The Oscar arguments

2013-02-22 00:00

NO one should forget that Oscar Pistorius is accused of the murder of a defenceless woman who was trapped in a 1,4- by 1,4-metre toilet cubicle.

“There were two people in the house. One survived to tell us his version of events.”

That was how prosecutor advocate Gerrie Nel began his argument against bail yesterday.

He said he had heard no exceptional circumstances that would justify the release of Pistorius.

“Even if the court accepts his version, what remains?

“The premeditated murder of an intruder. Everything up to the shooting was planned, in his version.

“We cannot accept that he acted in self-defence,” Nel said.

It was uncontested evidence, he said, that two cellphones and the firearm with which Reeva Steenkamp was shot were found on the mat in front of the shower.

“How did they get there?

“If the accused shot from the bathroom entrance, as he claims, how did the weapon end up on the mat?

“Except if the state’s version is correct, that he walked into the bathroom, shot and dropped the weapon,” he added.

That was something Pistorius’s team did not explain, he said.

“Why would the deceased, if she wanted to go to the toilet at 3 am, take her cellphone with her, but leave it on the mat in front of the shower?

“Why was the accused’s phone in the same area?

“Even if someone plans a murder, shoots someone, remorse could set in straightaway when you realise what you have done.

“So you shoot, drop the weapon and grab the cricket bat to break open the door,” Nel said.

He asked why Pistorius’s family was so keen to get a memory stick with an overseas bank account number from his safe.

“Then they say it is a corporate account that he can’t draw on. Why so keen if it doesn’t mean anything?

“The accused has money. That is our concern,” the prosecutor continued.

He said Pistorius seemed to be under the impression he might not be tried for the shooting.

This was reflected in his use of the words “should there be a trial” in his affidavit.

Nel said Pistorius had not offered to give up his passport, but had merely said he would if it was a condition of bail.

It seemed Pistorius wanted to go on with his life as if nothing had happened.

He said “the love that the defence speaks about was not to be seen that evening”.

He said that in Pistorius’s version, he walked past the bed at least twice and “didn’t notice Reeva Steenkamp wasn’t there”.

“He went to the balcony. He went to get the firearm when he heard something. He went to the bathroom. Never did he lean over and ask her if she heard something.”

Furthermore, there was never a direct danger in the bedroom. It was about two metres to the bedroom door, an easy escape route.

“But the accused rushes towards the ‘danger’, seven metres from the room, and then he has to go round that corner, without his prostheses,” Nel argued.

He asked why Pistorius had fired in any case.

“The only reason you fire four shots is to kill.

“At the least there will be culpable homicide.”

Nel also referred to allegations that Pistorius had threatened people previously, and said it was indicative of his character.

“We have threats and a murder.

“Only one person in this court knows what happened that night,” Nel said.

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