Day ten of the Oscar Pistorius Trial came and went on Friday at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. Oscar is being accused of the premeditated murder of his then girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, a model and law student during the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013. He however denies the charge and argues instead, that he killed her in error after mistaking her for a burglar.
Day ten opened with the former investigating officer of the case and the first official person at the scene of the alleged crime, Gillian van Rensburg. He was being cross examined by the now notorious defence lawyer, Barry Roux. What came out during the whole of day ten was that, if the accused gets his acquittal, the one entity that can be held responsible for this will be the police. Defence attorney Roux was at great pains to illustrate to all and sundry but especially to Judge Masipa how inefficient the police were in handling the crime scene and the evidence that was gathered therefrom.
Barry Roux sought to create doubt as to the reliability of the crime scene photos by showing that some photos were taken after some items had been moved or removed. As an example, he showed that there were images that showed the one phone when the phone had in actual fact been under one of the towels, showing that the scene had been tampered with. He also revealed in his cross examination that one of these photos had been incorrectly labelled. To further illustrate his point on the inefficiency of the police on this particular day, he chose an image which showed the duvet spread on the bed when, according to the police, it had been found on the floor.
Another example of the scene not being reliable was the several images depicting Reeva’s flip flops that were seen in as many different positions as there were images. The leader of the defence team managed as usual to get the state witness tongue-tied when he quizzed him about the keys. He showed one image which had keys to Oscar’s house, the crime scene. When he showed another one, the same bunch had keys missing which prompted the learned lawyer to ask what happened to the rest of the keys in an attempt to allude to the fact that there was a lot of tampering with the crime scene. No explanation was forthcoming from the esteemed former officer.
Van Rensburg was, however more forthcoming with the information that he had discovered and reported the case of the missing watches from Oscar’s collection. This, obviously did not help the prosecution’s case at all. The nail in the proverbial police coffin was the fact that, in their reports and interviews, the police had mentioned that Oscar had been wearing a bloody shirt. However, none of the pictures showed him with that kind of shirt. When required to explain this discrepancy, the former police chief said he did not know anything about it.
Perhaps in an attempt to retain van Rensburg as a credible witness, Gerrie Nel, the prosecutor, asked the then investigating officer what he had focussed on on arrival at the crime scene. In his response, the former police officer mentioned the bat, cellphone, gun and blood in the bathroom. In the bedroom, his attention was drawn to the watches, trousers, fan, as well as the open window with no burglar proofing and the cartridges that were between the bathroom and bedroom. The case was adjourned to Monday morning. Although it was set for 3-20 March, it is expected to drag on into April.