Mon Sep 26 21:03:06 SAST 2016

Inside the Oscar Pistorius trial

By Sowetan LIVE | Mar 03, 2014 | COMMENTS [ 234 ]

A wrap of all the court proceedings on one page.

 

Closing arguments: Roux examines neighbour's evidence

A state witness in murder-accused Oscar Pistorius's trial was "desperate" to help the State, Pistorius's lawyer told the High Court in Pretoria on Friday.

In his closing arguments, Barry Roux SC, focused on the statements and testimonies of several State witnesses who were neighbours of Pistorius.

Roux referred to the evidence of Dr Johan Stipp and said he was "desperate to help the State".

In his statement to police, Stipp had simply said he had heard the screams of a woman coming from a neighbour's house.

However, in the witness box he had added that the screams were fearful and emotional.

Roux queried why this was left out of his initial statement.

"His evidence was inconsistent with the other witnesses," said Roux. The court could not rely on his evidence.

Roux said Stipp's recollection of the sequence of events differed from that provided by other people who were on the scene.

Pistorius is charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

He shot her through the locked door of his toilet at his Pretoria home.

Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. The State contends he shot her during an argument and it was premeditated.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act, one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public. He has also pleaded not guilty to these charges.

Closing arguments: Prosecutor 'desperate says Roux - Sapa

The prosecutor in murder-accused Oscar Pistorius's trial is "desperate and naughty", Barry Roux SC, for Pistorius, told the High Court in Pretoria on Friday.

"Mr Nel is desperate. I have a lot of respect for Mr Nel and his experience," Roux said, referring to prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

Roux said Nel had submitted evidence in his closing arguments based on an interview on a Pretoria radio station.

He said Nel knew it was wrong and was being naughty because the prosecution lacked evidence.

"You cannot quote a radio and say this is evidence... The hole is too big. He had to refer to a radio station," Roux said.

"The State fetched cases from another jurisdiction... It was to create this atmosphere, knowing its deficiencies," he said.

Pistorius is charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

He shot her through the locked door of his toilet at his Pretoria home.

Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. The State contends he shot her during an argument and it was premeditated.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act, one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public. He has also pleaded not guilty to these charges.

In his closing arguments on Friday, Roux said the court should find that Pistorius's version of events could not be rejected.

Pistorius was not the same as normal people when faced with danger because he could not run away when he was on his stumps.

"You know I cannot run away... There is a constant reminder that I do not have legs, I cannot run away, I am not the same -- that's with him," Roux said.

"He can pretend. He can pretend that he is fine. We must understand."

He said Pistorius was anxious and vulnerable and confronted the danger.

Roux referred to Hilton Botha, the initial investigator who was dropped from the case last year after he admitted to contaminating the scene.

Botha testified during Pistorius's bail application in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court.

Roux said the State had Botha give evidence during the bail application that Pistorius put on his prostheses and shot Steenkamp in cold blood.

He said Botha had conceded that his evidence was not based on professional input. Roux said this had led to Pistorius becoming argumentative during cross-examination by Nel.

"We need to expose this to the court. Expose the submissions made. Consider the accused," he said.

"Was he many times argumentative, yes my lady. Should he have been? Absolutely not," Roux said.

Pistorius allegedly fired a shot from a Glock pistol under a table at a Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013. On September 30, 2012 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

Roux argued that the two witnesses who testified to the incidents --Pistorius's former friend Darren Fresco and ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor -- both had motives to implicate Pistorius.

He said Fresco was an accomplice and wanted to incriminate the athlete while Taylor told the court he cheated on her with Steenkamp.

"Pistorius is not avoiding blame," Roux said.

Closing arguments: Roux says athletes are trained to react to sound - Sapa

As a track athlete, murder-accused Oscar Pistorius is trained to react to sound, his lawyer told the High Court in Pretoria on Friday.

Barry Roux SC, said that having armed himself, Pistorius heard a noise in his toilet and his immediate reaction was to pull the trigger.

"He was standing at the door, vulnerable, anxious with his finger on the trigger and when he heard a noise, bang", said Roux, referring to shots Pistorius fired.

Pistorius is charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

He shot her through the locked door of his toilet at his Pretoria home.

Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. The State contends he shot her during an argument and it was premeditated.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act, one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public. He has pleaded not guilty to these charges.

"We are not making the submission that the accused did not arm himself," Roux told the court in his closing arguments on Friday.

"He armed himself. He went to the toilet. He foresaw that it might be necessary to fire the shots. He was anxious and fearful," said Roux.

The court simply had to decide whether the action to shoot at the door was simply reflex or whether it was reflex combined with the cognitive.

If the shooting simply happened due to reflex action, then this would prove that Pistorius lacked capacity.

If it was reflex and cognitive combined, then the court should explore what the thought behind the action was, said Roux, adding that the thought in Pistorius's mind that day was that he was in danger.

Submitting his closing arguments on Thursday, prosecutor Gerrie Nel said Pistorius had shot at the door knowing Steenkamp was behind it.

He called Pistorius an appalling witness who had tailored his evidence.

On Friday, Roux said the evidence of ballistic expert Captain Chris Mangena showed Pistorius was not directly in front of the toilet door when he shot at it, but rather at the bathroom door.

"This proves that he was actually scared and not trusting of the person who was in that toilet," said Roux.

He was about two metres away from the door when he fired, fatally wounding Steenkamp.

Referring to the Whatsapp messages between Steenkamp and Pistorius, Roux dismissed Nel's suggestion that the 10 percent "unhappy" messages between the two were the messages that carried the most weight.

Steenkamp had sent a message to Pistorius on January 27, 2013 where she said she was scared of him.

On February 7, 2013, she sent another message explaining that she was unhappy with him.

Roux argued that the subsequent messages were affectionate.

A security guard who testified in the trial told the court that when he called Pistorius shortly after the shooting at his residence, Pistorius told him that "everything was OK".

On Thursday, Nel criticised Pistorius for this, saying a reasonable action would have been for Pistorius to ask security to call for help.

Roux defended Pistorius on Friday and said there were reasons for this.

Pistorius could have already received help from one of his neighbours who was a doctor, the paramedics had already been called, and he could not speak to the guard because he was crying.

Closing arguments: 'Case shouldn't have been murder' - Sapa

Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius should have been charged with culpable homicide and not murder, his lawyer argued in the High Court in Pretoria on Friday.

Barry Roux SC, said the State's version that the athlete made up the fact that he mistook his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder when he shot her dead was not true.

Roux said Pistorius told the first people who arrived on the scene that he thought she was an intruder.

"He repeated that and went into the bail application before seeing the docket," Roux said.

"So on what basis are you saying that he is lying?"

Roux said Pistorius was negligent.

"That is culpable homicide... That is what the case should have been about..."

Pistorius is charged with murdering Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

He shot her through the locked door of his toilet at his Pretoria home.

Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. The State contends he shot her during an argument and it was premeditated.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act, one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public. He has pleaded not guilty to these charges.

On Friday, Roux said the failure by the State to "leave out" evidence left question marks and could mean that the scene was disturbed.

He said State witnesses admitted that they had tampered with evidence. He showed the court two pictures. In one a hand could be seen holding open the bedroom curtain.

"Why was it necessary to keep it open? Why not take a photograph without someone holding the curtain open to gain a real view?" Roux asked.

He also dealt with a moved multiplug and showed a photograph taken in the bedroom.

"The unfortunate consequence of that was that Mr Pistorius was cross-examined that there was no place for the multiplug," Roux said.

He argued that they had received a photograph from the State on Wednesday that showed a hand either removing or plugging in a plug.

"Was he putting it in or taking it out? What concerns us is that that photo was in the possession of the State.

"The State must have known about this."

Roux said there was no way the State could argue that the scene was not tampered with.

On Thursday, prosecutor Gerrie Nel completed his closing arguments and described Pistorius as a deceitful and dishonest person, who would rather hide behind untruths than admit he murdered his girlfriend in cold blood.

Nel said Pistorius was an appalling witness who had tailored his evidence to avoid prosecution. He dismissed several points of Pistorius's testimony as improbable and untruthful.

The case continues.

Day 41: Oscar acknowledges Steenkamps - Sapa

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius on Friday made an effort to acknowledge the family of his deceased girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius arrived at the High Court in Pretoria and on his way to his defence team passed by the bench where Steenkamp's parents June and Barry were seated with other relatives.

He mumbled a "good morning" which was met with silence.

A short while later, his uncle Arnold's wife Lois headed to the Steenkamp family.

She gave Barry an embrace and he smiled back warmly.

This was the first time Barry was seen publicly interacting with the Pistorius family.

He made his debut in court on Thursday after missing previous proceedings due to ill-health.

Pistorius is charged with murdering Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

He shot her through the locked door of his toilet at his Pretoria home.

Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. The State contends he shot her during an argument and it was premeditated.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act, one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public. He has pleaded not guilty to these charges.

Also making a second appearance in court on Friday was Pistorius's father, Henke.

Besides a handshake, the father and son hardly interacted on Thursday.

On Friday, however, Henke walked up to the dock shortly before proceedings started and gave his son a warm hug, patting him on the back and later holding his hand.

Meanwhile, support for Pistorius continued on the last lap of the trial. Stuck on the back of a bus stop bench outside the court on Friday was a bundle of green and yellow balloons.

"Oscar Pistorius, you will always be our hero," was written on a poster next to them.

It was unclear who had placed the balloons and poster there.

When proceedings resume at 9.30am, Pistorius's lawyer, Barry Roux SC, is expected to continue submitting his closing arguments in the case.

He will be explaining to the court why his client should be kept out of jail.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel wrapped up his closing arguments on Thursday.

He said Pistorius was an appalling witness who had tailored his evidence and told the court a series of untrue versions.

The case continues.

Day 41: Oscar, Steenkamps, Pistoriuses arrive - Sapa

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius, his family, and Reeva Steenkamp's family were at the High Court in Pretoria on Friday ahead of the second day of closing arguments.

Pistorius was once again dropped off in the street right in front of the entrance after 9.10am.

The Pistorius family members, including his uncle Arnold, arrived as Pistorius's car pulled up. Pistorius embraced one of the men and they walked inside.

His father Henke arrived after the family was inside. Thursday was the first time he had attended the trial since his son's bail application last year.

Steenkamp's parents Barry and June arrived at court after 9.25am.

Pistorius's younger sister Aimee arrived alone shortly before 9am and walked quickly through the double line of media at the court entrance.

Pistorius's defence team arrived one-by-one. First attorney Brian Webber and the junior members in the team arrived. A short while later Barry Roux, SC, arrived followed a few minutes later by Kenny Oldwadge, SC.

Pistorius is charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

He shot her through the locked door of his toilet at his Pretoria home.

Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. The State contends he shot her during an argument and that it was premeditated.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act, one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public. He has pleaded not guilty to these charges as well.

Outside court, green, yellow and white balloons hung from one of the bus stops by a woman at court in support of Pistorius.

People, armed with cellphones and tablets, gathered close to the entrance in anticipation of the Paralympic athlete's arrival.

Roux was due to resume submitting his closing arguments on Friday morning.

On Thursday, prosecutor Gerrie Nel completed his closing arguments and described Pistorius as a deceitful and dishonest person who would rather hide behind untruths than admit he had murdered his girlfriend in cold blood.

Nel said Pistorius was an appalling witness who had tailored his evidence to avoid prosecution.

He dismissed several points of Pistorius's testimony as improbable and untruthful.

Roux spent the last half-hour of Thursday's proceedings countering Nel's arguments. He accused the State of being selective in the evidence it chose to accept and consider for its case and of ignoring crucial matters raised in the trial.

Nel said Pistorius had tailored his evidence because he was concerned at the implications of his answers.

Roux was expected to start at 9.30am.

DAY 41: More support for Oscar - Sapa

Support for murder-accused Paralympian Oscar Pistorius continued on the last lap of his trial on Friday.

Stuck on the back of a bus stop bench outside the High Court in Pretoria was a bundle of green and yellow balloons.

"Oscar Pistorius, you will always be our hero," was written on a poster next to them.

It was unclear who had placed the balloons and poster there.

Meanwhile, a strong media contingent bearing cameras again waited at the court entrance for Pistorius's arrival.

He is charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

He shot her through the locked door of his toilet at his Pretoria home.

Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. The State contends he shot her during an argument and that it was premeditated.

Inside the courtroom, Steenkamp's parents sat in the front awaiting the start of the proceedings.

Her mother June was engaged in conversation with Jacqui Mofokeng, the spokeswoman of the African National Congress Women's League, who has continuously attended the trial in support of the Steenkamp family.

Her father Barry sat next to another man and read the day's papers.

Pistorius's sister Aimee walked into court with another woman shortly before 9am.

The two looked over at the Steenkamp family and said "good morning" before taking their seats on the opposite side of the bench.

Pistorius's lawyer Barry Roux is expected to continue submitting his closing arguments when proceedings resume at 9.30am.

He will be explaining to the court why his client should be kept out of jail.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel wrapped up his closing arguments on Thursday.

He called Pistorius an appalling witness who had tailored his evidence and told the court a series of untrue versions.

The case continues.

CLOSING ARGUMENTS: 'Oscar an appalling witness' - Sapa

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius was an appalling witness, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Thursday.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said he was argumentative and gave vague responses to questions put to him.

Nel said Pistorius was not totally truthful with the court.

"We'll deal with why he would lie," said Nel.

"He lied because he thought it was better to hide behind the untruth," Nel said.

Pistorius is charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

He shot her through the locked door of his toilet at his Pretoria home.

Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. The State contends he shot her during an argument.

Submitting his closing arguments on Thursday, Nel accused Pistorius of tailoring an untrue version of events as he was more concerned with the implications rather than with the truth.

He referred to the testimony of security guard Pieter Baba, who called Pistorius's residence shortly after the shooting.

Baba testified that Pistorius told him that "everything was fine" when he called inquiring about the shots.

Nel said Pistorius failed to ask the security guard for help.

Barry Roux, for Pistorius, attentively followed Nel's arguments, at times removing his glasses and placing their tip in his mouth.

Nel continues questioning Oscar's agent - Sapa

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel cross-examined murder-accused paralympian Oscar Pistorius's agent Petrus van Zyl in the High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Van Zyl told the court he could not recall Pistorius asking him to arrange for his ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor to accompany him to the 2012 London Olympics.

This was after Nel showed him a copy of an e-mail to which Pistorius had attached a copy of Taylor's passport along with a message that read "... Here is Sam's passport, please keep it on file. Think we are sorting shit out. Oz."

