In case you missed it – 8 key things that have happened in the Oscar Pistorius trial so far

By Kirstin Buick
06 March 2014

If you haven’t been glued to Twitter or the broadcast of Oscar’s trial on TV, here is everything you need to know about the trial in eight points.

1. University of Pretoria lecturer and Oscar’s neighbour Michelle Burger was the first state witness. She said she heard “petrifying screams” coming from Oscar’s house that night and four gunshots afterwards. "It was something that leaves you cold. You can't explain it you just know that a woman's life was very threatened."

2. Oscar’s lawyer, Barry Roux, put it to Burger that she only heard one person, Oscar, cry out before the shooting. He said Oscar’s voice rose when he was anxious, making him sound like a woman. But Burger, an economics lecturer, firmly stuck to her version of events.

3. Roux told the court Steenkamp would have been too severely injured to scream on the fateful morning. "There was serious, serious, brain damage," said Roux. On hearing this, Oscar broke down. He held his head in his hands and cried, and accepted a tissue from a woman sitting with his family in the public gallery.

4. A photograph of the first witness Michelle Burger was shown on eNews on Tuesday, despite her request that this should not happen. "I am warning the media, if you do not behave, you will not be treated with soft gloves," said Judge Thokozile Masipa, and ordered the media not to publish photographs of any sorts of a witness who asked not to have their picture shown.

5. The second state witness, Estelle van der Merwe, who lives about three houses away from Oscar, testified she heard loud voices coming from his house. Van der Merwe said she put a pillow over her head, trying to block out the noise. She later heard four shots. 6. Michelle Burger’s husband, IT project manager Charl Johnson largely corroborated Michelle’s version of events. "I stood on the balcony and heard a woman shouting for help, then a man shouting help, help, help," Johnson said in questioning from prosecutor Gerrie Nel. 7. On Wednesday morning, Johnson said he had been inundated with calls since his phone number was read out in court on Tuesday. "Oscar is not guilty. Why are you lying in court?" said someone who left a voicemail message Johnson's phone. 8. Oscar’s friend, professional boxer Kevin Lerena testified that Oscar accidentally fired a gun under the table in Joburg restaurant Tasha’s in January 2013, and Oscar asked his friend Darren Fresco to take the blame. The bullet grazed Lerena’s toe.

YOU’s Herman Scholtz was in court:

Follow @hermanscholtz on Twitter for live updates on the trial. Follow @hermanscholtz on Twitter for live updates on the trial. “On the murder charge, the state's case rests strongly on the testimony of couple Michelle Burger and Charl Johnson for the time being. Should Burger's testimony stand, it directly contradicts the version of Oscar Pistorius that Reeva and him didn’t fight or that she didn’t scream.
'Should Burger's testimony stand, it directly contradicts Oscar's version'

The defence launched a heavy attack on the reliability of Johnson's evidence, contending that he was merely echoing his wife's testimony and that they discussed their versions outside court during the trial. Both maintained that they heard the screams of a man and a woman.

Even if Oscar's version – that he thought he shot at an intruder – is held to be true, it is up to the court to decide whether his actions amount to intent to kill somebody.

The state only started to present evidence about the Tasha’s shooting. The defence didn’t take much issue with the testimony of Kevin Lerena or the restaurant owners, but the state is yet to lead evidence on why it believes the shooting wasn’t merely an accident.”

Source: SAPA

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