Africa

Thursday 24 July 2014

Pistorius trial: It's all about you, taunts lawyer

Aislinn Laing in Pretoria

Published 11/04/2014|02:30

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Oscar Pistorius reacts at the end of his trial at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria April 10, 2014. Reuters
Oscar Pistorius reacts at the end of his trial at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria April 10, 2014. Reuters
Brother Carl Pistorius, centre, and Aimee Pistorius, right, listen as state prosecutor Gerrie Nel  questions accused Oscar Pistorius, in court in Pretoria, South Africa. Photo: AP
Brother Carl Pistorius, centre, and Aimee Pistorius, right, listen as state prosecutor Gerrie Nel questions accused Oscar Pistorius, in court in Pretoria, South Africa. Photo: AP
State prosecutor Gerrie Nel during cross questioning of Oscar Pistorius, in court. Photo: AP
State prosecutor Gerrie Nel during cross questioning of Oscar Pistorius, in court. Photo: AP

Oscar Pistorius was accused of "mixing up his lies" yesterday in a bruising cross-examination by the state prosecutor who said his account of the death of his model girlfriend was "so improbable" that no one would believe it.

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The athlete told the court that he had fired "accidentally" at the locked lavatory door at his Pretoria home early on St Valentine's Day last year because he thought an intruder was inside and about to come out.

Mr Pistorius also insisted that his finger had not been on the trigger when he accidentally fired his friend's gun in a crowded Johannesburg restaurant, prompting Gerrie Nel, the prosecutor, to ask: "Who fired it then? The person sitting next to you?"

In both shootings, Mr Pistorius said, he "didn't have time to think" about what he was doing. "Didn't have time to think?" the prosecutor asked mockingly.

Mr Pistorius said Reeva Steenkamp was "exaggerating" when she accused him of throwing tantrums in front of their friends. He said he had been "upset" when she accused him of picking on her.

In a second day of intense cross-examination, Mr Pistorius claimed he did not see or hear Ms Steenkamp get out of bed moments before he heard a noise from the bathroom that he took for an intruder. But he said that he did see her jeans on the floor in the bedroom he described as "pitch black" and was able to describe the position and movement of the duvet on the bed.

Asked how Ms Steenkamp could have got out of bed and past him in the confined space of the room without him noticing, he explained his senses were blurred by the noise of the fans and that she must have rolled to the other side. "Your version is a lie," Mr Nel said. "Impossible."

Asked how the fan, the duvet and the curtains were in different positions in police photographs to where they should have been from his account, Pistorius suggested police had moved all three. "You keep trying but it's not working Mr Pistorius," Mr Nel told him. "Your version is so improbable that nobody would ever think it's reasonably possible."

The athlete's legal team frequently complained to the judge about Mr Nel's tactics, and Mr Pistorius pleaded with the judge that he was "confused" and did not understand the lawyer's abrasive questions.

The prosecutor spent much of the day seeking to paint Mr Pistorius (27) as an egotistical and weak character who sought to blame all those around him for his misfortunes. "Your life is just about you," he told the athlete. The case continues. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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