Van Zyl said the passport was used for a trip to the Seychelles where the athlete and his partner had been invited by a television production company.

"I gave all the information to the company," Van Zyl said.

On Tuesday he testified that Reeva Steenkamp was the only girlfriend Pistorius had asked Van Zyl to organise travel documents for, to accompany him to athletic events.

Nel read out a portion of a communication with Taylor in which Pistorius told her he wanted her to accompany him to London, after they had gone through a rough patch.

"I invited you to London because I knew you had my heart in your hands and wouldn't let it go."

In the extract Pistorius tells Taylor he had been trying very hard to get Van Zyl to organise for her to accompany him.

Van Zyl said he could not recall this.

"I can honestly not recall that I had to find Ms Taylor a ticket to the [London] Olympics."

Pistorius is charged with murdering Steenkamp on February 14 last year.

He shot her through the locked door of his toilet in his Pretoria home, apparently thinking she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. She was struck in the hip, arm, and head.

After firing the shots, Pistorius used a cricket bat to break open the door to get to a dying Steenkamp.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder and to three firearm-related charges.

The State argues he killed her during an argument.

 

Oscar roommate on moving rooms - Sapa

Paralympian Arnu Fourie has sought to explain why he asked to move rooms at the London Paralympics following questions about the matter in Oscar Pistorius's murder trial.

Fourie posted a statement on social networking site Twitter saying "regarding all the questions after the #oscarpistorius trial today [Tuesday]".

In the statement Fourie said he approached his doctor at the 2012 Paralympic Games to find out if the "isolation room was available two nights before our 100m final".

"It was one of the most important races of my life and I wanted to rest and recover well on my own time in preparation for the race. I cherish all the moments we shared at the London Games," Fourie said in the statement.

Fourie and Pistorius were teammates in the 400m relay at the games.

During cross-examination of Pistorius's agent Petrus Van Zyl on Tuesday, prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked whether he had heard about Pistorius's roommate's request to be moved to another room in the athletes' village. The roommate apparently complained Pistorius spent hours shouting at people on his phone.

Van Zyl said he was not told why the athletes were separated, just that it was dealt with by the South African team at the village.

Pistorius's agent takes the stand - Sapa

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius planned to take his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp to two of his athletics meetings in Manchester and Brazil, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.

Pistorius's agent Petrus van Zyl testified it was the first time the athlete had asked a girlfriend to accompany him to sports meetings.

"I [Pistorius] actually want Miss Steenkamp to see what my world is really about... so she can understand why I sometimes cannot come with her to certain events and functions," Van Zyl said Pistorius had told him.

Pistorius took his glasses off, rubbed his eyes, and clenched his jaw while Van Zyl testified.

Barry Roux SC, for Pistorius, asked Van Zyl about when the travel plans were made. He said the plans were discussed on February 7, 2013 while he was visiting the athlete to plan their year. This was seven days before Pistorius shot and killed Steenkamp.

Pistorius leaned forward and looked down as Van Zyl explained that Steenkamp would accompany the athlete's team to an exhibition race in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on March 31.

The two had planned to invite the model to a sporting event in Manchester, United Kingdom, and an Andrea Bocelli concert in Tuscany, Italy.

The pair called Steenkamp to tell her the news. Pistorius gave Van Zyl the phone to give her the good news via a video call.

"She was very excited," Van Zyl told the court.

Pistorius is charged with murdering Steenkamp on February 14 last year.

He shot her through the locked door of his toilet in his Pretoria home, apparently thinking she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. She was struck in the hip, arm, and head. After firing the shots, Pistorius used a cricket bat to break open the door to get to a dying Steenkamp.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder as well as not guilty to three firearm-related charges.

The State argues he killed her during an argument.

Nel questions Pistorius's sound expert - Sapa

The State on Tuesday cross-examined an acoustics expert who testified for the defence in the trial of murder-accused paralympian Oscar Pistorius.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel questioned Ivan Lin's report in the High Court in Pretoria on ambient noise on the morning of Valentine's Day last year, when Pistorius shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Nel asked Lin when the report was compiled. Lin said he began working on it "more than a week ago" and completed it "sometime last week".

"When you went to the scene last week it was more than a year [later]. Trees have grown, houses were built. How did you know [the scenario]?" Nel asked.

Lin said: "There was no scenario put to me, I had to explore different possibilities."

He did not have access to Michelle Burger's home, which was 177m from Pistorius's.

Burger, the first State witness to testify in the trial, told the court in March she heard "blood-curdling screams" followed by four gunshots.

She said she and her husband were woken in the early morning by the sound of a woman screaming.

Nel asked Lin if one could be certain they were hearing the screams of a woman or man. Lin said it was all based on the listener's perception.

"No one can say all perception is reliable."

Pistorius shot Steenkamp through the locked door of his toilet in his Pretoria home, apparently thinking she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him.

She was struck in the hip, arm, and head. After firing the shots, Pistorius used a cricket bat to break open the door to get to a dying Steenkamp.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charge of the murder as well as not guilty to three firearm-related charges.

The State argues he killed her during an argument.

WRAP: Day 34 of Oscar trial

Oscar Pistorius does not suffer from a mental defect or illness that affected his ability to tell right from wrong, or diminish his criminal responsibility, on the night he shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in February last year.

This is the finding of two reports submitted by members of a panel of experts assigned to observe the Paralympian over the course of the last six weeks at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the court that both he and Pistorius's lead counsel, advocate Barry Roux, accepted the findings of the panel, but added that some factual details relating to the report may be discussed in court at a later stage.

The defence continued its case with evidence from Dr Gerald Versfeld, the orthopaedic surgeon responsible for advising Pistorius's parents on the amputation of his legs when he was a child.

Versfeld consulted with Pistorius on May 7 this year, after the Blade Runner finished testifying in his defence.

Pistorius participated in a demonstration for Judge Thokozile Masipa and her assessors to show them his stumps and the way in which the heel pads affixed to them sometimes slip when he walks on them.

Versfeld testified that, in his opinion, Pistorius had severely limited mobility on his stumps and was severely vulnerable to danger, especially if without a weapon.

Versfeld also testified that the pain Pistorius experiences from the movement of his heel pads, particularly on his left stump, means that he is unable to spend long periods of time moving around on them.

He added that Pistorius’s mobility was even less when he was in the dark as he needed visibility to orientate himself.

Versfeld told the court that, in his opinion, Pistorius would not have been able to swing a cricket bat with both hands in order to break down his toilet door without losing his balance.

The trial resumes after the lunch break with testimony from Ivan Lin, an acoustics engineer asked by the defence to conduct tests to determine whether screams could be heard from a distance of 177m away.

Lin was also asked to testify on whether it would be possible to distinguish between the sound of a male and a female voice from such a distance.

Pistorius reports to psychiatric hospital for tests - Sapa

South Africa's murder-accused paralympic hero Oscar Pistorius Monday arrived at a psychiatric hospital to begin up to 30-days of tests, as ordered by a judge during his trial.

A car ferrying the double amputee athlete whisked him inside the Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital, west of Pretoria.

Security was tight at the entrance of the drab red-brick public hospital, whose patients often come from poor backgrounds.

In a bid to avoid media attention, the athlete ditched the grey SUV vehicle that normally drives him to court, arriving in a sedan with tinted windows.

There was no sign of family and friends who often arrive in court with him to offer support.

Last week, Judge Thokozile Masipa ruled that the Paralympian sprinter should report to the hospital as an outpatient every work day from morning to 1400 GMT from May 26.

The ruling came after a defence expert witness testified that the 27-year-old who is accused of killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, suffers from generalised anxiety disorder.

The judge said Pistorius will be tested to see "whether he was capable of appreciating the wrongfulness of his act or acting in accordance with appreciation of the wrongfulness of his act".

Pistorius is accused of shooting dead Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, at his Pretoria home after a row. He says she was killed by accident after he mistook her for an intruder.

Pistorius's defence team have sought to show that his violent reaction to a perceived intruder in his home stemmed from a deep-seated anxiety that began to fester after the amputation of his lower legs as a child.

His trial has attracted global media attention, with evidence showing a turbulent relationship between the new couple.

The state argues that the murder was premeditated, a charge that could see him sentenced to life in prison if found guilty.

The case was last week postponed until June 30, while the athlete undergoes testing.

Four to evaluate Oscar at Witkoppies - Sapa

Four specialists will evaluate murder-accused Oscar Pistorius when he is admitted as a day-patient for mental observation, the High Court in Pretoria ordered on Tuesday.

"The accused [will] be an outpatient at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital," Judge Thokozile Masipa said.

"[The evaluation will] inquire whether the accused... was at the time of the commission of the offence criminally responsible."

It would also determine if Pistorius could appreciate the "wrongfulness of his actions and act according to that appreciation".

Pistorius would go to Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital at 9am on May 26 and every weekday thereafter. He would stay until 4pm, or until he had been excused, said Masipa.

Three psychiatrists and one clinical psychologist would evaluate Pistorius to determine whether his general anxiety disorder and his disability had an effect on him when he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

One psychiatrist was appointed by the defence, one by the court, and another by the hospital.

Pistorius's evaluation would not exceed 30 days, she said.

The psychiatric report would be handed to the registrar of the court, the National Prosecuting Authority, and the defence once it had been completed.

Masipa postponed the matter to June 30. She said records of the trial proceedings would be made available to the specialists.

Before court started on Tuesday, Pistorius sat chatting to a member of his defence team. After the order was handed down, he spoke to his lawyers before leaving court with his older brother Carl and his security detail.

Last Monday, forensic psychiatrist Merryll Vorster, testifying for the defence, told the court Pistorius had general anxiety disorder. Based on this, the State applied to have him referred.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said it was necessary in case his disorder had affected his behaviour when he shot Steenkamp.

Pistorius is charged with the murder of Steenkamp. He shot her dead through the locked door of his toilet in his Pretoria home. He has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. The State contends he shot her during an argument.

He is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public. He has pleaded not guilty to these charges as well.

Oscar to be day patient at Witkoppies - Sapa

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius would be admitted as a day-patient at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital for mental observation, the High Court in Pretoria ordered on Tuesday.

"The accused [must] be an outpatient at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital," Judge Thokozile Masipa said.

She said the athlete should go in on May 26 at 9am. Pistorius would go in every weekday, she said.

"That the accused remains at the Weskoppies hospital until 4pm daily," she said.

She said the appointed psychiatrists and psychologist will submit reports as they are concluded.

Records of the trial proceedings be made available, she said.

The matter was postponed to June 30.

Last Monday, forensic psychiatrist Merryll Vorster told the court Pistorius had general anxiety disorder. Based on this, the State applied to have him referred.

Nel said it was necessary to send Pistorius for evaluation in case the disorder might have affected his behaviour on February 14 last year, when he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius is charged with murdering Steenkamp. He shot her dead through the locked door of his toilet at his Pretoria home.

Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. The State contends he shot her during an argument.

He is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public. He has pleaded not guilty to these charges as well.

Oscar to get details on observation judgement - Sapa

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius will on Tuesday learn the details of the order granted that he be sent for mental observation after the High Court in Pretoria heard he had general anxiety disorder.

Judge Thokozile Masipa is expected to hand down a specific order including details of whether or not the athlete would be an out-patient, where he would be admitted and the number of psychologists and psychiatrists that would be treating him.

Last Wednesday, Masipa granted the State's application that he be sent for mental observation after the court heard he had general anxiety disorder.

Masipa said she was aware this would cause more delays, but said it was not about convenience but whether justice was served.

Last Monday, forensic psychiatrist Merryll Vorster told the court Pistorius had general anxiety disorder. Based on this, the State applied to have him referred.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said it was necessary to send Pistorius for evaluation in case the disorder might have affected his behaviour on February 14 last year, when he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius is charged with murdering Steenkamp. He shot her dead through the locked door of his toilet at his Pretoria home.

Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. The State contends he shot her during an argument.

He is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public. He has pleaded not guilty to these charges as well.

State brings observation application - Sapa

The State on Tuesday brought an application before the High Court in Pretoria to have murder-accused Oscar Pistorius admitted for mental observation.

"We are mindful that if granted that it could lead to a delay," prosecutor Gerrie Nel said.

Nel said forensic psychiatrist Merryll Vorster said Pistorius suffered from general anxiety disorder, which was listed as a mental illness. He said the disorder was serious.

"The fact that it is psychiatric analysis, it may play a role," he said.

"[During the trial] there has been no indication of any abnormal anxiety."

Pistorius is charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He shot her dead through the locked door of his toilet in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year.

Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. The State contends he shot her during an argument.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He has pleaded not guilty to these charges as well.

"When you are in a fearful situation, I would not expect him to remember every detail"

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius fired at the noise behind his locked toilet door when he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.

"What he told me was that there was an intruder. That he certainly fired shots at the noise because he was scared, that was his version," forensic expert Merryll Vorster said.

"He did not specifically say that he shot four times. He said he fired at the noise.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel objected and said that while the athlete was on the stand he told the court he shot at an intruder, not at the noise.

Vorster agreed there was an inconsistency, but said Pistorius's version to her could be accepted.

"When you are in a fearful situation, I would not expect him to remember every detail," she said.

She saw Pistorius on May 2 and May 7.

Pistorius is charged with murdering Steenkamp. He shot her through the locked door of his toilet in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year. Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. The State contends he shot her during an argument.

Vorster said clinically Pistorius presented with anxiety disorder if his history, interviews with him, and symptoms were taken into account.

She said he functioned normally but did not have close relationships with friends, and his sexual relationships were short.

Earlier, Vorster told the court Pistorius had general anxiety disorder. She said her diagnosis would be relevant if the court found that he shot an intruder.

"It would not be relevant if the court finds that he deliberately shot Steenkamp. Then it doesn't play a role," she said.

Pistorius could determine right from wrong but his general anxiety disorder could affect how he acted.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He has pleaded not guilty to these charges as well.

After Nel concluded cross-examining Vorster, Barry Roux SC, for Pistorius, started re-examining her.

 

'People with anxiety should not have guns' - Sapa

People with general anxiety disorder, like murder-accused Oscar Pistorius, are not dangerous but should not have firearms, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.

"People with general anxiety disorder are not dangerous as such. People with general anxiety disorder probably shouldn't have firearms, that's what makes them dangerous," defence witness, forensic psychiatrist Merryll Vorster said during cross-examination by prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

"So many people in society have general anxiety disorder, but they are not threats as such. So the diagnosis as such is not one where one would associate [them] with violence."

