Oscar Pistorius’s bail hearing is underway again, and his attorney is once again shredding the prosecutors’ credibility and creating doubt about their version of events.Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his bathroom. Prosecutors initially charged him with murder, and then upgraded the charge to “premeditated murder.” Pistorius says the shooting was an accident–that he thought his girlfriend was an intruder.
Pistorius’s version of events is highly implausible.
He basically says he woke up in the middle of the night, heard a noise in the bathroom, panicked, and started shooting.
Given that Steenkamp was supposedly sleeping next to him in bed, this seems preposterous. Even if the room was dark, Pistorius wouldn’t check the bed before shooting bullets at a noise in the bathroom? He wouldn’t yell to the “intruder” in the bathroom to make sure it was an intruder? That just doesn’t make sense.
And it makes even less sense when you factor in witness statements that the lights were on in Pistorius’s house and there had been audible sounds of “non-stop fighting” for an hour before the shooting.
That said, the prosecutors appear to have bungled several aspects of the case already, enough to allow Pistorius’s attorney to hurt their credibility.
Yesterday in the bail hearing, for example, Pistorius’s attorney got the police investigator to admit the following:
- The investigator had no evidence that disproved Pistorius’s story
- The investigator had made a mistake in describing a drug found on the scene as “testosterone” (it may be a legal “herbal remedy)
- The investigator did not wear protective booties in the house, thus “contaminating” the crime scene
- There was a good reason Steenkamp might have gone to the bathroom other than that Pistorius was trying to kill her (her bladder was empty)
- Steenkamp had no defensive wounds on her other than the bullet wounds–there was no sign of a pre-shooting fight.
- The “trajectory” of the bullets through the toilet door are not inconsistent with Pistorius’s story that he was not wearing his prosthetic legs when he fired the shots
- One of the witnesses lived as far as 600 meters away (the prosecutors later challenged this)
And then, today, it was revealed that the lead investigator in the case has himself been charged with “attempted murder” for shooting someone in an earlier police incident.
So the prosecution’s credibility and case has been significantly damaged.
According to a reporter in the courtroom, Barry Bateman of Pretoria’s Eyewitness News, it would still be a crime in South Africa for Pistorius to shoot an intruder: You can’t just blow away someone who enters your house. The crime would be “culpable homicide” and it could carry a prison sentence.
But accidental homicide is obviously a far less serious crime than premeditated murder.
The bail hearing is continuing today in court. And at least in the early going, Pistorius’s lawyer is doing even more damage to the prosecution’s case.
Below are Bateman’s tweets from the beginning of the bail hearing, which began at 11AM South Africa time.
To read them chronologically, please scroll down to the bottom and read up. Then click here for the latest.
#OscarPistorius Roux: the IO testimony was designed to bolster the state’s case. BB #OscarPistorius Roux: the IO admitted that he knew of no phone call that could have formed part of a pre-planned offence. BB #OscarPistorius Roux: the IO, at all costs, adheres to evidence which serves to persuade the court not to grant bail. BB #OscarPistorius Roux: the IO was not a credible witness. We cannot sit back and take comfort that he is telling the full truth. BB #OscarPistorius Roux: the IO then introduces the evidence of the woman who heard screaming and the shots – a vague piece of evidence. BB #OscarPistorius Roux: the witness statement does not fit in with the applicant’s version. BB #OscarPistorius Nair don’t you think a heated argument with the sliding door open could be heard at some distance? Roux: What distance? BB #OscarPistorius Roux: saying that the statement was not from a neighbour, but someone wholives far away. BB #OscarPistorius Roux onto the witness statements claiming she heard screaming the hour before the shooting. BB #OscarPistorius Nair questions the possibility that the urine was released as a result of the trauma. Roux: it’s a possibility. BB #OscarPistorius Nair couldn’t Reeva have emptied her bladder an hour before the shooting? Roux: there was NO urine in it. BB #OscarPistorius Nair: could Reeva have just asked “what wrong”? Roux: … and announce herself in the face of imminant danger? BB #OscarPistorius after being questioned by Nair, Nel says he disagrees with Roux’s claim that the IO admiited her was wrong. BB #OscarPistorius Roux: the IO admitted he was wrong in his testimony about the distance the shots were fired. BB #OscarPistorius Roux: the IO conceded that the trajectory of the shots is consistant with Oscar’s version. BB #OscarPistorius Roux: there may have been an argument between Oscar and Reeva earlier in the evening, but witnesses can’t confirm. BB #OscarPistorius Roux: why would a burglar lock himself in the toilet? He didn’t know the door was locked. BB #OscarPistorius Roux: the moving of the body downstairs shows positive steps to save her life – he was desperateto save her. BB #OscarPistorius Roux: … the IO conceded that if Oscar shouted there was na burglar in the house she would have locked herself in. BB #OscarPistorius Roux: the state relies on the point that the door was broken down from the outside to show this was premed… BB #OscarPistorius Roux: the state’s claim that the applicant lived in a secure estate has no value – violent crime in esates is well known. BB #OscarPistorius Roux continues his closing argument. BB #OscarPistorius and we adjourn for about 30 minutes. BB #OscarPistorius Roux: the IO testified that Oscar’s version is consistent with the known evidence, and he couldn’t refute his version. BB #OscarPistorius Roux: Reeva’s empty bladder explains her presence in the toilet. BB #OscarPistorius Roux: thje applicant didn’t need the locked toilet to kill Reeva, he could have done it in the bathroom. BB #OscarPistorius Roux: the preamble to the charge sheet lacks any substance to lead to the charge of murder. BB #OscarPistorius Roux: in the charge sheet it simply states murder, not premeditated murder. BB #OscarPistorius Roux: what is significant, is what the state does not say… BB #OscarPistorius Roux: going over the allegations the state has relied on to show the murder was premeditated… BB #OscarPistorius Roux: citing case law where the requirement of exceptional circumstances was inappropriate. BB #OscarPistorius Roux: the poor quality of the evidence presented by the IO is evident of abuse of the Schedule 6 provisions. BB #OscarPistorius Roux: the state had access to the available evidence, they should have known it fell far short of showing premed murder. BB #OscarPistorius Roux we submit that the evidence doesn’t even show the applicant committed a murder. BB #OscarPistorius Roux we submit that the evidence shows that this was not premeditated, we request this not be schedule six. BB #OscarPistorius Roux on the Criminal Procedures Act, premeditation and schedule six… BB
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