Oscar's team ready to prove case

2014-03-25 20:19
Barry Roux and Oscar Pistorius in court. (Picture: Sapa)

Barry Roux and Oscar Pistorius in court. (Picture: Sapa)

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Pretoria - “My lady, this is the State’s case!” said State prosecutor Gerrie Nel on Tuesday afternoon.

He was cut short, again, so that the defence could have something to say.

What we got after Advocate Barry Roux asked, was another brief adjournment so that the defence can find those State witnesses it wishes to co-operate with.

But the State has laid its pieces of the puzzle on the table. Nel just hasn’t had the chance to put them all together neatly.

His opportunity will come on Friday morning.

We might hazard a guess as to the State’s case, though. You will recall that Nel is arguing for premeditated murder, two charges of using a firearm improperly and one of holding bullets without the necessary permit.

From the neighbours who overheard the killing of Reeva Steenkamp, the State wanted to get testimony of two, distinct voices that screamed out that night.

And most witnesses stuck to this memory. From neighbours who were 180m away to those who were just next door, we heard that there was something of a commotion at the house that night, and two distinct sets of bangs.

Most were convinced they heard gunshots.

One suspects that this is where the case for premeditated murder will hang.

Oscar Pistorius’s version is that he thought he was defending himself against a dangerous intruder when he shot through the closed toilet door.

Yet how could that be if a woman screamed as he shot? Wouldn’t that have alerted him to his mistake?

Crime in Silver Woods

On Tuesday, the courts very briefly heard from a Warrant Officer Adriaan Maritz, who is some kind of an administrator at the Boschkop police station.

He gave us an analysis of the reported crime in the area where the Pistorius house is located.

In a three-year period, there was one reported house robbery, one case of malicious damage to property, five cases of theft (including Pistorius’s watch that was apparently stolen after the police swarmed his house to investigate), and one case of murder.

No prizes for guessing who the last charge was for.

I was chatting to the editor of Beeld not long ago, who said that they did this kind of analysis soon after the shooting happened, and found that the Boschkop precinct is easily one of the safest in the country.

In other words, could Pistorius reasonably fear dangerous intruders? Well, we will see what the judge makes of that.

Victim of crime

Pistorius has apparently told his lawyers that he has often been a victim of crime, yet Maritz could not find these incidents when he searched the police database.

The other charges are neither here nor there, really. (My legal experts agree – contravening the Firearms Control Act and premeditated murder are entirely different animals. You don’t bother Roux with the former.)

It would seem that the defence agrees too, in spite of the fact that Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

They hardly spent any time on the incident in which a gun was discharged in a crowded restaurant and through the sunroof of a car.

Is it enough that Samantha Taylor and Darren Fresco, the primary witnesses to both cases seemingly suffer from acute bouts of selective memory?

But then we also heard from the restaurant owners and Kevin Lerena, who all but made it a certainty that the Tasha’s incident and cover-up happened.

It is now up to the defence to put up its own case. For all of Roux’s impressive posturing, all he has had to do since the trial started is poke holes in the State’s case.

It is now his opportunity to convince the court that his client really did make a terrible mistake on Valentine’s Day last year.

Read more on:    gerrie nel  |  reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  barry roux  |  crime  |  pistorius trial

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