She said such people were often at risk of obtaining firearms because they feared for their safety.

Pistorius is charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He shot her dead through the locked door of his toilet in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year.

He has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. The State contends he shot her during an argument.

Vorster told the court she looked at the defence's version of what happened, but said she would not be able to say which version the court would accept. She said she did not look at the State's version.

She was given a transcript of Pistorius's version but did not go through it because "it is not necessarily the version that the court would accept".

Nel asked Vorster if the State's version would affect her view or diagnosis.

"No it wouldn't have made a difference because the diagnosis stays constant. Two factors that are constant is the anxiety disorder and the vulnerability [of Pistorius]," she said.

Nel asked whether a person with general anxiety disorder would be anxious in a fight. Vorster said yes, more so than normal people.

"Because the individual would be anxious about losing a relationship. If there had been an argument about a relationship a person with general anxiety disorder would have been anxious."

She agreed that the general anxiety disorder would have played a role.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He has pleaded not guilty to these charges as well.

Expert says anxiety is common - Sapa

General anxiety disorder, like that which murder-accused Oscar Pistorius was diagnosed with, is common, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.

But for it to be seen as a disorder it would have to affect a person's life, forensic psychiatrist Merryll Vorster said during cross-examination from prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

"Anxiety is a very common phenomenon. The condition [general anxiety disorder] is also a very common disorder," she said.

"To raise it to a level of a disorder, one had to have anxiety more often than not for an expanded period of time."

She said such a person would see situations as being more serious than what they actually were. It would cause sleep disorders, vomiting, diarrhoea, and the inability to concentrate.

The paralympic athlete is charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He shot her dead through the locked door of his toilet in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year.

Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. The State contends he shot her during an argument.

When court started Nel indicated that he would go back to what he spoke about on Monday -- a possible application to send Pistorius for mental observation.

"Today we are doing something different, but we will get back to that," Nel said.

He continued to ask Vorster about the diagnosis of general anxiety disorder and if it would impact Pistorius's general functioning. He asked Vorster if it would impair Pistorius's functioning on various levels.

"Yes My Lady that is why it is a disorder," she replied.

"With an anxiety disorder people are unable to set their anxiety aside."

Nel asked about the levels of severity of the disorder.

Vorster said with every disorder there were levels of severity, but it was not obtained in her diagnosis. Nel asked if it was severe enough to be seen as a mental illness.

"I wouldn't say that. If one had a general anxiety disorder that is severe it may impact on your capacity to lead a normal lifestyle," she said.

"One could say it is a mental illness, but you have to look at the impact of that illness on the person."

She said someone might become incapacitated because of all the preparations they had make to function normally, like go to work.

Pistorius was not incapacitated. He was still able to function at a high level as an athlete, and was able to socialise, but had stress, Vorster said.

Nel questioned Vorster on why Pistorius's friends and his former girlfriend Samantha Taylor, who testified for the State, never mentioned that he was anxious.

"Most people control and conceal their anxiety… Mr Pistorius and his family were not aware that he had anxiety disorder."

Steenkamp's mother June Steenkamp was in court on Tuesday. She sat in the front row of the public gallery. On the other side of the front row sat the Pistorius family, including the athlete's older brother Carl, younger sister Aimee, and uncle Arnold.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public. He has pleaded not guilty to these charges as well.

Refer Oscar for observation: State - Sapa

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius should be referred for mental observation after a forensic psychiatrist told the High Court in Pretoria on Monday that the athlete suffered from a general anxiety disorder, the State said.

"It's a disorder, My Lady, it has been diagnosed as a mental illness," prosecutor Gerrie Nel said.

"The State is bringing that application... that this court will refer Mr Pistorius for mental observation."

Forensic psychiatrist Merryll Vorster earlier told the court that Pistorius had general anxiety disorder.

She said because of his disability the way the athlete reacted in situations would be different to normal people.

Nel asked: "If a person is suffering from a general anxiety disorder, can he be a danger to society?"

Vorster responded: "Yes."

Nel asked: "Would this make him a dangerous person?"

"Yes," Vorster replied.

Nel questioned Vorster whether a person with general anxiety disorder could distinguish between right and wrong.

"He was able to appreciate the difference between right and wrong, but it could be his ability to react was affected by this general anxiety disorder," she said.

"But this has to be linked to the defence. To put that if he was afraid that there was an intruder, then certainly it could have affected the way he acted to that threat."

Barry Roux, SC, for Pistorius, objected to Nel's application.

Pistorius is charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He shot her dead through the locked door of his toilet in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year. Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. The State contends he shot her during an argument.

Vorster saw Pistorius for the first time on May 2 and then again on May 7.

Nel asked Vorster: "During cross-examination, there were stages he would answer by saying 'I don't know where you are going, I am fighting for my life'. In your interview, did he say that?"

Vorster responded: "No, he did not say that to me."

The court heard that the defence had called Vorster to bring psychiatric factors to the court's attention that might be of relevance during later proceedings.

She said Pistorius felt remorse.

"He feels remorse of having caused the death of Miss Steenkamp."

However, when Nel asked whether the athlete ever said he killed Steenkamp, Vorster said she could not recall him saying that.

"From a psychiatric perspective, he is certainly aware that he fired the shots that caused Steenkamp's death," she said.

Nel also questioned Vorster whether Pistorius's reactions after the shooting were in line with someone who had planned to kill.

She said his reaction following the death was appropriate.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public. He has pleaded not guilty to these charges as well.

The matter resumes at 9.30am on Tuesday.

"What makes Mr Pistorius different [from] other offenders is that he has a physical disability and general anxiety disorder, so his reaction to events would be different"

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius has a general anxiety disorder which could affect the way he responds in stressful situations, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Monday.

"What makes Mr Pistorius different [from] other offenders is that he has a physical disability and general anxiety disorder, so his reaction to events would be different," forensic psychiatrist Dr Merryll Vorster said.

"If placed in an environment where you are not safe, your anxiety would increase. Mr Pistorius heard an intruder, so he had escalating levels of anxiety."

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel questioned Vorster whether Pistorius's general anxiety disorder could be seen as a mental disability.

She said that would be for the court to decide.

Nel asked if Pistorius could distinguish between right and wrong and whether his capacity to make the right decisions was diminished at the time.

Vorster said the court would have to consider the factors.

However, Nel said that if Pistorius suffered from diminished responsibility at the time of the shooting, then he should be admitted for evaluation.

Nel asked for a brief adjournment to study Vorster's report and the Criminal Procedure Act.

Pistorius is charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He shot her dead through the locked door of his toilet in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year.

Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. The State contends he shot her during an argument.

Earlier, Vorster told the court the paralympic athlete's disability made him vulnerable and anxious.

"His physical vulnerability makes him more anxious. His vulnerability makes him want to conceal his physical disability," she said.

"His reaction to perceived threats should be considered in his physical disability," she said.

Speaking about the evaluation of Pistorius's emotions after the death of Steenkamp, Vorster said it was real.

"He is certainly remorseful about the events and feels guilty that he caused Miss Steenkamp's death," she said.

Vorster said he was distressed and the crying and retching were real.

"He was devastated that he killed his girlfriend. The emotions I saw, in my opinion, they were genuine," she said.

"What Mr Pistorius showed, he showed pallor, sweated profusely, and became pale. That is why his distress was genuine."

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He has pleaded not guilty to these charges as well.

The trial will resume at 1.30pm.

"He was never able to allow himself to be seen as being disabled"

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius has anxiety disorder, a forensic psychiatrist told the High Court in Pretoria on Monday.

Merryll Vorster was testifying in the trial of Pistorius who is charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last year.

"It is my opinion, My Lady, that Mr Pistorius has an anxiety disorder," Vorster told the court.

"They [people with anxiety disorder] work hard to control their environment to be able to alleviate their levels of anxiety."

She said Pistorius had a strict training routine which helped him cope with his anxiety.

Pistorius prepared before he attended media functions to control his anxiety, and as he became more famous and was required to attend more public events, he had to prepare more.

"Individuals who are anxious try to bring order to their lives so they can control their environment," she said.

Vorster evaluated the athlete and spoke to his family and friends.

The paralympic athlete shot and killed Steenkamp through the locked door of the toilet in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year. Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. The State contends he shot her during an argument.

Vorster said when his legs were amputated at the age of 11 months, Pistorius could not have understood what was happening to him.

She said this was a form of assault because he could not understand why he was in hospital and, because of his young age, it was difficult for his mother to comfort him.

Despite his disability, Pistorius behaved and tried to appear as normal as possible throughout his life, said Vorster.

"He was never able to allow himself to be seen as being disabled," she said.

"Over time, this could result in increased levels of anxiety."

She described his mother as loving and said his parents divorced when he was six. His mother drank excessively and slept with a firearm under her pillow.

"His father was an irresponsible and mostly absent parent," she said.

The fact that Pistorius's mother was anxious added to the children's anxiety, the court heard. Pistorius has a younger sister, Aimee, and an older brother, Carl.

Responding to questions from Barry Roux, SC, for Pistorius, about the anxiety, Vorster said: "Well, in present situations, it clearly remained."

Pistorius looked down as she testified.

She said he was traumatised when his mother suddenly died when he was 15.

"He was significantly traumatised by her death... He describes this as very stressful."

Pistorius described himself as quite lonely and anxious about levels of crime in South Africa.

Steenkamp fall position in Question - Sapa

The position Reeva Steenkamp fell in when shot was in question during murder-accused Oscar Pistorius's trial in the High Court in Pretoria on Monday.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel questioned ballistics expert Thomas "Wollie" Wolmarans on Steenkamp's position when bullets struck her and the possibility that if she was standing that "bullet B" [as referred to in the evidence before court] would have missed her.

"With her right hip completely destroyed, if I can say that, she must've fallen," Wolmarans said.

"My lady, if she was sitting flat on the floor, [bullets] C and D would've missed her. I think evidence is there that she was not sitting on the toilet."

Nel told Wolmarans he had to go over certain possibilities.

The paralympic athlete is charged with murdering his girlfriend Steenkamp. He shot her dead through the locked door of his toilet in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year.

Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. The State contends he shot her during an argument.

On Monday, Wolmarans said he could not agree with Nel that Steenkamp was shot in the hip, fell back because she could not support her own body weight, and fell onto the magazine rack and was leaning forward when she was shot in the arm and the head.

Steenkamp's mother June Steenkamp, her cousin, and the Myers family were present in court on Monday. They were flanked by two women from the African National Congress Women's League.

Pistorius's sister Aimee Pistorius was also in court with other family members.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He has denied guilt on these charges as well.

Wolmarans was excused from the witness stand.

"The first firearm that I used was not friendly with that type of ammunition"

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius sat in the dock on Monday morning listening to ballistics expert Thomas "Wollie" Wolmarans testify in the High Court in Pretoria.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel continued his cross-examination of the defence witness and asked him about wooden splinters on Pistorius's toilet.

Nel displayed a photo of the toilet on screens around the court and asked for it to be zoomed in to show the splinters.

"There is at least one splinter," Wolmarans said.

"It fell there [after the gunshots]... or it could've been of the blow of the cricket bat. My opinion is that it was rather from a shot that was fired."

The paralympic athlete is charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He shot her dead through the locked door of his toilet in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year. Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. The State contends he shot her during an argument.

On Monday, Nel questioned Wolmarans on tests he carried out. He told the court he had to conduct an experiment with the firearm twice because he could not fire rapidly.

"The first firearm that I used was not friendly with that type of ammunition," he explained.

"I was not able to fire rapidly."

Questioned by Nel on Friday, Wolmarans highlighted differences between his conclusions and the State's.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He has denied guilt on these charges as well.

Wolmarans said he did not believe Steenkamp was covering her head with her left hand when she was shot in the head

The cross-examination of ballistics expert Thomas "Wollie" Wolmarans is due to continue in Oscar Pistorius's murder trial in the High Court in Pretoria on Monday.

Questioned by prosecutor Gerry Nel on Friday, Wolmarans highlighted differences between his conclusions and the State's.

Wolmarans was initially called to testify in defence of the paralympian, who is charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He shot her dead through the locked door of his toilet in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year. Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him.

On Friday, Wolmarans sought to dispute the evidence of police ballistics expert and State witness Captain Chris Mangena. Mangena testified earlier in the trial that Steenkamp was shot in the hip as she stood behind the door, then the arm and head after she fell into a half-seated position onto the magazine rack in the toilet.

Wolmarans said he did not believe Steenkamp was covering her head with her left hand when she was shot in the head, as Mangena had submitted.

Wolmarans said brain matter found on the wall and floor was not on Steenkamp's left hand. He testified that he found a fragment of a bullet in Pistorius's toilet bowl, which investigators had missed. An accurate determination of the sequence of the shots or Steenkamp's body position when she was shot was not possible, he said.

Expert queries state evidence - Sapa

Ballistics expert Thomas "Wollie" Wolmarans highlighted differences between his conclusions and those of the State in the High Court in Pretoria on Friday.

He was testifying in defence of paralympian Oscar Pistorius, who has been charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

He shot her dead through a locked toilet door in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year. Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he mistook her for an intruder.

On Friday, Wolmarans sought to dispel earlier assertions by the State suggesting Steenkamp was in a cowering position when she was shot.

Wolmarans disputed the evidence of police ballistics expert Captain Chris Mangena, who was also in court.

Former policeman Wolmarans said he did not believe Reeva was covering her head with her left hand when she was shot in the head, as submitted by Mangena.

Wolmarans said brain matter found on the wall and floor was not evident on Reeva's left hand.

He also testified that he found a fragment of a bullet in Pistorius's toilet bowl, missed by investigators who had already searched the crime scene, and handed it to police.

He said an accurate determination of the sequence of the shots or Steenkamp's body position when she was shot was not possible.

Wolmarans told the court that Steenkamp could not have been sitting on the toilet seat when the shots were fired.

"The deceased was not sitting on the toilet seat. Her pants were pulled up and the shot was fired through her pants," said Wolmarans.

During cross-examination by prosecutor Gerrie Nel, there was debate on the different spots hit by the bullets fired by Pistorius.

The bullet holes have been marked A to D on the door of a toilet cubicle model that has been set up in court.

Lasers were used by both ballistics experts to match the bullets and the spots they hit on Steenkamp's body and on the wall.

Wolmarans argued on Friday that Mangena did not take into account a possibility of the bullets deflecting as they penetrated the door.

Nel said Mangena had managed to link the hole caused by bullet B to a spot marked E on the wall inside the toilet.

