Cop quizzed in Carl Pistorius case

Vanderbijlpark - Evidence given by a police constable during the culpable homicide trial of Carl Pistorius, brother of murder accused Paralympian Oscar Pistorius, was questioned in the Vanderbijlpark Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

"The measurements you gave the court were wrong, constable," Pistorius's lawyer Kenny Oldwage told Constable Robert Raphadu.

Raphadu attended the accident scene in 2008 where Pistorius's bakkie collided with Maria Barnard's motorbike. She died in hospital a few days later.

Pistorius is on trial on a charge of culpable homicide.

During cross-examination Oldwage questioned Raphadu's sketch plan of the accident scene. He said the distances and measurements were inaccurate.

The sketch was also not dated, the number plate of the motorbike was not written down, and no photographs were taken at the scene.

The dispute in measurements prompted Magistrate Buks du Plessis to call for an inspection in loco of the scene, which the media would not be allowed to film.

"I would ask the media to respect that it is still the court being in session there," said Du Plessis.

Difference in measurements

After the inspection, which lasted over an hour, Oldwage pointed out the obvious differences between Raphadu's measurements and those taken during the inspection.

He put it to Raphadu that on his sketch plan he indicated the distance from the fixed point, a pole, to the point of impact was 14m. However, the inspection proved the distance was almost 17m.

"On the day in question you didn't even have a tape measure... you attempted to pace out certain distances," Oldwage said.

Raphadu disputed this.

"We had a tape. We used a tape. Each and every police car has one inside."

Oldwage said he was misleading the court as there was no explanation for his actions.

"My comment is I used my tape. It gave me that number. It's all I can say," Raphadu said.

When pushed to explain how the distances could have varied so much, Raphadu said: "They are supposed to vary because you were not using the tape that I was using."

Raphadu testified earlier that Barnard was still alive when he arrived at the accident scene on 8 March 2008.

"I tried to talk to the accident victim, I was close to her. I didn't smell alcohol."

Oldwage asked Raphadu about the length of the tape measure used the day of the accident.

"I'm not sure about the distance of the tape itself, but it was longer than the distance we measured," he said.

Quizzed over discrepancies

Olwage presented Raphadu with numerous pictures taken at the accident scene later that day.

Raphadu conceded that there were differences between the pictures and his sketch of the scene.

"That one does not look like mine," he said.

Asked why there were discrepancies he said: "I was there physically and you came later. That's why your photo is wrong."

When presented with another photograph Raphadu also said it was incorrect.

"According to me it's a lie."

He said the position of brake marks in the picture were not as he saw it on the day of the accident.

Pistorius's sister Aimee and his father Henke were in court throughout the day.

The matter was postponed until May 21.

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