Witness not answering questions - Nel

2014-10-14 16:56
(File: Sapa)

(File: Sapa)

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Pretoria - A defence witness was not answering questions put to her in the sentencing procedures of culpable homicide-convicted Oscar Pistorius, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.

"If you were a first time witness one would understand why you are not answering the questions... but you are not a first time witness," prosecutor Gerrie Nel told social worker and probation officer Annette Vergeer under cross-examination.

Nel said Vergeer did not answer various questions he asked her.

She told the court earlier that prisons were over-crowded and that there were global open cells in prisons that could have over 30 inmates.

Nel asked her if this applied to sentenced prisoners and she replied that it applied to awaiting trial prisoners.

When he corrected her and said he had a problem with her changing from sentenced prisoners to awaiting trial prisoners, Vergeer briefly giggled.

"You are laughing. Why are you laughing, because this is serious," Nel said.

Vergeer explained that it was her "manner of addressing or saying something" and that it not a sign of disrespect towards anyone.

The prosecutor asked her if she thought it was appropriate.

She said she felt like she was under attack and was just a human being, being asked questions.

"If I offended you, I will have to apologise," she said.

Nel responded: "It's not me. You will never offend me."

Vergeer then apologised to the court.

The court heard that Vergeer visited the Johannesburg prison 10 years ago and the Krugersdorp prison two years ago. She used this knowledge and consulted wardens and social workers to compile her report on Pistorius.

She said earlier that prisons did not cater for disabled people. She listed showers, cement floors and toilet facilities, among others as reasons.

On 12 September, Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide on for the Valentine's Day 2013, shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse. The court found him not guilty of murdering Steenkamp.

Pistorius shot Steenkamp through the locked door of the toilet, apparently thinking she was an intruder about to emerge and attack him. She was hit in the hip, arm, and head.

Pistorius was also found guilty of firing a pistol under a table at Tasha's restaurant in Johannesburg in January 2013 and not guilty of shooting through the open sunroof of a car in Modderfontein on 30 September 2012.

Read more on:    gerrie nel  |  reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  pistorius trial  |  crime

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