Wolmarans said E came "very close" but not quite. He repeatedly said it would be difficult to ascertain Steenkamp's actual position in the toilet when the shots were fired.

He said another expert could give the court a different version of probable events on that fateful 2013 Valentine's Day morning.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He has denied guilt on all charges.

Cross-examination of Wolmarans continues on Monday.

Dispute over Pistorius bullets - Sapa

The High Court in Pretoria heard debate on Friday on the different spots hit by bullets Oscar Pistorius fired last year.

Ballistics expert Thomas "Wollie" Wolmarans, testifying in Pistorius's defence, queried assertions of police ballistics expert Captain Chris Mangena.

Pistorius has been charged with murder after he shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp dead in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year.

He shot through the locked door of his toilet, hitting Steenkamp in the hip, arm, and head. He claims that he mistook her for an intruder.

The bullet holes have been marked A to D on the door of a toilet cubicle model that has been set up in court.

Lasers were used by both ballistics experts to match the bullets and the spots they hit on Steenkamp's body and on the wall.

Wolmarans argued on Friday that Mangena did not take into account a possibility of the bullets deflecting as they penetrated the door.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said Mangena had managed to link the hole caused by bullet B to a spot marked E on the wall inside the toilet.

Wolmarans said E came "very close" but not quite. He repeatedly said it would be difficult to ascertain Steenkamp's actual position in the toilet when the shots were fired.

Nel also examined him on the sound tests conducted in preparation for the trial.

Wolmarans said on the first night of the tests at a shooting range, the gun was jamming because the ammunition "was not friendly".

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He has denied guilt on all charges.

Wolmarans would still be on the stand when the trial resumes on Monday.

Like  schoolboys in a toyshop... - Tymon Smith

The introduction of a laser beam by police ballistics expert Captain Christiaan Mangena in the High Court in Pretoria on day 29 of Paralympian Oscar Pistorius’s murder trial created an atmosphere similar to that of excited schoolboys in a toyshop.

Members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and Pistorius's defence team crowded around the contraption which was brought in by Mangena ahead of the state's cross examination of Pistorius's ballistic expert "Wollie" Wolmarans.

Pistorius is fighting murder charges relating to the shooting and killing of his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, through a toilet door in his Pretoria home, in the early hours of Valentine’s Day morning last year.

The laser beam was introduced to demonstrate Mangena's assertion that the bullet fired through the hole marked B on the toilet door had ricocheted off the toilet cubicle wall and hit Steenkamp in her back.

During his evidence in chief Wolmarans told the court that it was impossible to predict with certainty the sequence in which Pistorius had fired the shots through his toilet door on that fatal morning last year.

He placed the ricochet bullet at either hole C or D and said that the bullet core he had found in the toilet bowl ruled out the possibility that injuries caused to Steenkamp's back were made by the ricocheted bullet.

Wolmarans testified that he believed the ricocheted bullet would not have had enough energy left after hitting the wall to cause the back wounds Steenkamp has sustained.

Under cross examination by State Prosecutor Gerrie Nel, an increasingly rattled Wolmarans rejected the idea that his report had been written in order to tailor evidence to the advantage of Pistorius, and took exception to Nel's accusation of bias.

Nel showed the court a photograph of the bullet core found in the toilet and compared it to a close up of the wounds on Steenkamp's back, arguing that striations on the wound were a perfect match for marks made by the edges of the core in line with Mangena's evidence.

Wolmarans disputed this, however, and maintained that the most likely cause of the wounds would have been the edges of the magazine rack in the toilet cubicle.

Like previous defence expert, Roger Dixon, Wolmarans contradicted Pistorius's testimony about the location of the magazine rack when the “Blade Runner” had broken down the door and found Steenkamp slumped on the floor.

Wolmarans testified that marks made in the blood on the floor by the legs of the rack showed it had not been moved.

Reeva was not using toilet: Expert - Sapa

Reeva Steenkamp was dressed when she was fatally shot by her boyfriend Oscar Pistorius on Valentine's Day last year, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Friday.

Ballistics expert Thomas "Wollie" Wolmarans, testifying in Pistorius's defence, said Steenkamp could not have been sitting on the toilet seat when the shots were fired.

"The deceased was not sitting on the toilet seat. Her pants were pulled up and the shot was fired through her pants," said Wolmarans.

The paralympian claims he thought Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot her dead in his lavish Silver Woods, Pretoria, home on February 14 last year.

He shot through the locked door of his toilet, hitting Steenkamp in the hip, arm, and head. He has been charged with murder.

He is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He has denied guilt on all charges.

Wolmarans said another expert could give the court a different version of probable events on that fateful Valentine's Day morning.

Earlier, Judge Thokozile Masipa and her two assessors inspected a toilet cubicle erected inside courtroom GD.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel invited the judge to examine the reconstruction of the toilet before he began his cross-examination of Wolmarans.

Laser beams were shining through the bullet holes in the door. The exhibition was meant to assist in the identification of the trajectory of the bullets fired by Pistorius.

The trial continues.

Judge Masipa inspects toilet cubicle - Sapa

The judge in murder-accused Oscar Pistorius's trial inspected a toilet cubicle erected inside courtroom GD in the High Court in Pretoria on Friday.

Judge Thokozile Masipa and her two assessors were invited by prosecutor Gerrie Nel to examine the reconstruction of the toilet before he began his cross-examination.

Police ballistics expert Captain Chris Mangena sprayed a white substance in the cubicle to make laser beams shining through bullet holes in the door visible.

The exhibition was set to assist Nel in his cross-examination defence ballistics expert Thomas "Wollie" Wolmarans on the trajectory of the bullets fired by Pistorius.

The paralympian claims he thought his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot her dead in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year.

He shot through the locked door of his toilet, hitting Steenkamp in the hip, arm, and head. He has been charged with murdering her.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He has denied guilt on all charges.

Nel asked Wolmarans if, after consulting Pistorius's legal team, he altered his reports to suit the defence's case.

The prosecutor said the court should note Wolmarans's assertions as he held consultations with different people in Pistorius's defence.

Wolmarans did not submit a report to the defence team before April 23. He said he was only giving them notes.

He also denied that he had consulted Pistorius as he drafted his report. He said Pistorius had been present at one defence meeting but he did not consult him.

Wolmarans said Pistorius vomited after seeing a photograph of Steenkamp.

Nel then raised Wolmarans's ire when he said he was "biased because you only wanted the tell the court that Pistorius vomited".

Wolmarans responded: "I have never consulted with the accused on what happened that night."

"I have never lied to a court. You make an inference [if] you like," he said.

The trial continues.

Oscar was on his stumps: Expert - Sapa

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius was on his stumps when he fatally shot Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year, ballistics expert Thomas "Wollie" Wolmarans said on Friday.

Testifying in Pistorius's defence at the High Court in Pretoria, Wolmarans concurred with earlier evidence by police ballistics expert Captain Chris Mangena.

However, Wolmarans highlighted several differences between his conclusions and that of the State.

He submitted that bullets which hit Steenkamp, fracturing her hip did not exit her body. A section of the bullet which caused the head wound was unaccounted for and its pieces may be part of the fragments recovered at the scene.

Wolmarans also questioned the possibility of a bullet ricocheting, then hitting Steenkamp and finally landing in the toilet bowl.

Pistorius maintains that he thought his girlfriend Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot her in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year.

He shot through the locked door of his toilet, hitting Steenkamp in the hip, arm and head. He has been charged with murder.

Wolmarans said he found a fragment of a bullet in Pistorius's toilet bowl, missed by investigators who had already searched the crime scene, and handed it to police.

He said an accurate determination of the sequence of the shots or Steenkamp's body position when she was shot was not possible.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He has denied guilt on all charges.

After being questioned by defence lawyer Barry Roux, the court took a short break before prosecutor Gerrie Nel would start cross-examination on Friday morning.

Balistics expert's Oscar testimony continues - Sapa

Ballistics expert Thomas "Wollie" Wolmarans is expected to return to the stand in Oscar Pistorius's murder trial at the High Court in Pretoria on Friday.

The defence team called Wolmarans on Thursday.

Pistorius maintains that he thought his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot her dead in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year. He has been charged with murdering her.

He shot through the locked door of his toilet, hitting Steenkamp in the hip, arm, and head. He apparently thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him.

Wolmarans said he found a fragment of a bullet in Pistorius's toilet bowl, missed by investigators who had already searched the crime scene, and handed it to police.

He said an accurate determination of the sequence of the shots or Steenkamp's body position when she was shot was not possible.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He has denied guilt on all four charges.

Experts testify for Pistorius - Sapa

Three witnesses were called by Oscar Pistorius's defence team on Thursday to testify in his murder trial in the High Court in Pretoria.

Pistorius says he thought his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot her dead in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year. He has been charged with murdering her.

Head of anaesthesiology at Wits University, Christina Lundgren, was brought in to give the court her opinion on gastric emptying. This related to the time Steenkamp had her last meal.

Lundgren referred the court to literature suggesting it would be speculative to gauge the time of eating and emptying of a dead person's stomach contents.

The anaesthetist said it was not proven that a stomach emptied after four hours. There was consensus on gastric emptying requiring a minimum of six hours after eating.

However, the topic was "not an exact science". In her career she remembered a woman who had not eaten for eight hours but still had food in her stomach during an operation.

In March, pathologist Gert Saayman, who performed the post-mortem on Steenkamp, said she could have eaten her last meal about two hours before her death.

He took pains to qualify this statement by saying that estimating this time was not an exact science and that he was relying on his years of experience and studying.

Last month, Pistorius was unable to explain why there was still food in Steenkamp's stomach when she was killed.

At the time, prosecutor Gerrie Nel suggested Steenkamp "must have eaten within two hours of her death".

Pistorius insisted the couple ate around 7pm on February 13 and went to bed soon after. Steenkamp was shot dead around 3am the following morning.

Social worker Yvette van Schalkwyk testified that the athlete was emotionally distraught and heartbroken after the shooting.

"From the moment I saw him, I saw a heartbroken man who was suffering emotionally. I saw a man who was in mourning and was sorry for the loss," she said.

"He spoke to me about the plans they had with Reeva for the future and about her parents and the suffering of her family."

She said Pistorius told her he "accidentally" shot Steenkamp. She said she had been upset by media reports suggesting Pistorius was not sincere in his apologies and was faking tears and emotions.

Cross-examined by Nel, Van Schalkwyk conceded she had never dealt with other accused people in a "family murder case".

Finally, the defence called Thomas "Wollie" Wolmarans, a ballistics expert with decades of experience.

Wolmarans said he found a fragment of a bullet in Pistorius's toilet bowl and handed it to police. The piece of evidence had been missed by several officers who had searched the crime scene earlier.

He said the type of bullets Pistorius used "mushroomed" when they hit a target, causing a larger wound.

He said an accurate determination of the sequence of the shots or Steenkamp's body position when she was shot was not possible. Wolmarans continues his testimony on Friday.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He has denied guilt on all four charges.

Pistorius was genuinely 'broken': witness - Sapa

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius was emotionally distressed and heartbroken after shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, a social worker told the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday.

"From the moment I saw him, I saw a heartbroken man who was suffering emotionally. I saw a man who was in mourning and was sorry for the loss," said Yvette van Schalkwyk.

"He spoke to me about the plans they had with Reeva for the future and about her parents and the suffering of her family."

She said she had been upset by media reports suggesting that Pistorius was not sincere in his apologies and was faking tears and emotions.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel objected to Van Schalkwyk's testimony.

He said her evidence was irrelevant, but he was overruled by Judge Thokozile Masipa.

Van Schalkwyk said she met Pistorius for the first time on February 15 in police cells, a day after the paralympian shot Steenkamp.

Under cross-examination by Nel, Van Schalkwyk said she had never dealt with other accused people in a "family murder case".

Earlier, Professor Christina Lundgren, head of anaesthesiology at Wits University, told the court it was problematic to ascertain the time of a deceased person's last meal based on gastric emptying and the time of death.

Lundgren said she could not support the State's assertion that Steenkamp ate about two hours prior to her death.

She referred the court to different literature suggesting that it would be speculative to gauge the time of eating and emptying of gastric contents of a deceased person.

Lundgren was called by Pistorius's defence to give expert evidence on factors which influence gastric emptying.

The anaesthetist said it was not proven that a stomach emptied after four hours. She said there was consensus on gastric emptying requiring a minimum of six hours after eating.

"About 10 percent of a low fat meal would remain in the stomach after four hours," she said.

Factors including sleeping, exercise, anxiety and pain, smoking, and certain medication could delay gastric emptying.

She said the topic of gastric emptying was "not an exact science".

Lundgren said Steenkamp's last meal, chicken stir fry, could have delayed gastric emptying if it contained indigestible fibre.

She said it had also been said Steenkamp did some yoga before going to bed, which could also have delayed gastric emptying.

She said the fact that Steenkamp was pre-menopausal could also have played a part.

In March, Professor Gert Saayman, who performed the post-mortem on Steenkamp, said the model's bladder would have been empty had she gone to the toilet between 30 minutes to an hour before her death.

He said she could have eaten her last meal about two hours before her death. He took pains to qualify this statement by saying that estimating the time of gastric emptying was not an exact science and that he was relying on his years of experience and studying.

In April, Pistorius was unable to explain why there was still food in Steenkamp's stomach when she died on the morning of February 14, 2013.

At the time, Nel suggested Steenkamp "must have eaten within two hours of her death".

Pistorius insisted the couple ate around 7pm on February 13 and went to bed soon after. Steenkamp was killed at around 3am the following morning.

Pistorius has claimed he thought Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot her dead in his Pretoria home. He has been charged with murder.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He has denied guilt on all charges.

More expert evidence on Reeva's 'gastric contents' - Sapa

An expert took the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday through several factors which may have delayed Reeva Steenkamp emptying her stomach on the night she was killed.

Professor Christina Lundgren was called by Oscar Pistorius's defence to give expert evidence on factors which influence gastric emptying.

The anaesthetist said it was not proven that a stomach emptied after four hours. She said there was consensus on gastric emptying after six hours of eating.

"About 10 percent of a low fat meal would remain in the stomach after four hours," she said.

Factors including sleeping, exercise, anxiety and pain, smoking, and certain medication could delay gastric emptying.

She said the topic of gastric emptying was "not an exact science".

Lundgren said Steenkamp's last meal, chicken stir fry, could have delayed gastric emptying if it contained indigestible fibre.

