الجمعة , يونيو 12 2020

Oscar Pistorius branded ‘deceitful’



Oscar Pistorius

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Live: The closing argument by the prosecution in the Oscar Pistorius trial

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has been accused of being a “deceitful witness” who dropped the “baton of truth”, at the start of closing arguments in his trial for murder.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel began his concluding remarks on Thursday, with the defence due to follow on Friday.

Mr Pistorius denies murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

He says he mistook her for an intruder, but the prosecution says he deliberately shot her after a row.

Ms Steenkamp was killed at Mr Pistorius’ home in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria, on 14 February last year.

The long-running trial was adjourned last month ahead of closing arguments.

At the court in Pretoria, Mr Nel began his closing argument by accusing the athlete’s lawyers of presenting two lines of defence that “can never be reconciled”.

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Mr Pistorius said he had fired both involuntarily and also out of fear, Mr Nel argued, insisting the court had to choose only one of his defences.

He said the court “should have no difficulty in rejecting” the athlete’s version of events because it was “devoid of any truth”.

He also attacked Mr Pistorius for presenting himself as “a victim of circumstance.”

Mr Pistorius’ estranged father, Henke, was in the packed courtroom for the first time during the trial. It was also the first time that Barry Steenkamp, Reeva’s father, had attended.

Showdown

The BBC’s Africa correspondent, Andrew Harding, says Mr Nel will explain in detail during his remarks why he believes he has proved that Mr Pistorius deliberately murdered his girlfriend.

The evidence of neighbours and forensic experts will be important – but the athlete’s own testimony is crucial, our correspondent says.

State prosecutor Gerrie Nel (April 2014)Prosecutor Gerrie Nel went on the offensive once again as he began his closing argument on Thursday

Barry Roux, defence lawyer for murder accused, Oscar Pistorius (April 2014)Oscar Pistorius’ lawyer, Barry Roux, is expected to present his concluding remarks on Friday

File photo: Oscar Pistorius (right) and his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp pose for a picture in Johannesburg, 7 February 2013Mr Pistorius and his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp had been dating for three months before the fatal shooting

The prosecution is convinced he gave conflicting accounts of how and why the double amputee shot Ms Steenkamp four times through his toilet door.

Judge Thokozile Masipa – a subdued presence so far – is now likely to intervene more and her questions could well provide hints about a future verdict.

Oscar Pistorius’s lawyer, Barry Roux, will give his closing remarks after Mr Nel, in what correspondents say is the final showdown between two of South Africa’s top legal minds.

Judge Masipa is expected to adjourn the trial after hearing the arguments to consider her ruling, a process that analysts say will take in between a week to a month.

There is no jury.

If found guilty of murder, the 27-year-old, who went on trial on 3 March, could face life imprisonment.

If he is acquitted of that charge, the court will consider an alternative charge of culpable homicide, for which he could – if convicted – receive about 15 years in prison.

3D impression of Pistorius house

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  • 1. Balcony

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    Balcony

    Mr Pistorius said in his statement at the start of the trial that he woke in the early hours and walked on his stumps to the balcony, pulled in two fans, closed the sliding door and drew curtains. He said that shortly before he had spoken to Reeva, who was in bed beside him.

    He said he rejected prosecution claims that a witness heard arguing coming from the house before the shooting.

  • 2. Bathroom window

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    Mr Pistorius said he heard the bathroom window sliding open and believed that an intruder, or intruders, had entered the bathroom through a window which was not fitted with burglar bars.

    “Unbeknown to me, Reeva must have gone to the toilet in the bathroom at the time I brought in the fans,” he said.

    Mr Pistorius said he approached the bathroom armed with his firearm, to defend himself and his girlfriend, believing Ms Steenkamp was still in bed.

  • 3. Shooting

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    Both sides agree four bullets were fired. Ms Steenkamp was hit three times.

    Mr Pistorius said he fired his weapon after hearing a noise in the toilet which he thought was the intruder coming out of the toilet to attack him and Ms Steenkamp.

    He said he was in a fearful state, knowing he was on his stumps and unable to run away or properly defend himself.

    Mr Pistorius said he rejected claims that he was on his prostheses when he shot at the door.

    A witness told the trial she woke to hear a woman screaming and a man shouting for help. She said that after the screams she heard four shots.

  • 4. Bedroom

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    Mr Pistorius said he went back to the bedroom after shooting at the toilet door, still shouting for Reeva. Lifting himself up onto the bed, he felt over to the right hand side of it and noticed Ms Steenkamp was not there.

    Mr Pistorius said this was when he realised she could have been in the toilet.

  • 5. Toilet door

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    Mr Pistorius said he went back to the bathroom but the toilet was locked, so he returned to the bedroom, pulled on his prosthetic legs, turned on the lights before bashing in the toilet door with a cricket bat.

    Forensics expert Johannes Vermeulen told the court that the height of the marks on the door caused by the cricket bat suggest Mr Pistorius was on his stumps at the time.

  • 6. Emergency calls

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    Mr Pistorius’s defence team say he then called security at the gated housing complex and a private paramedic service before carrying Ms Steenkamp downstairs.

    A security guard claimed it was the other way round, and he had called Mr Pistorius first after reports of gunfire. However, phone records shown to the court revealed Mr Pistorius called the estate manager at 3:19am, a minute later he called the ambulance service and at 3:21am he called estate security.

    A minute later he received an incoming call – estate security calling him back.

    According to police phone expert Francois Moller, Mr Pistorius called his friend Justin Divaris a short time later and just after 4:00am he called his brother Carl.

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