Pistorius trial, day 2, part 1 - as it happened

2014-03-04 07:51

Get all the latest from the second day of Oscar Pistorius's murder trial at the North Gauteng High Court. Get Monday's updates here and here.


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Last Updated at 23:04

Get the latest updates from Tuesday afternoon here.

Oscar Pistorius is back in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria for the second day of his murder trial.

On Monday, Pistorius pleaded not guilty to all the charges and had his statement read to the court about what happened on that fateful Valentine's Day morning, before the court heard testimony from the State's first witness, Michelle Burger, a neighbour.

12:50 - Court is adjourned for lunch.

12:45 - Van der Merwe says voices at Oscar Pistorius's house also woke her up on 21 February this year.

12:39 - Aerial photograph shown, witness identifies her house. Other photos displayed, of balcony etc. These are also shown in court, and on TV coverage. Witness says she  knew Oscar Pistorius lived at house across the road.  

12:37 - She later got up and went to the window, she saw many vehicles outside Oscar's house.

12:36 - Witnesses asked if voice that irritated her was male or female. She says it was female. 

12:35 - 

12:34 - Nel asks what happened to the voices she heard. After hearing the four sounds, there was total silence, the witness says. She then woke her husband, he said they were gunshots. Husband then got up and looked out of the window, but couldn't see anything. Then heard a commotion. Her husband later said that the person who was crying very loudly was Oscar.

12:29 - Van der Merwe says she heard "exploding sounds" or four bang sounds, but this translated as gunshots when witness didn't directly say that.

12:26 - Witness is "terribly tense", urged to relax and take her time. She tells that she woke at about 01:30 to hear shouting, it lasted about an hour. Witness says she was irritated by the shouting as she wanted to sleep. Put pillow on top of her head to try and get back to sleep.

12:24 - Witness is testifying in Afrikaans. New interpreter in court today. Gerrie Nel asks where she lives, and if she ever met Oscar Pistorius. She lives in Silverwoods Estate.

12:22 - Next witness, number 6 on the list of witnesses. Judge makes an order that no photograph of this witness may be televised or published in any form. Witness is sworn in in Afrikaans. 

12:21 - Judge thanks Michelle Burger for her assistance, telling her she may step down from the witness stand. Next witness, Estelle van der Merwe, is called.

12:19 - Roux asks if she had in her hand or saw her husband's statement. She replies she didn't, and he ends his cross-examination, saying he has nothing further. 

12:18 - Witness is now being asked about her emotions at the time of making her statement. She breaks down, saying it was quite raw.

12:15 - Witness talking about knowing what a cricket bat sounds like, and what shots sound like. Being questioned on her ability to recognise the sound of gunfire. She sticks to her guns. Er…

12:11 - Moments before the shots, could hear terrible screams, could hear emotions. It's very quiet in our area, can even hear jackals at night. Sound travels – witness

12:08 - Statement on bullet wounds to Reeva Steenkamp read out in court by Roux – someone with those bullet wounds would have no cognitive function, he states. Tells witness it cannot be that there was screaming after last shots. Witness reiterates that she heard shouting just after last shot, approximately 1 or 2 seconds afterwards.

12:06 - 

12:05 - Roux repeats his argument, that witness heard Pistorius screaming for help and then him bashing down the toilet door with a cricket bat.

12:03 - 

12:00 - I cannot answer on behalf of Mr Pistorius, a clearly exasperated witness tells Barry Roux. Prosecution objects to witness being "badgered". Judge tells Roux that he has "exhausted" this line of questioning. 

11:56 - Witness is standing her ground against Roux's relentless questioning. 

11:51 - Now back to what the sound of a cricket bat hitting a door sounds like. And what gunshots sound like.

11:47 - Objection to a "sarcastic" remark by Barry Roux, after he said "of course not" to the witness. Judge agrees and Roux apologises and withdraws it.

11:40 - Roux tells the witness that her statement bears a striking similarity to her husband's statement. He will show that one statement was used as a template for the other statement. Witness points out they live in the same house and had the same experience. 

11:39 - 

11:34 - Court proceedings resume. Michelle Burger is still being cross-examined about her statement. 

11:18 - Oscar Pistorius appears to be signing a legal document while his lawyers watch, according to Karyn Maughan. 

11:11 - 

10:57 - Court breaks for tea. 

10:55 - 

10:53 - Burger tells court about how she and her husband gave their statements to the police separately, she wasn't allowed to hear what they were discussing. Told Captain van Aardt what she heard, then statement was taken. "My version is my version", she says, adding they didn't discuss or manipulate their statements.

10:52 - Roux asks if she is 100% confident she could hear it was the same woman shouting before and after the shots. Burger states she is. While she was focusing on calling for help, she wasn't focused on the screaming, Burger concedes. 

10:48 - Witness points out that new houses have been built between her and Pistorius's house since last year, so a test of hearing between the houses would be difficult. 

10:45 - Roux questions whether witness could hear emotion and fear in the screams from 177 metres away. Witness says she could hear petrifying screams before the gunshots. Witness repeats that the windows were open, and it was a quiet area so sound travelled. 

10:42 - That is my version, witness confirms under cross-examination. I wasn't sitting there with a notebook, the apparently exasperated witness states. 

10:40 - Witness: I heard shots, and I heard screams. I can't recall after which of the shots I heard her scream. There were 4 shots. I heard a petrifying scream, then shots started. Last time I heard the woman's voice, was shortly after the last shot.