She said it had also been said Steenkamp did some yoga before going to bed, which could also have delayed gastric emptying.

In April, Pistorius was unable to explain why there was still food in Steenkamp's stomach when she died on the morning of February 14, 2013.

At the time, prosecutor Gerrie Nel suggested Steenkamp "must have eaten within two hours of her death".

Pistorius insisted the couple ate around 7pm on February 13 and went to bed soon after. Steenkamp was killed at around 3am the following morning.

Pistorius has claimed he thought Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot her dead in his Pretoria home. He has been charged with murder.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He has denied guilt on all charges.

Fewer media at trial - Sapa

Fewer journalists were outside the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday morning when murder-accused Oscar Pistorius arrived for his trial.

The paralympian arrived at the court in the Range Rover which has been ferrying him in previous days.

He walked through a passage created by journalists standing on either side of the entrance.

There were fewer reporters and cameramen compared to previous days.

Numerous outside broadcast vans have been permanently parked adjacent to the court since the trial began on March 3.

In court, Pistorius sat in the dock, scrolling on his phone before proceedings resumed. He had a small bag of documents by his side.

Earlier this week, Pistorius's neighbours on either side of his Silver Woods Estate home testified they did not hear gunshots early on Valentine's Day last year, when Pistorius's girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead.

Neighbour Rika Motshuane said she heard a man crying around 3.20am and woke her husband.

"The crying was very loud and very close. I remember thinking it could have been in the house."

She said she did not hear a woman scream.

Pistorius has claimed he thought Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot her dead in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year. He has been charged with murder.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He has denied guilt on all charges.

Oscar trial resumes - Sapa

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius's trial is expected to resume in the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday.

The neighbours on either side of Pistorius's house testified on Tuesday that they did not hear gunshots on early Valentine's Day morning last year, when Pistorius's girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead.

Neighbour Rika Motshuane said she heard a man crying around 3.20am and woke her husband.

"The crying was very loud and very close. I remember thinking it could have been in the house."

Barry Roux SC, for Pistorius, asked her if the scream was high-pitched. He also asked her to try and replicate the sound.

Motshuane screamed twice for the court. She said she did not hear a woman scream.

Pistorius has claimed he thought Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot her dead in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year. He has been charged with murder.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He has denied guilt on all charges.

The trial will continue on Thursday, May 8

"In the early hours... I heard a man crying and to me the crying was a cry of pain"

The neighbours on either side of murder-accused Oscar Pistorius's house did not hear gunshots on Valentine's Day early morning last year, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.

"In the early hours... I heard a man crying and to me the crying was a cry of pain," neighbour Rika Motshuane said.

"Immediately I woke my husband up and asked him 'did you hear?' He said 'yes but I thought I was dreaming'."

Motshuane said the man's crying woke her around 3.20am.

"The crying was very loud and very close. I remember thinking it could have been in the house."

Motshuane and her husband were one of Pistorius's neighbours in the lavish Silver Woods Estate, Pretoria.

Barry Roux SC, for Pistorius, who was leading Motshuane in giving evidence, asked her if the scream was high-pitched. He also asked her to demonstrate. Motshuane screamed twice for the court.

"The crying was continuous," she said.

Pistorius sat with his head down while Motshuane tried to replicate his "high-pitched" scream.

Roux asked Motshuane if she heard a woman scream, to which she responded no.

Pistorius has claimed he thought Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot her dead in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year. He has been charged with murder as the State tries to prove its theory he shot her during an argument. Pistorius fired four times through the locked door of his toilet, apparently thinking an intruder was about to emerge and attack him. Steenkamp, who was behind the door, was hit in the hip, arm, and head.

Pistorius is also charged with three alleged contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition, and two of discharging a firearm in public. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

During cross-examination on Tuesday, prosecutor Gerrie Nel questioned Motshuane on whether she was sure she only heard a man crying.

Motshuane said if there was a female she would have said so in her statement to police.

Earlier, Pistorius's closest neighbour Michael Nhlengethwa said he only heard a man shouting for help. His wife Eontle, a housewife, said she heard a single bang before she heard the cry.

"It was very loud because it woke me up," she told the court through an interpreter.

"I woke up my husband and asked if he had heard the sound."

Nhlengethwa said her husband left their bedroom to investigate whether the sound came from inside their house. She then heard three successive cries for help.

Roux asked Nhlengethwa to replicate the cry she heard. She yelled once.

The trial was adjourned until Thursday.

Neighbour heard 'one bang' - Sapa

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius's closest neighbour heard only a single loud bang on the Valentine's Day morning Reeva Steenkamp was fatally shot, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.

Eontle Hillary Nhlengethwa, a housewife in the lavish Siver Woods Estate in Pretoria said she was woken by the single strident sound which was later followed by successive screams for help.

"It was very loud because it woke me up. I woke up my husband and asked if he had heard the sound," she told the court through an interpreter.

Nhlengethwa said her husband Michael went out of their bedroom to investigate if the sound had not come from within their house.

She then heard three successive screams from help.

"It was a male voice. It was like someone who was very hurt and needing urgent help. I could not make up words of what the (screaming) person was saying," she said.

The voice of the "screamer" was high-pitched.

Pistorius's lawyer Barry Roux SC asked Nhlengethwa to imitate the scream she heard. She yelled.

Nhlengethwa said she was very frightened through the ordeal. Her husband returned to their bedroom and phoned the estate's security guards.

He later went to Pistorius's house when the security vehicle was there.

He testified earlier on Tuesday.

"I saw Oscar. He was kneeling next to a lady who was just lying down there. He was just crying at that point in time," he said.

Pistorius sat attentively on Tuesday, sometimes clutching his head with both hands as the couple testified.

"I could see obviously that the situation was bad. I couldn't take watching what I saw."

Nhlengethwa said he saw the ambulance arrive at Pistorius's house.

"I saw the stretcher come out [of the house] at that moment my lady and I knew she was no more."

Pistorius claims he thought Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot and killed her. He has been charged with murder. The State alleges he shot her during an argument.

Pistorius shot four times through the locked door of his toilet, and on his version thought an intruder was about to emerge and attack him. Steenkamp, who was behind the door, was hit in the hip, arm, and head.

He broke down the door with a cricket bat to get Steenkamp out.

Pistorius is also charged with three alleged contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition, and two of discharging a firearm in public. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

 

'Oscar defence could end next week' - Sapa

Murder-accused paralympian Oscar Pistorius's defence is expected to finalise its case in a week, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.

"We are well into our time frame," Barry Roux SC, said.

"[We are expecting to] end the defence's case by next week Tuesday."

Judge Thokozile Masipa asked Roux if he was that confident.

"I hope you are quite correct," she said.

Court adjourned on Tuesday while the defence waited for its next witness to arrive. Roux said it should be around 30 minutes.

Pistorius claims he thought his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot her dead in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year. He has been charged with murder. The State argues he shot her through the locked door of his toilet during an argument.

Pistorius shot four times through the door, and on his version, thought an intruder was about to emerge and attack him. Steenkamp was hit in the hip, arm, and head.

Pistorius is also charged with three alleged contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition, and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

"Oscar is my neighbour. I'm the closest neighbour... as I said I heard a man crying"

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius's closest neighbour did not hear screaming the night Reeva Steenkamp was shot, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.

"Oscar is my neighbour. I'm the closest neighbour... as I said I heard a man crying," Michael Nhlengethwa said during cross-examination by prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

"My Lady I heard the man that was crying, that is why I called security."

Nel questioned Nhlengethwa on what he and his wife heard in Silver Woods Estate, Pretoria, in the early hours of February 14 last year.

"Did you hear any sounds that could have emanated from him [Pistorius] breaking down the door?" Nel asked.

Nhlengethwa said no. He did not hear gunshots. However, he said his wife heard a bang. Nel asked if he heard a woman scream, Nhlengethwa said no.

Pistorius claims he thought Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot and killed her. He has been charged with murder. The State alleges he shot her during an argument.

Pistorius shot four times through the locked door of his toilet, apparently thinking an intruder was about to emerge and attack him. Steenkamp, who was behind the door, was hit in the hip, arm, and head. He broke down the door with a cricket bat to get Steenkamp out.

Pistorius is also charged with three alleged contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition, and two of discharging a firearm in public. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Earlier, Nhlengethwa, while being led in giving evidence by Barry Roux, for Pistorius, said he went to Pistorius's house after calling security.

"I saw Oscar. He was kneeling next to a lady who was just lying down there. He was just crying at that point in time."

Pistorius sat with his head in his hands as Nhlengethwa spoke.

"I could see obviously that the situation was bad. I couldn't take watching what I saw."

Nhlengethwa said he saw the ambulance arrive at Pistorius's house.

"I saw the stretcher come out [of the house] at that moment my lady and I knew she was no more."

"I don't think he is guilty, I believe in his innocence. I don't like all the negative comments about him"

Several supporters of murder-accused Oscar Pistorius gathered outside the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday morning ahead of his appearance.

One of the paralympian's fervent supporters, Kayla Nolan, 18, said she had hugged Pistorius on Monday, and was looking forward to doing it again.

"I hugged him here (at the court entrance). It was amazing. Getting to meet the man was amazing. I was also in court for some time yesterday," said Nolan.

"I hope he will be strong enough to handle this trial. His family and our prayers are there for him. His true supporters will continue to be there for him, no matter the outcome."

Nolan's mother was also at court, supporting Pistorius.

Schoolgirl Ruth Chivhaku said it has become a ritual for her to pass near the court entrance to show support.

"I will forever support him. He is a great man. I know he will survive all this," she said.

Another supporter, Marika Minie, 25, said whatever the court verdict, she will remain a Pistorius supporter.

"I don't think he is guilty, I believe in his innocence. I don't like all the negative comments about him," said Minie.

"We should not judge him. God will also judge us."

Numerous local and international journalists were lining the court entrance. Several police officers were also at the scene.

In court, the defence called a new witness Michael Nhlengetwa on Tuesday.

Nhlengetwa is a neighbour of Pistorius in the plush Silver Woods Estate in Pretoria.

He told the court that he and Pistorius share a love of cars and Pistorius would usually show him his new vehicles.

The self-employed businessman said he met Reeva Steenkamp only once. He said Pistorius introduced him to Steenkamp as "my fiancée".

The defence is attempting to prove its case that Pistorius thought Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot and killed her in his home on February 14 last year.

He has been charged with murder as the State tries to prove its theory he shot her during an argument.

Pistorius shot four times through the locked door of his toilet, apparently thinking an intruder was about to emerge and attack him.

Steenkamp, who was behind the door, was hit in the hip, arm, and head.

The trial began on March 3.

Pistorius is also charged with three alleged contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition, and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Oscar trial continues - Sapa

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius's trial, having passed the two-month mark, is expected to resume in the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday.

On Monday, the court heard Pistorius was distressed after shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

The court heard testimony from defence witnesses Johan Stander and his daughter Carice Viljoen, the paralympian's neighbours in the Silver Woods Estate in Pretoria.

Pistorius, who says he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder, has been charged with murdering her.

Stander and Viljoen were the first people who arrived on the scene after the shooting.

"We saw Mr Pistorius coming down the stairs with Reeva in his arms. When Mr Pistorius saw us there was relief in his face."

He said that when Pistorius reached the bottom of the stairs Viljoen asked him to put Steenkamp down so they could see what was wrong.

"He was really crying. He was in pain and he asked us to please assist him to put Reeva in the car and take her to the hospital," he said.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He has denied guilt on all charges.

Trial postponed to Tuesday

The murder trial of Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius was postponed before lunch on Monday after the defence was unable to call more witnesses to the stand.

"We could not get more than two witnesses for the day," Barry Roux SC, for Pistorius, said.

Judge Thokozile Masipa adjourned the case until 9.30am on Tuesday.

On Monday morning, Roux called Pistorius's neighbours in the Silver Woods Estate, Carice Viljoen and her father Johan Stander, who went to his house shortly after he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

He shot Steenkamp through the locked toilet door of his Pretoria home and contends that he mistook her for an intruder.

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder. The State argues he killed her during an argument.

Steenkamp's mother June was in court with her lawyer and a friend on Monday.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He allegedly fired a shot from a Glock pistol under a table at a Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013. On September 30, 2012 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

He has denied guilt on these charges.

"I was kneeling on the one side of Reeva and Oscar was kneeling on the other side. He was begging for us to take her to the hospital."

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius begged his dying girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp to stay with him and was praying to God to save her life, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Monday.

"He was just praying to God to save her life and he was talking to Reeva begging her to please stay with him," neighbour Carice Viljoen said.

"He said, 'stay with me my love, stay with me'.

Viljoen and her father Johan Stander were the first people who arrived on the scene after Steenkamp was shot dead by Pistorius in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year.

The paralympian, who says he mistook her for an intruder, has been charged with murdering Steenkamp.

He called Stander at 3.18am shortly after Steenkamp was shot. The Standers and Pistorius both lived in the Silver Woods Estate, Pretoria.

She said she parked her car in the street and put on her hazards and she and Stander jumped out and went to the front door that was slightly open.

"As I opened the door, I walked in and the first thing I saw was Oscar carrying Reeva down the stairs," she said.

She explained that Pistorius was on the second landing of the staircase.

"You could see he was walking rather fast... from the second we walked into the house he was frantic. He just wanted to get her to hospital."

She said she told him to put down Steenkamp so they could see what was wrong.

"He was begging me to put her in the car and take her to the hospital," she said in tears.

As Viljoen broke down in tears, Pistorius sat with his head down covering his eyes with his left hand.

Barry Roux, SC, for Pistorius, advised Viljoen to take time to compose herself.

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty and in his plea statement denied he had argued with her shortly before the shooting.

Viljoen said Pistorius kept asking her to take Steenkamp to hospital and told her to take his car.

"I told him to put her down. I just saw blood everywhere. At that moment my dad stepped outside to phone the ambulance," she recalled.

"I was kneeling on the one side of Reeva and Oscar was kneeling on the other side. He was begging for us to take her to the hospital."

She said she realised that they needed to stop the bleeding and went upstairs to fetch towels.

They held pressure to Steenkamp's right hip.

"Most of the time he had his finger in her mouth as well trying to help her to breathe I suppose," Viljoen said.

"He asked me to keep my finger in her mouth. The whole time he kept on asking me where the ambulance was and we just tried our very best at that stage."

Viljoen said she spoke to Pistorius and asked him what happened while they were trying to stop the bleeding.

"He just looked at me and he said, 'I thought it was an intruder'."

