Gerrie Nel’s ‘calculated reasons’ comment makes Oscar smirk

2014-07-01 16:26

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Oscar Pistorius smirked when state prosecutor Gerrie Nel said the Paralympian had “calculated reasons” for wanting to take Reeva Steenkamp to an athletics competition.

It was a rare break from the type of remorseful emotions Pistorius usually displays on the stand.

The incident happened when Nel was cross-examining Petrus van Zyl, who has been Pistorius’ agent for seven years, about a trip that Pistorius wanted to take with Steenkamp.

Van Zyl had earlier said in his evidence in chief that “Mr Pistorius asked me if I wouldn’t mind asking the organiser if he can have Ms Steenkamp accompany him on these trips, which for me was a first”.

He said that when he enquired why Pistorius wanted to take Steenkamp, the athlete said: “I actually want Ms Steenkamp to see what my world is really about – the pressure I’m under, how I need to perform. Also, so she can understand why I sometimes cannot go to specific events and functions with her.”

Nel jumped on this point in his cross-examination of Van Zyl, using it to make a previous point that he has often put to Pistorius and other defence witnesses.

“I’ve carefully noted Mr Pistorius’ calculated reasons for wanting to take Reeva to Manchester,” said the prosecutor.

“I wanted her to show why I, Oscar, cannot go to functions, why I, Oscar, had to sleep. I wanted to show her why I, Oscar, cannot go to events, why I, Oscar, am on a strict diet,” said Nel.

“Those must have been things they argued about?”

Van Zyl replied: “I wasn’t aware of any arguments. For me it was really a case of him wanting to show Ms Steenkamp what his world as a professional athlete was about. You have to be very strict and professional if you want to achieve these goals that you’ve set yourself.”

This is not the first time Nel has sought to paint Pistorius as a self-centred individual.

When Pistorius was being cross-examined by Nel, the prosecutor said that arguments between Steenkamp and Pistorius “were all about what’s important to you [Pistorius]”.

Van Zyl also testified about how jittery and vulnerable Pistorius was.

He said Pistorius always drove fast to the airport.

When he “confronted” Pistorius about this, the athlete apparently referred to a traumatic hijacking event in which Van Zyl was involved in during 2007 and said that he wanted to make sure nobody was following them and that they were safe.

He also testified that Pistorius was “fidgety”, that he always parked in well-lit areas and that he had once grabbed Van Zyl’s arm after they heard a loud bang in New York.

The case was adjourned this afternoon as Nel said he had not expected “this level of character evidence” and he needed some time to prepare.

The trial will resume tomorrow.

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