Pistorius grilled over restaurant shooting

2014-04-10 13:00
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Oscar Pistorius in court - day 20

See all the pictures from Oscar Pistorius's 20th day in the North Gauteng High Court.

kalahari.com

Pretoria - Paralympian Oscar Pistorius asked his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp not to mention him allegedly firing a gun in a restaurant because the media would print lies, the North Gauteng High Court heard on Thursday.

"Angel please don't say a thing to anyone," prosecutor Gerrie Nel quoted from a WhatsApp message Pistorius sent to Steenkamp. Nel was cross-examining the athlete.

He is charged with the murder of Steenkamp and three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act.

He allegedly fired a shot from his friend Darren Fresco's Glock pistol under a table at Tasha's, in Johannesburg, in January 2013. The restaurant was full and there were children at the next table at the time.

Nel asked him why it was important for Steenkamp not to mention the Tasha's shooting.

"I didn't want to be in the media for having a firearm in my possession in a restaurant," Pistorius replied, avoiding looking at Nel.

Nel suggested to Pistorius that he actually tried to shirk responsibility.

Pistorius: "It was a mistake on my behalf and I didn't want it to be taken out of context."

Nel: "You just thought the media would print lies?"

Pistorius: "That's correct."

Defence challenged

Pistorius was accused of using as his defence the phrase "I didn't have time to think".

This was after he denied to Nel that he had his finger on the trigger of the firearm in the restaurant.

The episode relates to charges against him under the Firearms Act to which he has pleaded not guilty.

Pistorius has admitted that his friend's gun went off in his hand while he was holding it.

Pistorius said: "I didn't pull the trigger, I didn't have time to think, My Lady."

Nel responded: "So that is one of your defences... 'I'm a gun enthusiast. I didn't have time to think'."

Cross-examined on Wednesday about the shooting of Steenkamp, he said: "When I fired... I believed that someone was coming out of the toilet to attack me... I didn't have time to think about what was happening."

'One up'

Pistorius consistently avoided making eye contact with Nel and kept his gaze firmly on Judge Thokozile Masipa as he spoke.

Fresco had passed him the gun as Pistorius said he was considering buying a similar model.

"I tried to make sure that the firearm was safe. As the round came out of the breach I realised that the firearm was 'one up'. When I asked him (Fresco) why the firearm was 'one up' it went off," said Pistorius.

"One up" means there is a bullet in the chamber.

"I must then accept that the gun went off by itself? You just refuse to take responsibility for anything," Nel told him.

When Nel asked him what happened to the round ejected from the chamber, Pistorius at first could not remember, but then said it fell onto a chair.

"Then you remember all of a sudden," Nel said sarcastically.

Nel pointed out that this model of Glock had a safety mechanism on the trigger.

This means the gun cannot be fired unless a finger is on the trigger.

State witness ballistics expert Captain Chris Mangena, previously testified to this.

Nel then asked Pistorius why his lawyer Barry Roux had not cross-examined Mangena about this.

"If Mr Roux did not put it to Captain Mangena that it's possible for that gun to fire without pulling the trigger, he made a mistake," said Nel.

Pistorius is accused of the murder of Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse on 14 February last year.

He is also charged with illegal possession of ammunition and shooting through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein on 30 September 2012.

Pistorius has denied guilt on all the charges.


- SAPA
Read more on:    reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  pistorius trial
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