Pistorius Trial: Bull Terrier Nel Making Waves in and out of Court

By Oliver Ngwenya    17-Apr-2014 23:49 UTC+02:00
Prosecution leader Gerrie Nel has closed his case against Oscar Pistorius

Prosecution leader Gerrie Nel.

The bull terrier is really making waves. On Tuesday, he grilled the defence’s expert witness with his incisive questions and his surprising attention to detail. He raised many questions about Roger Dixon’s evidence and even went to the extent of accusing him of ‘misleading the court’, a well known euphemism for lying! This prompted a defensive reply from the forensic geologist.

The private expert was on the witness stand in defence of murder suspect and double amputee paralympian Oscar Pistorius, who is on trial for the premeditated murder of his model and law graduate girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. While he admits to fatally shooting her, he maintains that he did so in error because he thought that an intruder was in the toilet cubicle.

The defence started its quest to avoid the life sentence with the accused himself as the prime witness. He was on the stand for close to two weeks, one of which was under the incisive grilling of bull terrier, Gerrie Nel. Within the realms is reason, Nel sought to pull apart the defence’s account of events and to make Oscar contradict himself and to make him out to be a liar. The forensic geologist , Roger Dixon was the third witness for the defence and he was put on the stand by Barry Roux, the head of the defence to bolster the defence’s account of events on the night Reeva was shot and killed.

Roger was a police forensic expert and resigned to become a geologist. He presented a photo showing the bathroom door with marks on them that he tried to convince the court were made by Oscar when he was kicking the door in an attempt to rescue his girlfriend. That was as far as the expert was useful to Oscar. As soon as the prosecutor, Gerrie Nel stood up to cross-examine the witness, problems arose. Dixon, under cross-examination, made many concessions that did not help the defence’s case. The biggest was that when Reeva was shot in the bathroom, he fell directly onto the the bathroom rack. To a large extent, this contradicts and scatters Oscar’s contention that the police had messed around with the scene.

Another blow to the case of the defence is that another of their expert witnesses, forensic pathologist Reggie Perumal, has made strong indications that he will not be taking the stand to defend the blade runner. While he has not indicated why he will not give evidence, the forensic community is abuzz with speculation that his withdrawal may have to do with the fact that he may not have agreed to tailor his evidence (bad findings) to suit the defence version of events on that fateful day. The case was adjourned to 5 May.

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