The question of why Reeva never made a sound throughout the shooting and shouting does not make sense at all. These were the sentiments of State Prosecutor Gerrie Nel as he continued with his cross-examination of Oscar Pistorius, the main defence witness and accused in the murder of Reeva Steenkamp in the North Gauteng High Court, Pretoria on Friday.
The prosecution is accusing Pistorius of intentionally shooting his law student cum model girlfriend after a domestic feud on the morning of the 14th of February, 2013. He, on the other hand, argues that he thought he was shooting at an intruder who was in the bedroom when he fired the fatal four shots, three of which killed Steenkamp.
The famous bull terrier Nel was on the attack as he asked Oscar to recount what transpired on that fateful morning. When asked about his memory and what he remembered of the morning of the shooting, Pistorius intimated that he clearly remembered events prior to the shooting but not afterwards. He further said that his intention was to put himself between the intruder and Reeva and shouted to her to get down. To this the prosecutor replied that if he had cared so much about his girlfriend, he would have taken the time to find out how she was. He also did not understand how Oscar could have felt vulnerable and at the same time gone towards the danger. Oscar informed the judge that he had not felt a need to check on her as he had spoken to her a few moments earlier. Nel then informed the court that he did not believe that Oscar had spoken to Reeva at all as this had only surfaced recently and had not been in his bail application.
It was at this point that the prosecutor brought his key question: that of Steenkamp not saying anything. According to the defence version, Oscar was less than three meters from the bathroom door when he shouted for the intruder to leave his house and for Reeva to summon the police. Nel’s question was why it is then that Reeva did not speak or scream. Pistorius’s reply was that she may have been too frightened to do so. He further admitted that, at that point, his ears were ringing and Nel suggested that could have explained why he had missed the screaming. Oscar, however, insisted that his version was that no woman had screamed. The case was adjourned to Monday.
Meanwhile, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has received a complaint about the way Nel treated Oscar while he was on the stand. The SAHRC spokesperson, Isaac Mangena confirmed that they had received a complaint from a former commissioner of SAHRC, Jan Landman, to investigate the conduct and utterances of the prosecutor in the courtroom on Friday. The commission said they would assess the complaint to decide whether there were any grounds for investigation. The complaint stems from the fact that Nel called Oscar a liar and, according to Landman, this denies the accused the right to a fair trial. To lend credence to this claim, the prosecutor had to be reprimanded strongly by Judge Thokozile Masipa for this statement.