Oldwadge queries deleted phrase from statement

2014-03-24 14:35
Barry Roux and Oscar Pistorius in court (Sapa)

Barry Roux and Oscar Pistorius in court (Sapa)

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Pretoria - A deleted phrase in a sworn statement from a witness was examined in Oscar Pistorius's murder trial in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Monday.

Kenny Oldwadge, for the Paralympic athlete, was asking Annette Stipp, an occupational therapist, why her reference to seeing a man walking in Pistorius's house was deleted after she signed her sworn statement.

Stipp, whose house is near Pistorius's in Silver Woods Estate, Pretoria, has testified to hearing screams and shouting from the athlete's house around 03:00 on 14 February last year.

Pistorius is accused of the premeditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He contends he shot her through the locked door of his toilet, thinking she was an intruder.

Asked by Oldwadge to explain why the reference to the walking man was deleted, Stipp said: "The fact that there was a man walking was not my observation."

She conceded that she had signed a statement saying she saw a man walking past a window in the direction of Pistorius's house the night he shot his girlfriend dead.

She said she changed her version of events after thinking about the events of 14 February 2013 very carefully and decided that she had not seen this after all.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel leapt up to defend his Statewitness, saying Oldwadge had not asked his question properly.

Oldwadge said she had testified earlier to not remembering if she heard dogs barking at the time.

Nel said there was a difference between not being able to remember something, and saying one did not remember hearing something.

"I fail to appreciate how there can be a difference between memory and 'I cannot remember'," said Oldwadge.

Stipp testified earlier that she might have turned off the barking as white noise but she did hear a woman screaming, a man screaming and six shots fired from the direction of Pistorius's home.

"This is not the first time that it appears that her memory has failed," said Oldwadge referring to the testimony.

Dogs barking

Nel countered there was a difference between memory failure and not hearing dogs barking.

At this point Judge Thokozile Masipa leaned forward and asked: "Are we talking about dogs barking?"

As the court giggled, she said: "Mr Nel is quite correct, if that is the defence, that dogs barked, then you have to say it."

Oldwadge added: "It was a feature of her evidence that she heard dogs barking.

"My Lady, I'll move on."

Stipp's husband Johan has previously testified that from the couple's bedroom balcony he saw a person moving walking behind the frosted bathroom window of Pistorius's house on the morning of 14 February. There was light on in the bathroom at the time.

Pistorius has been charged with the premeditated murder of Steenkamp and contraventions of the Firearms Control Act.

He allegedly fired a shot from a Glock pistol under a table at a Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013.

On 30 September 2012 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

Read more on:    kenny oldwadge  |  reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  pistorius trial  |  crime

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