She said she did not ask him more about what happened because they were trying to save Steenkamp's life.

When the paramedics arrived, she told Pistorius to step aside so they could work on Steenkamp.

"Oscar was in a state and asked the paramedics to do whatever they could to save her life."

The athlete went upstairs to fetch Steenkamp's bag after the paramedics asked him for identification.

Viljoen said she did not go with him but when she realised that the gun was upstairs she ran after him.

"I thought he was going to go and shoot himself and I shouted to him to bring the bag."

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act, one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He has also denied guilt on these charges.

Witness heard screams - Sapa

A neighbour of murder-accused Oscar Pistorius told the High Court in Pretoria on Monday that she heard three screams for help.

Carice Viljoen (SUBS: CORRECT) said she was woken by her dog barking in her bedroom in the early morning of February 14 last year.

"It wasn't only my dog that was barking. Other dogs in the neighbourhood were also restless and barking," she said to questioning by Barry Roux, for Pistorius.

She said she had left sliding balcony doors open. As she moved to close them, Viljoen said she heard screams for help. She was struck with fear and got onto her bed. Viljoen's father Johan Stander testified before her on Monday.

The Standers and Pistorius were neighbours in the Silver Woods Estate, Pretoria.

Pistorius is charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

He shot through the locked toilet door of his home on February 14 last year, apparently thinking she was an intruder. The State argues he shot her during an argument.

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty.

"Why would you make such a mistake? Do you want to assist Mr Pistorius with his defence?"

A neighbour of murder-accused Oscar Pistorius was questioned in the High Court in Pretoria on Monday after interpreting a call from the athlete, shortly after his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead, as a mistake.

"When he phoned me he said I made a mistake," Johan Stander said under cross-examination from prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

Nel replied: "No he never said that. Why did you want to include that he made a mistake?"

"It was a mistake that I made," Stander replied, playing with his water bottle.

"Why would you make such a mistake? Do you want to assist Mr Pistorius with his defence?" Nel continued.

Stander replied: "My lady I am here to give the truth. In my mind that was a mistake. He never said it was a mistake. That was my understanding."

Stander explained that he interpreted the phone call he received from Pistorius on Valentine's Day last year as a mistake. He said as far as he understood Pistorius did not want to shoot an intruder.

The paralympian called Stander at 3.18am on Valentine's Day last year, shortly after Steenkamp was shot. The Standers and Pistorius both lived in the Silver Woods Estate, Pretoria.

Earlier Stander told the court that when Pistorius called him he said: "Oom (uncle) Johan please, please, please come to my house. I shot Reeva, I thought she was an intruder.

"Please, please, please come quick."

During cross-examination, Nel asked Stander what he thought the mistake was.

"The fact that he shot her? Mr Stander, how can you out of that call say the fact that he shot her was a mistake? Why do you now want to tell the court that he made a mistake by shooting?"

Stander replied: "I'm looking at that telephone call. I can interpret it by saying he made a mistake. He said he thought she was an intruder."

Pistorius is charged with murdering Steenkamp. He shot her through the locked toilet door of his home on February 14 last year, apparently thinking she was an intruder.

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty. The State argues he shot her during an argument.

Stander first met Pistorius in May 2009 when he moved into the estate with his family.

He said the athlete often asked him to look after his house and pets when he went to compete overseas. Stander met Steenkamp in December 2012 and saw her again in January 2013.

The court heard that according to the rules of the estate no additional burglar bars could be installed.

He said he never socialised with Pistorius and he never saw the athlete armed.

"I never visited him in a social capacity," he said.

Since the shooting, he never discussed what happened that night with Pistorius. He said he attended a memorial for Steenkamp that Pistorius had at his house.

Steenkamp's mother June, her lawyer, a friend, Pistorius's uncle Arnold and brother Carl were in court.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He allegedly fired a shot from a Glock pistol under a table at a Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013. On September 30, 2012 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

He has also denied guilt on these charges.

"He was screaming, he was crying, he was praying. He was torn apart, broken, desperate."

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius was "broken" shortly after his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead in his Pretoria home, the High Court in Pretoria hear on Monday.

"We tried to calm Mr Pistorius down. He was broken," neighbour Johan Stander said to questioning by Kenny Oldwadge, for Pistorius.

"He was screaming, he was crying, he was praying. He was torn apart, broken, desperate."

The paralympian called Stander at 3.18am on Valentine's Day last year, shortly after Steenkamp was shot. The Standers and Pistorius both lived in the Silver Woods Estate, Pretoria.

Stander told the court that when Pistorius called him he said: "Oom (uncle) Johan please, please, please come to my house. I shot Reeva, I thought she was an intruder.

"Please, please, please come quick."

Stander said when he got out of bed his daughter came out of her room and said she just heard someone scream. His wife told her that Pistorius called and said "he shot Reeva", Stander told the court.

He said his daughter was driving the car and parked in the street.

"The two of us were rushing to the front door, it was slightly open and there was a light burning," he recalled.

He said the door was slightly open and his daughter was in front of him and she pushed the door open.

"We saw Mr Pistorius coming down the stairs with Reeva in his arms," he said.

"When Mr Pistorius saw us there was relief in his face."

He said when Pistorius reached bottom of the stairs his daughter asked him to put Steenkamp down.

"He was really crying. He was in pain and he asked us to please assist him to put Reeva in the car and take her to the hospital," he said.

Stander was emotional and Oldwadge told him to take his time.

Steenkamp's mother, June, was in court with her lawyer and friend on Monday. Steenkamp's Johannesburg friends, the Myers family, were also in court.

Pistorius has been charged with murdering Steenkamp. He shot her through the locked toilet door of his home on February 14 last year, apparently thinking she was an intruder.

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty and in his plea statement denied he had argued with her shortly before the shooting.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act, one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He allegedly fired a shot from a Glock pistol under a table at a Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013. On September 30, 2012 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

He has also denied guilt on these charges.

Pistorius sat on the dock on Monday morning, looking at Stander as he gave evidence.

Support for Pistorius at court - Sapa

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius was greeted by a few supporters as he walked into the High Court in Pretoria for the resumption of his trial on Monday.

"We love you Oscar," a young woman shouted as the paralympic athlete walked the gauntlet of photographers, cameramen, and police officers.

Ferdinand Eichstadt said he was at court to offer moral support.

"Whether he is guilty or not, that will be for the judge to decide. To us he is a hero," he said.

Eichstadt had a large poster with pictures of Pistorius and the words: "Vote Oscar Pistorius our ambassador (in the) war against crime".

A new defence witness is expected to be called on Monday.

The defence will attempt to prove its case that Pistorius thought his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot and killed her in his Pretoria townhouse in February 14 last year.

He is accused of murdering her. The State argues he did so during an argument. Pistorius shot four times through the locked door of his toilet, apparently thinking an intruder was about to emerge and attack him. Steenkamp, who was behind the door, was hit in the hip, arm, and head.

The trial began on March 3.

Pistorius is also charged with three alleged contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition, and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Pistorius murder trial to continue - Sapa

A new defence witness is expected to be called when paralympian Oscar Pistorius's murder trial resumes in the High Court in Pretoria on Monday.

The defence will attempt to prove its case that Pistorius thought his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot and killed her in his Pretoria townhouse in February 14 last year.

He is accused of murdering her. The State argues he did so during an argument.

Pistorius shot four times through the locked door of his toilet, apparently thinking an intruder was about to emerge and attack him. Steenkamp, who was behind the door, was hit in the hip, arm, and head.

The last defence witness to be called by Barry Roux, for Pistorius, before the trial was postponed on April 17, was geologist and former police forensics analyst Roger Dixon.

He testified, among other things, about the bullet wounds Steenkamp sustained, marks on the toilet door made when Pistorius kicked it with his prosthetic leg, and when he struck it with his cricket bat to break it open and get to a dying Steenkamp.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel criticised Dixon for claiming to be an expert in fields he had no qualifications in.

The trial began on March 3.

Pistorius is also charged with three alleged contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition, and two of discharging a firearm in public.

"Why did you not make sure that the person is the exact height as Mr Pistorius? Why?"  - Sapa

The height of a man shown in a photograph submitted by paralympian Oscar Pistorius's defence witness Roger Dixon is incorrect, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Thursday.

Dixon's photograph shows a man on his knees and 20cm shorter than Pistorius if he were on stumps.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked Dixon why, as an expert, he did not make sure the height of the man in the photograph was correct.

"Why did you not make sure that the person is the exact height as Mr Pistorius? Why?" he asked Dixon.

Dixon said the photograph was taken "for demonstration purposes".

"I am not trying to mislead the court, My Lady... I am not suggesting that Mr Pistorius is the same height as the man on his knees in the photograph."

Dixon, a qualified geologist, took the photograph while standing across the street from Pistorius's house.

"The man's height is something I overlooked and omitted," he told the court.

Pistorius is charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

Pistorius shot Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door at his home in Pretoria.

He says he mistook her for an intruder and that the shooting was an accident.

He is also charged with contravening the Firearms Control Act.

The State argues that he murdered Steenkamp following an argument.

Oscar channel to take a break - Sapa

The Oscar Pistorius Trial Channel will take a break for two weeks, from next Monday to May 5, spokeswoman Michelle Esau said.

"The pop-up channel (DStv channel 199) will continue with repeats and an omnibus of the week's court proceedings throughout the Easter weekend, and will pop down on Monday, April 21," she said on Thursday.

The channel, broadcast from a studio in Johannesburg, has regular live crossings to the courtroom, sending out audio of the full trial and televising parts of it.

Pistorius shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, 29, on February 14 last year, through a locked bathroom door at his upmarket Pretoria East home. He says he mistook her for an intruder.

He has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder, and to three charges of contravening the Firearms Control Act.

Pistorius, 27, whose legs were amputated below the knee when he was an infant, has achieved international fame as the "Blade Runner".

He has excelled as a paralympian, running on two carbon-fibre blades, and competed against able-bodied athletes in the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The trial is set to resume in the High Court in Pretoria on May 5.

Defence witness contradicts Oscar - Sapa

A defence witness on Thursday contradicted the evidence of murder-accused Oscar Pistorius.

Testifying in the High Court in Pretoria, Roger Dixon said according to his findings a magazine rack had been right next to where Pistorius's girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp fell and died on Valentine's Day last year.

He referred the court to a photograph and said there was a blood smear caused by the foot of the magazine rack which had been in the toilet of Pistorius's home.

However, Pistorius told the court the magazine rack was not there when he broke down the door to get to Steenkamp.

"So whatever the accused is saying, you're saying he is wrong?" asked prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

"You're his witness," said Nel.

"When the deceased fell, the magazine rack was there," Dixon, a qualified geologist, said.

Steenkamp's mother June looked down, avoiding seeing the picture of the bloody toilet.

A woman next to her rubbed her back, comforting her.

Pistorius shot Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door at his home in Pretoria on Valentine's Day last year.

He says he mistook her for an intruder and that the shooting was an accident.

He is charged with murdering her, and also faces three other charges of contravening the Firearms Control Act.

The State argues that he murdered Steenkamp following an argument.

Dixon explains Steenkamp's wounds - Sapa

It was most probable that Oscar Pistorius's girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was shot in the head as she fell down after being struck by three other bullets, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Thursday.

"It is most probable that the bullet hit her head as she was falling down," said defence witness Roger Dixon, a qualified geologist.

He was under cross-examination by prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

On Wednesday, Dixon told the court he did not believe any of the four shots Pistorius fired could have missed her.

Other State witnesses had testified that three bullets struck her, but one of them caused two wounds.

According to Dixon, however, the first bullet struck her hip, the second struck her arm, the third her finger, and the fourth her head.

Pistorius seemed to battle to listen to the testimony on Steenkamp's wounds.

He once again sat with his head bowed and his hands over his head, with his thumbs pressed into his ears.

Pistorius shot Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door at his home in Pretoria on Valentine's Day last year.

He says he mistook her for an intruder and that the shooting was an accident.

He is charged with murdering her, and also faces three other charges of contravening the Firearms Control Act.

The State argues that he murdered Steenkamp following an argument.

Overflow courtroom should behave says judge - Sapa

Day 25 of the Oscar Pistorius trial at the High Court in Pretoria started with a stern reprimand by Judge Thokozile Masipa on Thursday.

"Something disturbing has come to my attention," she said, saying her message was addressed to the people in the courtroom next to hers where the proceedings were being relayed live on a screen.

Masipa said she had been told that people in that courtroom were "cheering, booing, and doing whatever they like".

Courtroom GC was an extension of her court, she said.

"It is not an entertainment place or picnic place," she said, adding that eating and drinking were prohibited in court.

Masipa called on security officers to do their job.

Earlier, security officers removed a young man caught taking a photograph in courtroom GD before proceedings began.

"Take him out of the court," a security official said to his colleagues.

The young man who had snapped a picture using his cellphone was led out of court, looking embarrassed.

Taking pictures before the hearing starts is prohibited in the courtroom where the paralympian is on trial for shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Once the court is in session, a pool photo arrangement for media houses kicks in.

Pistorius shot Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door at his home in Pretoria on Valentine's Day last year.

He says he mistook her for an intruder and that the shooting was an accident.

He is charged with murdering her, and also faces three other charges for contraventions of the Firearms Control Act.

He has pleased not guilty to all the charges.

Pistorius looked calm on Thursday as he sat in front of the court, chatting to a member of his legal team.

His family, who have been at his side during all the proceedings, were again in court.

Also in court was Steenkamp's mother June, who sat speaking to ANC Women's League Gauteng spokeswoman Jacqui Mofokeng, who has regularly attended the trial since its start seven weeks ago.

Man removed from Pistorius court for taking photo - Sapa

High Court in Pretoria security officials removed a member of the public taking photographs in courtroom GD ahead of the resumption of Oscar Pistorius's trial on Thursday.

"Take him out of the court," a security official said to his colleagues.

The young man who had snapped a picture using his cellphone was led out of court, looking embarrassed.

Taking pictures before the hearing starts is prohibited in the courtroom where the paralympian is on trial for shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Once the court is in session, a pool photo arrangement for media houses kicks in.

Pistorius shot Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door at his home in Pretoria on Valentine's Day last year.

He says he mistook her for an intruder and that the shooting was an accident.

He is charged with murdering her, and also faces three other charges for contraventions of the Firearms Control Act.

He has pleased not guilty to all the charges.

Pistorius looked calm on Thursday as he sat in front of the court, chatting to a member of his legal team.

