Barry Roux: Oscar should never have been charged with murder

By Kirstin Buick
08 August 2014

Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius should have been charged with culpable homicide and not murder, his lawyer argued in the High Court in Pretoria on Friday.

Barry Roux SC, said the State's version that the athlete made up the fact that he mistook his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder when he shot her dead was not true. Roux said Pistorius told the first people who arrived on the scene that he thought she was an intruder. "He repeated that and went into the bail application before seeing the docket," Roux said.

'On what basis are you saying that he is lying?'

"So on what basis are you saying that he is lying?"

Roux said Pistorius was negligent.

"That is culpable homicide... That is what the case should have been about..."

Pistorius is charged with murdering Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

He shot her through the locked door of his toilet at his Pretoria home.

Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. The State contends he shot her during an argument and it was premeditated.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act, one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public. He has pleaded not guilty to these charges.

On Friday, Roux said the failure by the State to "leave out" evidence left question marks and could mean that the scene was disturbed.

He said State witnesses admitted that they had tampered with evidence. He showed the court two pictures. In one a hand could be seen holding open the bedroom curtain.

"Why was it necessary to keep it open? Why not take a photograph without someone holding the curtain open to gain a real view?" Roux asked.

He also dealt with a moved multiplug and showed a photograph taken in the bedroom.

"The unfortunate consequence of that was that Mr Pistorius was cross-examined that there was no place for the multiplug," Roux said.

He argued that they had received a photograph from the State on Wednesday that showed a hand either removing or plugging in a plug.

"Was he putting it in or taking it out? What concerns us is that that photo was in the possession of the State.

"The State must have known about this."

Roux said there was no way the State could argue that the scene was not tampered with.

On Thursday, prosecutor Gerrie Nel completed his closing arguments and described Pistorius as a deceitful and dishonest person, who would rather hide behind untruths than admit he murdered his girlfriend in cold blood.

Nel said Pistorius was an appalling witness who had tailored his evidence to avoid prosecution. He dismissed several points of Pistorius's testimony as improbable and untruthful.

The case continues.

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