Nel’s golden chance

2014-07-02 00:00

STATE prosecutor advocate Gerrie Nel may next open Oscar Pistorius’s closet to unpack the skeletons in there one by one in court — including examples of his ­volatile temper, his love for speed and his ­obsession with firearms.

Normally Nel would not lead such a negative character evidence, but was yesterday handed the opportunity on a platter when Peet van Zyl, Pistorius’s agent and manager, testified in defence of Pistorius’s character.

“I did not expect this level of character evidence at all,” a surprised Nel said yesterday. “I had no idea that this witness would be called.” He asked Judge Thokozile Masipa at about noon yesterday to postpone the case to today to give him time to prepare for the cross examination of Van Zyl.

But Nel piled into Pistorius’s reputation even before the court adjourned, when he raised the scandals the “Blade Runner” had been involved in during his initial cross ­examination of Van Zyl.

He asked the athlete’s manager about the paralympic sprinter Arnu Fourie, who asked to be moved from sharing a room with Pistorius during the 2012 Olympic Games in Londonbecause he could not stand his shouting on the phone any more.

Van Zyl said he did not know why Fourie moved out of the room he had shared with Pistorius. Van Zyl admitted other ­athletes had told him how Pistorius raced with them in his car. Pistorius had also raced with Van Zyl to the airport, because Pistorius was reportedly worried about being tailed or hijacked.

Nel also asked Van Zyl about the time when Pistorius lost his temper after Brazil’s Paralympic sprinter Alan Oliveira beat him in the 200 metres final.

He said the outburst had a long run-up.

Van Zyl also testified about Pistorius’s plans to take Reeva Steenkamp with him to England and Brazil.

“I just want to show her the world,” ­Pistorius allegedly told Van Zyl. “I want to show her under what pressure I am under, that I must sleep, that I follow a strict diet, that I cannot attend certain functions.”

Nel said this was just more proof that their relationship centered on the athlete.

Van Zyl said Pistorius also planned to take Steenkamp to a concert by Andrea ­Bocelli in Tuscany last year.

When Nel asked Van Zyl if he would describe Pistorius as paranoid, Van Zyl said he was not qualified to comment. Van Zyl said he knew Pistorius as kind and ­courteous, not aggressive.

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