His family, who have been at his side during all the proceedings, were again in court.

Also in court was Steenkamp's mother June, who sat speaking to ANC Women's League Gauteng spokeswoman Jacqui Mofokeng.

Mofokeng has been in regular attendance since the trial started seven weeks ago.

Dixon expected to back his testimony - Sapa

Oscar Pistorius's trial will resume at the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday with defence expert witness Roger Dixon returning to the stand.

After a tough cross-examination by prosecutor Gerrie Nel on Wednesday, Dixon was requested to produce literature to support evidence he gave in court.

Nel had disputed Dixon's claims that Reeva Steenkamp, who was shot and killed by her boyfriend Oscar Pistorius, fell backwards as a result of bullet that struck her.

"It only happens in the movies," Nel said, adding that Dixon should back up his testimony.

Dixon was also asked to produce his report on a gunshot sound test he testified on.

He said the test had failed as the gun had jammed several times.

Thursday marked the 25th day of the trial, with Dixon being the third defence witness to testify.

Pistorius is charged with Steenkamp's murder. He shot her through a locked bathroom at his Pretoria home on Valentine's Day last year.

He claimed to have mistaken her for an intruder.

The State, however, argued that the shooting was premeditated and came after arguments between the couple.

In addition to the murder charge, the paralympic athlete also faces three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act, one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

Oscar murder trial enters day 24

The murder trial of paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius enters day 24 in the High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday, with a former senior police forensic expert continuing his evidence.

Pistorius ended his seventh day in the witness stand on Tuesday. He maintained he was innocent and had acted involuntarily when he fired the shots that killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Barry Roux, SC, for Pistorius, called former police forensic expert, Roger Dixon.

Dixon said he had conducted sound and vision tests that contradicted testimony from Pistorius's neighbours, who told the court they heard a woman's screams followed by gunshots.

He agreed with Pistorius's defence that police investigators had possibly compromised evidence, telling the court it was clear that one had stepped on the door. He termed this "most unprofessional".

Wrapping up his cross-examination earlier on Tuesday, prosecutor Gerrie Nel said Steenkamp had run to the bathroom following an argument with Pistorius.

A break in Pistorius case

The murder trial of paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius will break from Thursday until May 5, Judge Thokozile Masipa told the High Court in Pretoria.

She said on Wednesday that the matter had initially been expected to run for three weeks but was now in its seventh week.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked for the postponement on Tuesday. He said, amongst other things, his colleague had another matter to attend to.

"There comes a time... and this is it, where the diary becomes clogged up," Nel said on Tuesday.

He indicated that with the long Easter weekend approaching, they had made personal arrangements which they would like to attend to.

Masipa urged counsel to continue working on their cases through the holiday.

"The record has almost 2000 pages," said Masipa, adding that most of it was technical evidence from expert witness.

She said she considered the possible prejudice Pistorius could face due to the postponement. She concluded that he suffered no prejudice as he was out on bail, and the adjournment would only be for seven working days.

Masipa added that she could not allow the May 7 elections to disrupt the trial.

Pistorius is accused of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. He shot her dead through the locked toilet door of his home on Valentine's Day last year. He allegedly mistook her for an intruder.

The State, however, argued that Pistorius intentionally shot her following an argument.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act, one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public. He has denied guilt on all the charges.

Wednesday marked the 24th day of the trial.

Former police forensic analyst, Roger Dixon, was back on the stand. He started delivering his evidence-in-chief on Tuesday where he spoke about the abrasions on Steenkamp's body.

Pistorius said he broke down the meranti door using a cricket back after realising Steenkamp was behind it.

Fewer people in Oscar court

Public interest in Oscar Pistorius's trial seems to have waned a bit with fewer people queuing up outside courtroom GD in the High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday morning.

When Pistorius again took the stand on Tuesday, scores of people had arrived at the court, hoping to be in the gallery for the proceedings.

While the back bench, which is reserved for the public, was full on Wednesday, people sat comfortably with space left over for more people.

Pistorius arrived in court dressed in a black suit and sat in the dock with his head bowed.

He later spoke to members of his legal team and stood up to talk to his family two benches behind him.

The paralympic athlete is charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14 last year.

He shot her through a locked bathroom door in his Pretoria townhouse. He claims he mistook her for an intruder.

However, the State argues that Pistorius intentionally shot her following an argument.

Oscar could not have stumbled

"I do not think stumbling would provide sufficient force to end with such a large amount of varnish on the prosthesis," former police forensic analyst Roger Dixon testified.

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius could not have stumbled on a wooden panel while it was still in the door, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.

"I do not think stumbling would provide sufficient force to end with such a large amount of varnish on the prosthesis," former police forensic analyst Roger Dixon testified.

He was being questioned by Barry Roux, SC, for Pistorius.

Police officer Colonel Johannes Vermeulen earlier testified for the State that a mark on one of the toilet door panels could have come from Pistorius stepping on it as it lay on the floor of his bathroom.

Pistorius has been charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his Pretoria house on February 14 last year.

He shot her through a locked toilet door, saying later he mistook her for an intruder about to come out and attack him.

He then kicked at the door with his prosthetic legs and broke it down with a cricket bat.

The court was on Tuesday shown a photo of the toe area of Pistorius's right prosthetic leg. Dixon pointed out damage on the prosthesis and areas where varnish from the door had been transferred to it.

"That could only come from a hard kick to the door," Dixon said.

Complaint against Nel dismissed

"The SAHRC noted that the court had duly exercised its authority in the course of ongoing proceedings before it," the commission said in a statement.

A complaint against prosecutor Gerrie Nel has been rejected, the SA Human Rights Commission said on Tuesday.

"The SAHRC noted that the court had duly exercised its authority in the course of ongoing proceedings before it," the commission said in a statement.

"The witness was represented and a right of recourse was available through the courts to take steps should this be appropriate."

The complainant, Jan Landman, had asked the commission to probe the manner in which Nel conducted his cross-examination of murder-accused Oscar Pistorius.

Landman, a former commissioner of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious, and Linguistic Communities, requested that the SAHRC investigate and rule whether Nel was permitted to refer to Pistorius as a "liar" as he cross-examined him.

Landman said it was his opinion that in calling Pistorius a liar, Nel infringed on his right to a fair trial.

He claimed Nel further contravened Pistorius's right to be presumed innocent and his right to freedom of expression, and to ensure his dignity was respected and protected.

The commission said its powers in such matters are informed by a statute which did not allow it to investigate matters being heard before other judicial tribunals and forums, including the courts, unless the matter concerned processes.

"The SAHRC is satisfied that adequate protections are in place at the level of the court process and specifically for the witness and has decided not to pursue this matter further."

The commission urged the public to remain respectful of the authority of the court and the rights of commentators to expression.

"The public is reminded of the need to limit undue circulation of graphic material presented in court out of respect to the deceased and her family," the commission said.

Should we blame Reeva for not telling you she was going to the toilet?"

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel on Tuesday concluded his cross-examination of murder-accused paralympian Oscar Pistorius.

Looking sternly at Pistorius, he said the court would find that Steenkamp had eaten three hours prior to being shot dead. Pistorius had told the court the couple had eaten hours before.

The arguments that a neighbour claimed to have heard prior to the shootings happened as Steenkamp was eating.

The "blood-curdling" screams that several neighbours claimed to have heard came from Steenkamp. Pistorius had testified that he was the one who was screaming as he tried to break down the door, trying to reach Steenkamp.

Pistorius fired four shots through the locked toilet door knowing that Steenkamp was behind it, he said.

Pistorius had said he mistook her for an intruder.

Nel said Steenkamp had run to the toilet, and Pistorius armed himself with the sole purpose of killing her. Pistorius had testified he did not see Steenkamp heading to the toilet. He claimed to have told her to call the police.

The reason for Pistorius being so emotional was due to him being overcome by what he had done, Nel said.

Earlier, Nel questioned Pistorius on who should take the blame for killing Steenkamp.

Nel: "You said we should blame you for taking Reeva's life. Who should we blame for shooting her?"

Pistorius: "I believed there was a threat on my life." 

Nel:"So, once again we shouldn't blame you for the fact that you shot her?"

Pistorius: "I agree with Mr. Nel."

Nel: "Can we blame Reeva? She didn't tell you she is going to the toilet."

Pistorius: "No."

Nel: "We have to blame someone. Can we blame the government?" 

Pistorius: "I don't know who one should blame."

Nel: "We can't blame you for having shot and killed Reeva?"

Pistorius: "I believed there was someone coming out to attack me."

Nel: "Who should we blame for the Black Talon rounds ripping through her body? Who shot her with Black Talon ammunition?"

Pistorius: "I did."

Nel: "Why did you have that ammunition?"

Pistorius: "It's ammunition used for my type of firearm."

When court adjourned for tea, Pistorius's sister Aimee walked up to the witness-box where she hugged her brother.

He smiled at her and wiped an eye using his fingers.

"Why did she leave her jeans inside-out?"

Pistorius said he rammed the door with his shoulder and tried to kick it open.

"You did all that knowing the door opened inside out?" prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked him.

"Yes, my lady," Pistorius answered, directing his answer to Judge Thokozile Masipa.

Pistorius explained that he wanted to get the door open.

He claims to have mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder, and that the shooting was an accident.

Pistorius said as he tried to get the door open, he still had his loaded gun in his hand.

He could not explain why he had not put it down.

Nel also questioned why Steenkamp's jeans were found inside-out in Pistorius's bedroom that morning.

"Why did she leave her jeans inside-out?" Nel asked Pistorius.

"Did she not take it off quickly and not have time [to turn it the right way round]?" Nel asked.

Pistorius said he did not know why Steenkamp had left her jeans that way.

On Monday, the court heard that Steenkamp was a very neat person.

All the clothes she had taken to Pistorius's home had been neatly placed in her overnight bag, except for her jeans and a pair of slip-slops found next to Pistorius's bed.

She was wearing shorts and a top on the morning she was killed.

"Why would you fire at the magazine rack, because it had nothing to do with the door?"

Oscar Pistorius's claim that he heard "movement" in his toilet before shooting into it was scrutinised in his trial in the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday.

In his bail application statement Pistorius said "I heard movement inside the toilet", Nel read to the court during the paralympian's cross-examination.

On Monday Pistorius said this was a "wood movement" which he first said was the door scraping against the frame, but then said was made by the magazine rack in the toilet cubicle.

Pistorius is charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse on February 14 last year. He shot her through the locked door of his toilet, saying later he mistook her for an intruder.

"Why use 'movement' and not 'noise', if it was wood?" Nel asked.

"Why would you fire at the magazine rack, because it had nothing to do with the door?"

"I didn't have time to interpret," Pistorius replied.

Judge Thokozile Masipa told him to raise his voice.

"Why would you fire at the magazine rack?" Nel asked him.

"I thought it was the door opening. In retrospect it could only have been the magazine rack," Pistorius said.

Nel again said Pistorius was tailoring his version to match the facts he was being presented with.

"You are constantly thinking of your version," Nel said.

"If you were so convinced of the window sliding open and slamming into the other window, why would you not put that in the bail statement?"

Paralympian murder-accused Oscar Pistorius is tailoring evidence on the noise he heard in the toilet the night he shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Monday.

"The noise was hard. The sliding of the window and it hitting the window frame -- it was clear," Pistorius said describing the noise he heard on the night.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel questioned Pistorius on why he did not mention the noise in his bail application if he was so certain about it.

"If you were so convinced of the window sliding open and slamming into the other window, why would you not put that in the bail statement?" he asked.

Pistorius responded: "I said I heard a noise.

"My bail was done by my legal team and it was read to me in my holding cell... I was on medication..."

He said he was tired and in shock at what had happened.

Nel responded: "You see Mr Pistorius -- tailoring.

"I'm still concerned... you did not say you heard it open -- that's tailoring."

Get the f**k out of my house: Oscar Pistorius

"I said: ‘Get the f**k out my house, get the f**k out!’" that's what an emotional Oscar Pistorius told the High Court in Pretoria he had shouted in the early hours of February 14 last year before he had shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The Paralympian said he had shouted out these words while making his way down the passage from his bedroom towards the bathroom where he had heard, what he suspected, was the sound of an intruder on that fatal morning.

He said that his pistol had been drawn at the time.

Pistorius then broke down in tears and court was adjourned to allow him to recover.

Earlier in the morning, prosecutor Gerrie Nel had told the athlete that the theme of day 22 of the trial would be Pistorius's "tailoring" of his evidence and his refusal to make concessions in the face of facts that were put to him and which did not suit his version of events.

Under Nel’s cross-examination, Pistorius could not explain why Steenkamp's stomach contents indicated that she had eaten shortly before her death.

The Blade Runner maintained that the couple had eaten shortly after 7pm on the night of February 13, eight hours before he fired the shots that killed her. He did however accept that Steenkamp might have eaten while he was asleep.

Pistorius was also unable to satisfy Nel with his explanation of why there were blood splatters on the duvet lying on the floor and on the carpet of his bedroom floor.

"I'm not trying to buy time. I'm simply saying it as it is"

"You have to create time. You have to, on your version, build in a time gap for Reeva to go into the bathroom," prosecutor Gerrie Nel said while cross-examining the athlete.

Murder-accused paralympian Oscar Pistorius has to create time in his version of when his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp got out of bed and went to the toilet, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Monday.

"You have to create time. You have to, on your version, build in a time gap for Reeva to go into the bathroom," prosecutor Gerrie Nel said while cross-examining the athlete.

"That's not correct my lady," Pistorius replied not looking at Nel, but speaking directly to Judge Thokozile Masipa.

"I'm not trying to buy time. I'm simply saying it as it is."

"I pick up you're not sure a lot... Is everything OK?"

After receiving several "I'm not sure" answers from murder-accused Oscar Pistorius on Monday, prosecutor Gerrie Nel checked on him.

"Today I pick up you're not sure a lot... Is everything OK?"

"Yes, my lady," Pistorius said, directing his answer to presiding Judge Thokozile Masipa.

Nel presented a picture of Pistorius's bedroom to the court.

He turned back to the statement of a police officer who said that when he had entered Pistorius's bedroom, he noticed that a fan was placed close to the sliding door.

In the picture, however, the fan was placed next to the bed.

Nel asked Pistorius why his lawyer Barry Roux, SC, had not disputed this fact.

"I'm not sure why, my lady," Pistorius said.

"The only reason is because it was never your version," Nel said in response.

