The infamous murder trial of South African Paralympian athlete, Oscar Pistorius, resumed on Thursday in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.
The court resumed in order to hear both the state’s and Pistorius’s legal teams give their final closing statements before a decision is to be made by Judge Thokozile Masipa. If Judge Masipa does indeed find Oscar Pistorius to be guilty of the premeditated murder of his late girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, he will most likely face a full life-sentence in prison. He could, however, receive a lighter charge in the form of culpable homocide, in which case, Pistorius will most likely have to serve fifteen years behind bars.
The court heard today that the state witnesses were credible, according to the state’s attorney, prosecutor Gerrie Nel. “What’s in it for them to lie?” he said, “There is no reason for them to lie. They were good witnesses.” This came in response to the fact that the witnesses were allegedly allowed to make contact with one another in the holding room, prior to giving testimony in the court, which was pointed out by Pistorius’s defence lawyer, Barrie Roux. However, according to Nel the statements made by the witnesses were all in agreement with one another and there was no contradiction. Nel argued that there is no reason for them to lie, as they will receive no benefit in doing so.
Nel also requested that Judge Masipa disregard Pistorius’s testimony due to the fact that it is, “devoid of any truth.”
Roux began his final statement on Thursday afternoon, but will conclude on Friday. In his time in front of the court, he accused the state of avoiding any witnesses that could have potentially damaged their case, claiming that the state had not called forward many of the possible witnesses because of this. He also stated that there is proof of evidence tampering in the form of a photograph of a police officer moving a plug in Pistorius’s bedroom.
Roux also gave reason for why Pistorius was not always anxious in order to refute the state’s claims that he was only anxious when the situation suited him. “An anxious person does not walk around showing distress,” Roux said. He explained that it took specific situations to invoke anxiety in a person.
Roux also argued that the state had failed to substantiate and prove many of the arguments they were using, including the fact that Pistorius does not scream in a high-pitched voice, that Pistorius’s cricket bat may have made sounds similar to a gunshot and that two of Pistorius’s neighbours claimed to have heard the screams of a man. “The state failed to dispute the arguments of two immediate neighbours,” Roux said.
The case will continue to be heard in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria from Friday morning at 9:30 (CAT)