Oscar Pistorius Trial: Closing Arguments

By Oliver Ngwenya    08-Aug-2014 06:41 UTC+02:00

On Thursday, the case of the state of the Republic of South Africa against Oscar Pistorius reopened after about a month in order that both sides to the debate present their closing arguments. Photo: Veooz.

Oscar Pistorius is on trial for the gunning down of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on the morning of Valentine’s Day in 2013. According to the state, the couple had an argument the night before and, in a feat of rage, Oscar would have attacked Reeva and harmed her physically but for the fact that the model sought refuge in the toilet which is adjacent to the bedroom. Realizing that he had no access to her, Oscar armed himself with a gun and fired four shots through the toilet door. Three of these bullets found their mark on Reeva, who was cowering behind the door. It is then, the state claims, that Oscar came to his senses and carried Reeva downstairs to seek help.

On the other hand, Oscar and his defence team insist that the athlete woke up in the early hours of the night and went to the balcony to retrieve a fan. On returning to the bedroom, he heard some noises in the bathroom and thought that an intruder was in there and he was intent on harming him and his girlfriend. He then picked up his gun and, after challenging whoever was in the bathroom to reveal themselves or get killed. After this did not happen, he then proceeded to fire the gun through the door.

In presenting his closing arguments on Thursday, the leader of the defence team, Barry Roux, accused the prosecutor, Gerrie Nel of deliberately leaving out important evidence because they were intent on getting Oscar convicted of murder. He appealed on the court to consider the evidence which was extracted from the state witnesses within reason of objective facts. A good example, he argued, was the fact that the prosecutors had failed to discern the sounds that were heard in the morning Miss Steenkamp was killed. He reminded the state that the first sounds were the sound of gunshots while the second set was that of the bat hitting the door. He posited that Mr Nel had not bothered to explain these because, doing this would have damaged his case completely. Advocate Barry Roux also hit out at the police and the way they handled the crime scene. He said this case exposed the police and their efficiency on the crime scene. The defence team further posited that the accused cannot be branded a liar if the police tempered with evidence.

The prosecution tore at the evidence that the defence had presented in court. Their leader, Nel, brought the attention of the judge to the fact the neighbors had not heard screams before the first set of sounds but only before the second. He added that in the absence of proof that Pistorius screams like a woman, it could only have been Steenkamp screaming. Most of his argument focussed on the discrepancies in the evidence that the accused and his team were relying on. However, his attempts to use the WhatsApp messages between Oscar and Reeva to show that the relationship between the two was strained were met with a high level of skepticism from the judge. Bulldog Gerrie as he is popularly known, spent a significant amount of time tearing into the evidence supplied by the defence’s expert witness. He said that most of the evidence he had given were not relevant to the case.

The closing arguments will continue for another two days after which the Judge, assisted by two assessors will retire to go through the more than four thousand pages of evidence in order to come up with a verdict. Oscar faces up to twenty five years if convicted. He also faces other charges of discharging his weapon in a public place, as well as those of illegal possession of ammunition.

Leave a comment