Pistorius asked friend to take blame for firing gun
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OSCAR Pistorius asked his friend to take the blame when he fired a gun in a crowded Johannesburg restaurant, the South African paralympian's murder trial was told.
The Pretoria court heard details of the first of two charges of recklessly discharging a firearm in public, which are being levelled against the athlete in addition to the alleged murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last year.
Mr Pistorius (27) was meeting three friends for lunch when he was passed a gun under the table by one of the party.
Kevin Larena, a boxer who was sitting opposite the athlete, said the gun's owner, Darren Fresco, warned Mr Pistorius that it was loaded. Moments later, Mr Larena said, the gun went off.
"There was just complete silence. I was in shock and I looked down at the floor," he said. "Exactly where my foot was, there was a hole."
Mr Larena said his toe was cut by shrapnel. He added that Mr Pistorius was worried about the publicity the incident could have generated.
"Before anyone came to the table, I remember Oscar saying to Darren, 'Just please, say it was you. I don't want any attention,'" he said.
Jason Loupis, the restaurant's owner, also gave evidence. He told the court that there were 220 people in the restaurant and a child was sitting at the next table to Mr Pistorius.
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He said he was outside when the shot was fired and that when he asked what happened "Darren said, 'Sorry, Jason, my gun fell out of my tracksuit pants.' I said, 'Are you serious? Guys, this is not a joke.'"
Yesterday was the third day of Mr Pistorius's trial for the alleged murder of Ms Steenkamp (29) by shooting her through the locked lavatory door of his home.
Mr Pistorius says he shot through the door, believing there was an intruder inside. He is accused of killing Miss Steenkamp after an argument.
The second charge of recklessly discharging a firearm in public, which is yet to be heard, relates to Mr Pistorius allegedly firing a gun out of a car's sun roof.
The case continues. (© Daily Telegraph, London)