The Oscar Pistorius Murder Trial still continues and it has entered its third week. On Tuesday, day fifteen of the trial, was the day when the state wrapped up its case against the accused. But what does this all mean and where does the case go from here?
Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee paralympian, is on trial for the murder of his girlfriend and former model and law student, Reeva Steenkamp. He argues that he shot at her through the bathroom door of his Pretoria flat apparently thinking that she was an intruder. The prosecution, on the other hand say that he deliberately shot her after an argument they had been having in a fit of rage. The state has presented its case and called several witnesses in order to bolster its case. Among its witnesses were Oscar’s former girlfriend and his friend who were both used to try and show that he was a jealous and possessive lover who was apparently very trigger happy. To do this, they cited two incidents in which he allegedly shot a gun inside a restaurant full of people and another occasion when he shot through the sunroof of a car.
This added some weight to their case but it was the calling to the stand of experts that really furthered their ambition of seeing the renowned athlete behind bars. One of these experts was the forensic analyst who gave his opinion on the cricket bat that was used to break down the door. By his testimony, the prosecution wanted to show that Oscar was on his stumps when he used the bat to break down the door. This fitted in well with its version of the chain of events that led to Reeva’s death. To counter this, Barry Roux, the leading defence lawyer focussed on the inconsistencies on the police behavior as well as on additional marks that appeared on the door.
The prosecution also brought to the stand other experts that include the police officer who was first at the scene of the crime and a ballistic expert. All this was in an attempt to clearly show that Oscar Pistorius was the guilty man they were making him out to be. In his stead, the defence leader succeeded to create as much doubt as he could on the evidence of these expert witnesses.
The last day of the prosecution case opened with the state calling the officer who was in charge of crime in the area around where Oscar lived. He testified that in his time in charge in the area, there had only been a few incidents which were petty and as a result this showed the accused to be a paranoid man who had no reason to think that there was an intruder in his house that morning. This additional testimony, together with that of his friend and former girlfriend did a lot of damage to the defence case. Furthermore, this added to the love for guns and of shooting them that Oscar evidently has will further add to the character that the state is building of him. The defence will also have to contend with the kind of relationship that was depicted by the exchange of messages between the two former lovers.
The next stage in the trial will then be where the defence starts pulling down the mountain that the state has built for them. In doing this, they have to recall state witnesses that they feel will bolster their case and the they can add their own witnesses which will be cross examined by both counsels. In their first step in that direction, Barry Roux recalled to the witness box, Vermulean, the police expert who analysed the bat and the door. He was tasked by the defence to analyse an additional mark that was found on the door. It remains to be seen how the now popular lawyer will deal with the mountainous task that lies ahead for him and his team. Only time will tell!