The motive is ‘I want to kill’

2013-02-20 00:00

HE could not rule out the possibility that there was premeditation.

So said magistrate Desmond Nair in finding that the case against Oscar Pistorius falls under schedule 6 of the Criminal Procedure Act, imposing a greater burden of proof on an applicant for bail (see story at right).

Prosecutor advocate Gerrie Nel said that Pistorius himself admitted in his statement that he prepared himself and walked to the bathroom with the clear plan and intent to kill the “intruder”.

He did this while the “intruder” was harmlessly in the toilet.

In itself, this implies the premeditated murder of a “defenceless intruder”.

According to the state, premeditation doesn’t require months of preplanning.

Nel said the state was confident that the crime fell under schedule 6.

In the state’s case, handed to the court, he said the onus rests on the accused to convince the court that there are exceptional circumstances justifying his release on bail. The court must also be convinced the release is in the interests of justice.

The state submitted that the definition of premeditation includes an accused weighing his actions and deciding to act to murder a person. It may include a degree of preparation.

Nel said that the only reasonable inference was that Pistorius armed himself, put on his prosthetic legs, walked seven metres to the bathroom and shot Reeva Steenkamp while she was in the toilet.

He shot four times, aiming at the washbasin.

“If I arm myself, walk a distance and murder a person, that is premeditated,” he told the packed courtroom, arguing that Pistorius had time to think about what he was doing.

“The door is closed. There is no doubt. I walk seven metres and I kill.”

“The motive is ‘I want to kill’. That’s it,” he added.

“This deceased was in a 1,4 by 1,14 metre little room. She could go nowhere. It must have been horrific.”

Pistorius lives in a secure complex and would have been in bed with Steenkamp sleeping next to him, the state’s argument reads.

There is no reasonable explanation to support his version that he thought it was an intruder. In his ruling, Nair said the intruder story could be part of the premeditation.

Advocate Barry Roux SC, for Pistorius, asked, among other things, where the state’s proof was that Pistorius put on his legs before shooting.

Roux handed a list of questions to the state seeking clarity on certain of their assertions. The defence wants access to reasonable extra information. Nel undertook to answer the questions today.


The state’s case

THE state submits that these are “objective facts”.

n There were two people in the house on the evening of February 13/14 — Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp, who were in a relationship.

n Steenkamp arrived between 5 pm and 6 pm and planned to spend the night.

n An overnight bag was found in the main bedroom and a washbag in the bathroom (the crime scene).

(In response to this, advocate Barry Roux, for Pistorius, said: “So what? She was his girlfriend.”)

n The deceased was shot three times while she was in the toilet behind a closed door.

n The bathroom and toilet are about seven metres from the main bedroom and on the top floor.

The main entrance and living room of the house are below.

n A passage leads from the bedroom to the bathroom.

n The house is in an secure complex with 24-hour security.

n The door to the toilet was broken open from outside — the only reasonable explanation is that it was locked and could not be opened.

n Pistorius gained entry to the toilet and carried Steenkamp to the ground floor, where he met security guards.

n The main door of the house was not locked.

n Pistorius told a friend/his sister he thought it was an intruder.

The state submits that this was part of his pre-planning to use a firearm. Why would an intruder lock himself in the bathroom, asked prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

n There might have been a row between Pistorius and Steenkamp.

— Jeanne-Marié Versluis.

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