World
Prosecutor to Pistorius: "Your version is a lie"
Publish Date: Apr 11, 2014
Prosecutor to Pistorius: "Your version is a lie"
  • mail
  • img
newvision

  • Pistorius accused of murdering model girlfriend

  • Prosecutor Nel says Olympian keeps changing his story

  • Athlete faces life in prison if found guilty

A South African prosecutor accused Oscar Pistorius on Thursday of lying and altering his story when the Olympic and Paralympic athlete described the night he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

The double amputee sprinter, once revered across the world for his triumph over physical adversity, faces life in prison if convicted in the Pretoria High Court of the murder of Steenkamp, a 29-year-old law graduate and model.

Pistorius, known as 'Blade Runner' due to the prosthetics he wears on the track, says he shot Steenkamp in a tragic accident, firing at what he thought was an intruder hiding behind a toilet door in his luxury Pretoria home on Feb. 14 last year.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel, whose reputation as one of South Africa's toughest attorneys has earned him the nickname 'The Pitbull', cross-examined Pistorius while looking through photographs of the couple's bedroom taken after the shooting.

In a period of fierce questioning, Nel pointed out a series of objects in one picture which ran counter to Pistorius' account of events. In response, the sprinter accused the police of tampering with the scene but Nel ridiculed this suggestion.

"Let's sum up: A policeman moved the two fans, put the duvet on the floor, opened the curtains wider than they should be before the photographs were taken," Nel said.

"Your version is so improbable that nobody would ever think it's reasonably possibly true ... Your version is a lie."

Pistorius says after he shot Steenkamp, he ran out onto the balcony and screamed for help. However, in a picture shown to the court, a duvet and a large stand-up electrical fan clearly block his route to the balcony door.

With no direct witnesses, Nel's main task is to pick holes in Pistorius' testimony and cast doubt on his assertion he believed a burglar was in his house, a common fear in crime-obsessed South Africa.

Witnesses in nearby buildings have testified to hearing a woman's scream before the sound of shots, which the prosecution hopes will help prove that the couple had a heated argument before Pistorius intentionally killed Steenkamp.

'Anybody but yourself'

During much of the 19-day trial, Nel has sought to portray Pistorius as an arrogant hot-head who is reckless with firearms and refuses to take responsibility for his actions.

"You will blame anybody but yourself," Nel said to the 27-year-old track star, cross-examining him about a separate incident in which Pistorius is accused of firing a pistol in a packed restaurant.

Pistorius said the gun was given to him by a friend under the restaurant table and went off by itself. Police Captain Christian Mangena gave evidence earlier in the trial, saying the weapon could only fire if the trigger was pulled.

The athlete said he could not explain how the gun went off and questioned his own defence advocate Barry Roux's decision not to cross-examine Mangena on his evidence.

"Now you blame counsel Mr Roux," Nel said, prompting Roux to shake his head at a colleague.

"You are lying," Nel said, holding Pistorius in a stare. "You just refuse to take responsibility for anything."

In a dramatic opening to his cross-examination on Wednesday, Nel shocked the Pretoria court when he confronted Pistorius with a graphic photograph of the dead Steenkamp showing the side and back of her skull, her hair matted with blood and brain tissue.

Pistorius broke down and sobbed as Nel pushed him repeatedly to take responsibility for killing Steenkamp.

Reuters

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
European Commission head Jean Claude Juncker Monday urged Greece to vote "yes" in a referendum on bailout proposals or leave the euro as a bank shutdown ordered by Athens left the Greeks desperately scrambling for cash....
African Union says will not be observer in crisis-hit Burundi
The African Union announced it would not act as an observer in Monday's parliamentary polls in Burundi, saying the conditions were not right for "credible elections" after weeks of violent protests and international calls for the vote to be delayed....
Polling stations open for Burundi elections
SOME 3.8 million Burundians are eligible to vote in the polls, which the opposition and civil society society groups are boycotting, claiming they will not be free and fair...
French attack suspect begins to talk as gruesome
French authorities were transferring the man suspected of beheading his boss in an alleged jihadist attack to Paris on Sunday, as it emerged he sent a macabre "selfie" of the decapitation....
8 killed in ADF attack in DRC
FIVE civilians and three soldiers were killed in an attack by rebels on a Congolese army camp near Beni in the restive east of the country...
First lions to return to Rwanda after over two decades
Lions will return to Rwanda for the first time in more than two decades, wildlife officials have said....
With Eddie Kenzo’s win at the BET awards, is Ugandan music being recognized worldwide?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter