Judge Thokozile Masipa had to be called in several times to rein in the leader of the prosecution in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius on Monday. The double amputee is facing a possible life sentence if convicted of premeditated murder of his law graduate and model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013.
The bull terrier Nel was on the roll on Monday in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria where he was cross examining the accused. As per his reputation, he was adamant on interrogating even the most minor of the details of the athlete’s version of events on the night of the killing of the model. Among the details he sought to clarify, Nel addressed the issue of intent. He sought to have Oscar admit to the judge that when he fired the first shot, he intended to kill whoever would come out of the bathroom door.
In addition to this, he asked the accused if he saw the handle move to establish that whoever it was was coming out of the bathroom. Then the hound hounded Oscar about the words he used when he was speaking. At that point, Oscar became emotional and court had to be adjourned. Prosecutor Nel was not impressed and he asked him if he was using his emotional state as an escape. After court proceedings resumed, the accused, responding to one of the probing questions, Pistorius stated that he did not fire the gun intentionally. This, according to Gerrie Nel meant that he was using two lines of defence and this was not possible and Oscar had to choose one.
Pistorius was further asked by the prosecutor to recall the words that he had used in shouting at the intruder. This drew further tears from the athlete and the response that finally came was that he had said ‘get the f*** out of my house!’ The question of the fan that Oscar had to move around the room when he heard the noise was also brought up by the meticulous advocate. What came out was that Oscar had changed his version from placing the fan under the window to placing it at the foot of the bed. To add to his woes, the prosecutor informed the court that except for the jean and the flip flops, Reeva’s clothes were found packed in the overnight bag. This, he contends indicated that she was ready to leave and was killed to stop her doing this.
Advocate Nel scoffed at Oscar’s suggestion that he discovered that he may have mistaken Reeva for an intruder when he discovered that she was not in bed. Why, he asked, did he not check anywhere else and why did he continue to clutch his gun as if he still considered himself under threat of the intruder. Pistorius answered that he was still hoping that the burglar theory still held.
The case was adjourned to Tuesday.