thought it was a robbery. Unfortunately, we're exposed to armed robberies and the violence associated with them.


10:22 - Thought it was a robbery, not domestic violence, Johnson confirms to Roux. 


10:20 - You woke wife up by jumping out of bed, not wakened by screams, in your version, says Roux. Johnson confirms. 


10:19 - After first screams, Johnson says he ran out to balcony. There he heard screams, a woman scream help and a man scream "help help"


10:19 - The third scream you heard when you were on the balcony. Johnson confirms.


10:18 - Johnson: I ran out to balcony and next scream was when i was out on the balcony.


10:18 - Roux: you woke up thinking it was screaming, you heard another scream then you jumped out of bed.


10:17 - Johnson says he awoke first that morning. 


10:16 - Roux tearing into Johnson - too many co-incidences with his wife's evidence"you might as well have stood together in witness box".


10:15 - Roux: you were standing outside on the balcony, but you weren't able to hear number? Johnson: I didn't count..


10:14 - Yesses. Barry Roux SC could convince me in an hour flat that my name is not Sipho and I was never, in fact, ever born. :( - Sipho Hlongwane.


10:12 - All I can offer you is that I heard screaming. Difficult to judge the amount of time that lapsed, don't ant to peg a time on that. There was screams and then the shots.


10:11 - Judge says to Roux: Aren't you going a bit too far, Mr Roux?


10:10 - I can honestly tell you we did not discuss her testimony, says Johnson. You don't have to say "honestly", says Roux. Would hope you were honest from the start, says Roux. 


10:08 - Roux pounces on Johnson's last statement. "That was in her evidence and not her statement!" he says to Johnson of wife's evidence. "I must stop you - you don't know what you're doing to yourself..." Roux says.


10:05 - Johnson said he didn't testify straight after wife because she was extremely nervous and couldn't take another day of testifying. Johnson says all state witnesses kept in same room.


10:04 - Not such a coincidence that two people standing ten metres apart would describe what they're seeing with similar words, says Johnson.


10:02 - Roux: coincidences may be extraordinary coincidences, but this is the sixth one


10:02 - Roux quotes this witness saying yesterday "the last scream faded after last shot" - very similar to wife statement. Inference - too similar?


9:57 - In statement, Johnson says he heard screams, then a volley of shots. Didn't mention intensity of screams.


9:56 - Johnson says he could hear the fear in the woman's screams - Roux says its remarkable that his wife says the same.


9:54 - Roux is trying to show Johnson and his wife discussed their statements.  


9:53 - Made notes on advocate's advice. To help memory. 


9:53 - Johnson says he made notes about morning of shooting on his iPad - before making statement. Roux wants to see them.


9:50 - Johnson agrees his and Burger's statements are similar.


9:48 - Roux asks Johnson about his statement, where he details his aborted call to security - but not the woman's screaming.


9:47 - Coincidence that you know say you went to bed between 21:00 and 22:00 as you wife did but in your statement you said at approx. 21:00.


9:45 - What was interesting about your evidence yesterday, says Roux, you say in your evidence that you went to bed between 21:00 and 22:00. In your statement you say you went to bed approx at 21:00. Your wife also says you went to bed between 21:00 and 22:00.. Johnson says it's not unusual, it's routine. 


9:44 - Johnson confirms he refrained from discussing evidence with wife, only the emotional aspects.


9:42 - Eish. Journalist Aislin Laing made to stand for a scolding after her device started talking in court. Indeed, not a judge you want to mess with, says Phillip de Wet.


9:41 - We discussed the matter but not each other evidence, says Johnson. We didn't read each others statements, confirms Johnson. 


9:39 - Mapisa stops proceedings because of disturbance. Cellphone, I think.


9:39 - Johnson says he was in the witness room while his wife was testifying.  Barry Roux checking that witness didn't listen to any media coverage of his wife's (witness 1) evidence over last 2 days.


9:35 - Johnson speaks about message he received after his cellphone number was read out in court. "My privacy had been compromised severely. The person who sent the message accused him of lying. 


9:34 - Proceedings have started. Charl Johnson is testifying.


9:33 - Pistorius's sister Aimee is sitting next to his aunt Lois today. Several other family members also in court.


9:31 - OP's ex, Samantha Taylor has taken a seat in court. Taylor is one of the State's witnesses. It's uncertain if she will testify today. 


9:27 - Mokonyane is sitting on the same side as Reeva's family. "You're not alone"' she says. The premier told Power FM that she was there to show support to the Steenkamp family.


9:20 - And for some inexplicable reason, Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane is there. As are representatives from the ANC Women's League...


9:18 - Legal teams have arrived. Will we start on time today? I'm crossing my fingers. 


9:14 - And OP has just arrived. Also, officials won't confirm or deny if Judge Mapisa has received threats. She's been escorted to and from court by Metro cops but this is apparently standard in high profile cases, tweets eNCA's Karyn Maughan.


9:10 - Reporters are filing into courtroom GD. No sign of Pistorius (hereafter OP) yet. 


9:05 - Minister of Women and Children Lulu Xingwana is at court. 


8:45


8:41


8:24 - Visitors have started arriving at Arnold Pistorius's home in Waterkloof, Pretoria, says Eyewitness News reporter Govan Whittles. One of the visitors is Oscar's brother, Carl. They're all dressed in formal attire. Looks like a prayer meeting, says Whittles.


8:19 - June Steenkamp, the mother of Reeva Steenkamp, said Pistorius walked straight past her in court on Monday, denying her the opportunity to look him in the eye.

Speaking to the American channel NBC, Steenkamp said Pistorius never made eye contact with her on the first day of his trial for murdering her daughter.

"He just walked into the courtroom and looked straight ahead. And then he sat down and never looked my way."

"I wanted him to see me. I'm the mother of Reeva," said the 67-year-old, who travelled from Port Elizabeth to attend the trial in Pretoria.



7:47A large media contingent has already gathered outside the North Gauteng High Court early on Wednesday morning for the third day of Pistorius's murder trial.

A few police cars were stationed along the street outside, while journalists were preparing for the day, many with a cup of coffee in hand.

Cameramen were setting up for live broadcasts.

Pretoria is still overcast but the rain had stopped.


7:34 - It's expected the trial will start at 09:30 today (Wednesday). State witness Charl Johnson is set to continue his testimony. 


7:31

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

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