Oscar Pistorius “can’t remember” key aspects of murder trial evidence
On day six of his cross-examination, Pistorius repeatedly said he “was not sure” or “can’t remember” when prosecutor Gerrie Nel pointed out inconsistencies in the athlete’s testimony.
A calm Pistorius said again and again that he did not understand the prosecution’s questions, interrupting the flow of the cross-examination.
The athlete is charged with the premeditated murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and law graduate who he allegedly killed on the eve of Valentine’s Day last year.
Pistorius allegedly shot Steenkamp four times in close succession through a closed bathroom door, saying he thought she was an intruder.
Last week, Pistorius had given long, explanatory answers to the prosecution’s questions and got caught up in contradictions.
When prosecutor Nel started grilling Pistorius over Steenkamp’s stomach contents on Monday, the athlete said the couple ate at 7.00 p.m. on the evening of her death.
The autopsy report of her stomach contents suggest the model had eaten again later than that.
“I don’t see how Reeva could possibly have eaten after seven o’clock. I don’t have an explanation,’’ said Pistorius, sounding tired.
The athlete then said he could not remember if he or the police first climbed up the stairs to the crime scene.
The prosecutor tried to get a firm answer out of Pistorius who claims the police tempered with the crime scene.
To the prosecution’s question, why there were blood spatters next to the bed, while Steenkamp was shot and killed in the bathroom, Pistorius said he “doesn’t understand” and “can’t follow.”
An exasperated growing Nel repeatedly asked Pistorius to “stop arguing,” calling the athlete’s version “improbable.”
Whenever Nel did pick up inconsistencies in Pistorius’ evidence, the athlete said “I’ve made a mistake. I’m sorry,” while Nel accused him of “tailoring evidence.”
“You see, your version is not probable,” Nel told Pistorius.
Pistorius argued that any inconsistencies between his written and verbal evidence stemmed from the fact that he was “traumatised and under medication” when the written statement was taken.
Only at the very end of Monday’s first cross-examination session did Pistorius break down in tears after Nel questioned him about the moment before he fired through the bathroom door.
“Get the fuck out of my house,” Pistorius said he shouted with his gun in his hand before sobbing loudly.
Last week, the prosecution had grilled Pistorius relentlessly, bringing the athlete to tears several times.
On Monday, Pistorius, looked tense and focused on his feet as he made his way through the crowds lining the entrance to the North Gauteng High Court in capital Pretoria.
A group of Pistorius supporters waited for the athlete’s arrival with white balloons that read “Oscar” and shouted “We love you,” as he entered the building.
Shortly before the start of the proceedings, Oscar sat down with his sister, Aimee, to pray.
Steenkamp’s mother, June, sat in the front row of the court’s public gallery together with members of the Women’s League of the ruling African National Congress.
They have been protesting at the trial to raise awareness of South Africa’s high rate of domestic violence.
Pistorius, whose legs were amputated at the knee at the age of 11 months because of a congenital abnormality, became the first amputee to compete against able-bodied athletes in the Olympics in London in 2012.
The trial is in its 22nd day and is expected to continue into May.
If Pistorius is found guilty of premeditated murder, he could face a life sentence, meaning he would spend at least 25 years in prison. (dpa/NAN)
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