Oscar witness decided to testify to refute Jani Allan’s acting lessons claim

2014-05-09 09:57

A social worker had a change of heart and decided to testify in Oscar Pistorius’ defence when she read all the mean things being said about him.

Yvette van Schalkwyk was yesterday called to the witness stand by Pistorius’ lawyer, Barry Roux.

She was initially approached to testify in Pistorius’ defence last year, but declined “due to the fact I didn’t know about the merits”.

But that all changed when she became upset by what was being said about Pistorius in the media.

“I read what was said and I decided I will come forward.

“What upset me was the fact that they said he had acting training, that he just put on a show and just started crying when it was needed.”

The claim that Pistorius had received acting classes was first made by former columnist Jani Allan, who now lives and works as a waitress in the United States.

In an open letter she wrote to Pistorius, she said she’d learned “from a reliable source that you are taking acting lessons for your days in court”.

Allan, who is well known for her torrid love affair with Eugene Terre’Blanche in the 90s, said that Pistorius’ acting coach had an “impossible task”.

Her letter was subsequently republished several times.

But Van Schalkwyk said that she encountered a heartbroken Pistorius during his bail application last year, when she was asked to emotionally support him.

“What I saw from the first second was a man that was heartbroken about the loss, he cried, he was in mourning, he suffered emotionally.

“He was very sorry about the loss, especially for her [Reeva Steenkamp’s] parents, especially the suffering they are going through.”

At this point, Gerrie Nel interrupted proceedings:

“My lady I object, what is this we’re dealing with?”

Nel said the evidence was inadmissible because it was a previous consistent statement.

This means that Nel was objecting because Pistorius had told his version to a witness who was then being called to corroborate his version.

Roux, however, replied that this was an erroneous objection because the evidence has “everything to do with state during cross-examination [of Oscar Pistorius] doubting the sincerity of the accused [and] putting to him that it’s all about me myself and not about the deceased”.

Judge Thokozile Masipa agreed with Roux, saying that Nel had put it to Pistorius that he had cross-examined Pistorius about “using the emotional thing as an excuse”.

Under cross-examination by Nel, Van Schalkwyk admitted that she had never heard Pistorius say he was sorry for what he’d done.

“See, he’s sorry for his loss ... It’s all about him, isn’t it?” asked Nel.

Later yesterday afternoon, the defence also called Thomas “Wollie” Wolmarans, their star ballistics expert.

Wolmarans has begun laying the basis for the defence’s ballistic evidence.

He said because the bullets had passed through a door before hitting anything, it was very difficult to determine their trajectory, sequence and Steenkamp’s body position when the shots were fired.

He did, however, say that injuries caused by splinters from the wood door were consistent with her right arm being between six and twenty centimetres from the door.

The case continues today.

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