10:37 - Sound of shots, at distance of 177 metres, would make it impossible to hear screaming, asks Roux. Judge rebukes him for putting words in mouth of witness.

10:35 - Screaming, shots, still heard her, then it stopped after shots. Witness explains her statement to police. Roux grilling her on her statement.  

10:31 - Objection, after Barry Roux reads witness's statement from yesterday, about her hearing shots and screaming. Trying to unpack whether there was subsequent screaming after shots fired. 

10:28 - eNCA maintains that it is not in violation of the court order on showing a photograph of the witness, and it did seek legal advice. 

10:24 - I did not change or alter what I heard that day, Michelle Burger says. 

10:22 - I was surprised to hear in the bail application that there was no intruder in the house, says witness, under detailed cross-examination from Barry Roux.

10:19 - Screams sounded like there was someone in the house, threatening her, witness states. Everything I heard contributed to me thinking it was a housebreaking. 

10:17 - Cross examination continues, witness questioned on whether she thought there was an intruder in the house.

10:15 - Judge orders that no photographs be published, from any source, regarding any witness who has requested that their photos not to be published. An investigation to follow to find out exactly what is happening in terms of the non-compliance or violation of court order. Judge then orders proceedings to continue without any delay. 

10:14 - Kenny Oldwage says the cross-examination of the witness should continue without delay.

10:12 - Proceedings under way again – Gerrie Nel says showing a photograph of a witness is a violation of the court order. 

10:06 - This could take a while - the original court order must be examined to see if eNCA broke the rules by just showing a still photograph, according to Phillip de Wet. 

10:02 - eNCA's Patrick Conroy explains the station's decision to show a photo of witness Michelle Burger while court in session, saying it was a file photo from her employer, and it was also printed in daily newspapers: 

9:54 - 

9:52 - Proceedings interrupted as it's pointed out that the face of the witness is being shown live on TV – against her wishes and in violation of court order. Judge says she regards this in a very serious light. 

9:51 - I heard terrible screams from the female, but I heard both of them shouting for help. Didn't hear a man screaming.

9:49 - She was fearing for her life, that's what I heard - witness.

9:48 - Moments before shots were fired, there were petrified screams – she was very scared of something that was threatening her life. That doesn't coincide with thinking there's something outside, witness says.

9:45 - I knew what I heard when I woke up, and that did not coincide with what I heard from the bail application, the witness says.

9:45 - Judge tells witness to answer counsel's question. Quickest way to get out of the witness box is to answer exactly what counsel is asking, not give an explanation as well. 

9:42 - I heard screaming, says witness. My version does not coincide with the version heard during the bail application. 

9:41 - Roux questioning whether witness was influenced by what she heard during Pistorius's bail application. Witness confirms she heard a woman scream. 

9:39 - Defence lawyer Roux says he's going to deal with "credibility and reliability" of Michelle Burger, the first witness.

9:38 - Court proceedings under way. Cross-examination of witness Michelle Burger continues.

9:36 - The judge has walked in, everybody rises.

9:25 - Reeva Steenkamp's "Joburg" family, the Myers are in court. Reeva's mother is not expected in court, according to Alex Crawford.  

9:20 - Oscar Pistorius looks more at ease today. Looking back at the public gallery more and looking around, tweets Sapa.

9:15 - Barry Roux and Kenny Oldwage are having a cheerful chat with IO Mike van Aardt, tweets Barry Bateman. 

9:14 -

9:12 - 

9:10 - Oscar Pistorius has arrived in court.

9:05 - Court filling up. 

8:54 - 

8:49 - And here's William Booth discussing how the small details count in this case. Watch it here.

8:47 - In case you missed it, here's criminal defence attorney William Booth talking about the first day of the Pistorius trial. Watch it here.

8:44 - Media munch their way through Pistorius trial. For more, click here

8:40 -


8:35 -  Three key questions in the Pistorius trial. Read more here.

8:30 -


8:28 - Investigating officers Captains Mike van Aardt and Francios Moller just slipped into courtroom GD, according to Sapa.

8:24 -

8:22 - Michelle Burger, the first witness, has arrived in court. 

8:20 -


8:14 - @GeraldImrayAP tweets that a few TV crews getting washed out in the rain outside #OscarPistorius court. Saw couple of presenters with big plastic bags ties to feet.

8:10 - According to @CapricornFMNews, Twitter users feel the interpreter’s nervousness will impact on the  standard of the court proceedings in the Oscar Pistorius trial. Do you agree? Let us know in the comments section below.

8:05 -  The mother of the court interpreter has told Jacaranda News that her daughter can speak English, but the pressure got to her – she was concerned that she was inexperienced but was given no choice. She was apparently afraid she'll end up like the Mandela memorial service interpreter.

8:00 - According to Jacaranda News, journalists bought 450 cups of coffee on the first day of the Pistorius trial yesterday.

7:52 - Still not sure who is who in court? Check out News24's handy infographic

7:50 - @MandyWiener tweets that Pistorius's neighbour Michelle Burger returns to the stand at 9:30. Her husband is expected to take the stand after her cross-examination.

7:40 - News24 correspondent Sipho Hlongwane reports from the Oscar Pistorius trial at the North Gauteng High Court yesterday. Watch it here.

7:35 - According to @LeanneManas, Day 2 of the Pistorius trial will start with Pistorius's lawyer cross-examining the first State witness, Michelle Burger. 

7:33 - 

7:30 - It's another wet morning in Pretoria as journalists descend on the North Gauteng High Court. 

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