"When I feel strong enough, I'll go there to ask him one thing: 'Why? Why did you kill my lovely Reeva?"

"I feel sure I will know the truth when I stand in front of him and demand an answer. I want to do that for my daughter."

The father of Reeva Steenkamp intends attending the murder case against Oscar Pistorius to look the paralympian in the eye, The Star reported on Monday.

"When I feel strong enough, I'll go there to ask him one thing: 'Why? Why did you kill my lovely Reeva?" Barry Steenkamp was quoted as saying.

"I feel sure I will know the truth when I stand in front of him and demand an answer. I want to do that for my daughter."

The Star published an interview by the UK-based Daily Mail, which also spoke to Reeva's sister, Simone, who said the family wanted to know the truth.

Barry Steenkamp had not been to court since the trial started early March.

His wife June has returned to the High Court in Pretoria each day for the trial.

Pistorius is accused of killing Steenkamp at his home on Valentines Day last year. He claims he mistook her for an intruder.

Oscar supporters stand strong

A banner proclaiming "We'll Stand By You" against a background of glittering stars, flanked by two photographs of a smiling Oscar Pistorius, adorn a blog set up in support of the murder accused.

The first post on supportforoscar.wordpress.com is a link to a video tribute to Pistorius. It is a slide show of various images of the paralympian with children, holding baby cheetahs and smiling broadly, accompanied by pop group Westlife's rendition of "You Raise Me Up".

It ends with an image of Pistorius in a hoodie, and the words "I am only human" above the Nike logo.

On Sunday, supporter Lynn posted the lyrics to the song "Make you feel my love".

Posted on the same day, Christine Van Zyl wrote to Pistorius: "When I go to bed and wake up my thoughts are with you and I shudder to think what you going through... know that Jesus has already paid the price."

Nina Chohan posted to Pistorius that "my heart is crying for you," while Vuyo tells him: "It's always darkest before dawn, chin up Ozzie".

Pistorius' supporters have a lot to say about prosecutor Gerrie Nel, who has reduced the "blade runner" to tears on several occasions since he started cross-examining him in the High Court in Pretoria on Monday.

He is accused of the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14 last year. He shot her through the locked door of his toilet, apparently thinking she was an intruder about to come out and attack him.

Jason declares Nel is "wayward and cruel hearted". Shakila Naidoo brands him "heartless". Anita from the United Kingdom classifies him as "a man enjoying his position of superiority with the sickening glee of a Greek arena spectator".

To Lorinda de Beer Roets he has a "devilish coconut head". Joan Lesley from Sydney, Australia says his cross-examination has been a "ghoulish ambush".

The blog has a number of sketches of the athlete. One depicts him with a diamond in the sky and the lyrics of a Rihanna song.

Another image shows the athlete as a baby, then a young man running, then as a cheetah jumping through a mirror, and finally with his hands clasped in prayer.

Another slide show from Christmas remains on the blog. It has various messages the athlete was sent over the festive season, including one that implores him to be like the donkey Jesus's mother Mary was travelling on, on the way to Bethlehem.

"At Christmas have the patience of the little donkey, all will be well," reads the slide.

In one graphic Oscar's face has been superimposed on a Christmas tree bauble and in another his blades have been turned into giant candy canes.

Oscar's fan makes him emotional

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius cried in the High Court in Pretoria on Friday, saying he was going through a difficult time.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel was cross-examining the athlete on where items in his bedroom were the night he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through a locked toilet door in his Pretoria house.

Pistorius said a fan in his bedroom was not where it was photographed on a picture shown in court. He said he did not remember bumping or kicking the fans on his way to the bathroom.

Pistorius became emotional after Nel said his explanation of what happened before the shooting did not make sense.

"Mr Pistorius, are you okay, are you emotional," Nel asked.

Pistorius: "If I kicked the fan, it would be in my favour to say I did, but I can't remember."

Nel: "Why are you getting emotional?"

Pistorius: "It's a difficult time for me."

Nel: "But why would this question make you emotional?"

Pistorius: "This is a person I cared about. I don't know how people don't understand that."

Nel asked for an adjournment because Pistorius was "clearly distressed" and needed time to compose himself.

Reeva's jeans under spotlight

The exact positioning of Reeva Steenkamp's jeans in a photograph after she was shot dead by Oscar Pistorius came under the spotlight in his murder trial in the High Court in Pretoria on Friday.

Pistorius has alleged that police tampered with the scene after he killed Steenkamp in his toilet, saying he thought he was shooting at an intruder.

He has already said that a fan, discs and curtains had been moved and watches were stolen from his bedroom, allegedly by police on the scene after the shooting on Valentine's Day last year.

Pistorius testified that he picked up a pair of Steenkamp's jeans which were on the floor to cover the blue LED light on his Pioneer amplifier which was bothering him, after he had woken up.

He heard a window slide open in his bathroom, said to Steenkamp "in a soft tone" to call the police and to "get down" as he approached the bathroom with his gun in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year.

Later, when he had fired four shots he realised he had shot Steenkamp. She died in his home.

His counsel Barry Roux SC had earlier painstakingly taken the court through hundreds of photographs taken by Warrant Officer Barend van Staden, pointing out discrepancies and items the defence believed had been moved.

Pistorius was shown a picture of Steenkamp's jeans taken after the shooting. He had insisted that the duvet had been on the bed and it had been moved to the floor.

Van Staden has testified that he found the duvet on the floor and after taking initial photographs, later opened it to photograph blood spatter he had observed.

As the court grew quieter, with people leaning forward to not miss a word, Nel asked Pistorius if the jeans, as seen in the photograph, were where he had left them, why were they on the duvet?

"There is one big problem. That denim is lying on the duvet," said Nel.

"I don't perceive that, My Lady," said Pistorius, saying the angle of the photograph made it look like the jeans were on top of the duvet.

Nel said that in a close up it could be seen on the top portion of the duvet.

"I'm saying it doesn't fit my version of what happened, My Lady."

The only possibility was that the police moved it, suggested Nel.

"As they did with many other things, My Lady," said Pistorius.

"I received a request from Mrs Steenkamp to inform me through her advocate that Mr Pistorius requested a meeting, but they are not yet ready."

"I received a request from Mrs Steenkamp to inform me through her advocate that Mr Pistorius requested a meeting, but they are not yet ready."

Nel said he was told this after Thursday's adjournment and that he was mentioning this for the court record. He then continued his cross-examination of Pistorius.

It was not clear exactly when Pistorius requested the meeting.

On Thursday, Nel asked Pistorius under cross-examination why he did not meet the family in private after shooting dead his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, instead of making a public apology while in the dock.

Pistorius is accused of the murder of the model and law graduate in his Pretoria house on February 14 last year. He shot her through the locked door of his toilet, apparently thinking she was an intruder about to come out and attack him.

Steenkamp's mother June has been in court with her advocate Dup de Bruyn. Her father Barry has been too ill to attend proceedings.

Oscar's responsibility failure dominates

Most of the online conversation about the Oscar Pistorius murder trial on Thursday was dominated by prosecutor Gerrie Nel's accusations that Pistorius failed to take responsibility for his actions.

This was according to media monitoring group Data Driven Insight (DDI).

DDI said in the 24 hours ending at 4pm on Thursday, this topic dominated online conversation at 26.85 percent.

Another topic of interest was American musician Kendrick Lamar's song "B*tch don't kill my vibe," which the court heard caused a fallout between Pistorius and his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

She was reportedly upset after the song was played while she, Pistorius and his friend drove from a function.

Steenkamp sent Pistorius a message where she wrote that she was "not some b*tch" that was trying to kill his vibe.

A total of 16.23 percent of the online chats around the trial were based on this point.

At 10 percent, the third most conversed about topic came from Pistorius's "I don't know" responses which he gave to several of the questions posed to him by Nel.

Pistorius was on trial for the murder of Steenkamp after he shot her dead through a locked bathroom door at his house on Valentine's Day last year.

He alleged to have mistaken her for an intruder.

According to DDI, while fresh signals being possibly detected from the missing Malaysian plane made world headlines, Pistorius's trial generated more coverage.

Comparing the two stories, Pistorius's trial received 97.68 percent of the news coverage while the missing Malaysian airplane received 2.39 percent.

Globally, the United States gave the trial the most publicity, followed by Australia, and the United Kingdom.

The data was compiled from 6.2 million social media platforms which included blogs, forums, social networks and commentary.

It also included data from 60,000 global online newspapers, 2000 South African print publications and 66 radio and television stations.

Oscar's bed-time story

Murder-accused paralympian Oscar Pistorius insisted on Thursday he did not see his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp get out of bed moments before he shot her dead.

"I don't know how she got up out of bed," Pistorius told the High Court in Pretoria.

Later he said: "I don't know when she got out of bed, My Lady."

He said his back was facing the room, which was "pitch black" after he had brought a fan in and closed his specially made black-out curtains.

He had spoken to her moments earlier with his head in his hands, but had not looked at her when he woke up in the early hours of Valentine's Day.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel had wanted to know how Pistorius managed to spot a pair of Steenkamp's jeans lying on the floor in that darkness but did not see her.

Pistorius explained that the light was from the LED light emitted by the amplifier in his room.

According to his earlier testimony, he was about to cover the amplifier light with the jeans after neither he nor Steenkamp could sleep.

When he was about to cover the amplifier, he heard a noise and, on his version, he had grabbed his gun, and fired four shots through the toilet door thinking there was an intruder.

"So your finger just accidentally shot when you started shooting accidentally at the intruder?

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel worked hard to paint a picture of Paralympian Oscar Pistorius as a narcissistic, negligent gun owner who refused to take responsibility for his actions.

It is the twentieth day of Pistorius's trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, whom he shot in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year.

Nel began by reading WhatsApp messages between Pistorius and Steenkamp to demonstrate that Pistorius's attitude in arguments with his girlfriend was defensive, self-justifying and focused on his own needs rather than hers.

"Everything is about Oscar, Oscar, Oscar," Nel told Pistorius.

Nel then moved on to an incident in which a gun went off at Tasha's restaurant in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg last year.

Nel told Pistorius that if the gun passed to him by his friend Darren Fresco had a safety mechanism, this meant that a shot could only go off if the trigger was pulled and Pistorius must have had his finger on the trigger and pulled it.

Pistorius refused to admit that he had pulled the trigger and was unable to explain how the gun had gone off. He would not, however, take responsibility for the gun going off, although he admitted it had been in his possession.

Nel used this as another example of what he claimed was Pistorius's absolute refusal to take responsibility for his actions.

Pistorius also told the court that he had heard that his ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor and friend Darren Fresco had communicated with each other before testifying to an incident in which he is alleged to have fired a shot through a car sunroof while driving back from the Vaal River.

Pistorius denied that he ever fired the shot and referred to the incident as a "complete fabrication".

When Nel asked him who had told him of this collusion, Pistorius replied: "I don't remember," prompting laughter from Nel and the gallery, who were sternly reprimanded by Judge Thokozile Masipa.

In the last moments before the lunch adjournment, Nel returned to the events on the day of Steenkamp's shooting, asking the athlete if he had intended to shoot whomever he believed was behind the door.

Pistorius maintained that he had not and that what had happened had been an accident.

"So your finger just accidentally shot when you started shooting accidentally at the intruder?" Pistorius, close to tears and looking tired and emotional, told the court that he was confused by Nel's use of the word “accident”, saying that he had been fearful and had not had time to think about his intentions when he fired the gun.

B*tch don't kill my vibe: Oscar trial 

Reeva Steenkamp was upset by the words of a song being played while driving with her boyfriend Oscar Pistorius, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Thursday.

"The words of the song upset her," said Pistorius, who is on trial charged with her murder.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said the song was "Bi*ch don't kill my vibe" by American musician Kendrick Lamar.

After what Pistorius had described as not a good day in their relationship, Steenkamp wrote that she was "not some bitch" that was trying to kill his vibe.

Nel said: "Anybody would have taken offence to it."

Nel was picking apart a WhatsApp message Steenkamp sent Pistorius after an engagement party in which she raised some issues that had arisen during the day.

One of these was the way they related to each other over the changing of the song while the CD was playing as they were driving.

Nel said that Pistorius's response to Steenkamp as she raised her concerns was that it was all about him.

He humiliated her by telling her to stop tickling his neck.

He disagreed that telling her to chew gum would have been humiliating to her.

He said that his poor behaviour after being left out of a conversation was that "it didn't involve me" and he had not been afforded the "common courtesy" of an introduction.

"You see, you're blaming her for what happened. 'She should have introduced me to him, she was wrong'."

In the same vein, Pistorius had blamed Steenkamp for not just leaning forward to have the Lamar song changed.

"It was such a small thing that she could have just leant forward to change it," he said.

Gerrie Nel dots all the 'I's..

"Thank you Mr Pistorius. I've now got three I's. I had training. I had to go to lunch. I had plans," Nel told Pistorius during his cross-examination of the murder accused.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel sought to portray paralympian Oscar Pistorius as a selfish individual in his relationship with Reeva Steenkamp, in the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday.

"Thank you Mr Pistorius I've now got three I's. I had training. I had to go to lunch. I had plans," Nel told Pistorius during his cross-examination of the murder accused.

He was analysing a WhatsApp message Steenkamp sent to Pistorius in early 2013 after the couple had attend the engagement party of their mutual friend Darren Fresco.

In her message she mentions that he accused her of flirting with someone else, and said he "made a scene at the table".

Pistorius said he had to leave the party early as he had training the next day.

"She knew that I had training... I didn't know that she wanted to stay longer," Pistorius said.

Nel replied: "It's all about I. It's all about Mr Pistorius."

"The words "I'm sorry I killed your daughter" were never in your apology." - Nel

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel read out an extract of Pistorius's apology to the Steenkamp family from Monday and said: "The words 'I'm sorry I killed your daughter' were never in your apology."

Murder accused Oscar Pistorius told the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday he was "terribly sorry" that he killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel read out an extract of Pistorius's apology to the Steenkamp family from Monday and said: "The words 'I'm sorry I killed your daughter' were never in your apology."

Breaking down, Pistorius said: "I'm terribly sorry that I took the life of their daughter."

Nel responded: "Now you say it."

Nel asked Pistorius if he wrote down his apology. The athlete said no.

Steenkamp's mother June was in court with her lawyer Dup du Bruyn, a friend, and Steenkamp's cousin.

Thursday was day 20 in his murder trial and his fourth day on the witness stand.

Day four of Oscar in stand - Sapa

A journalist sprinkled salt on her boiled egg and another uncoiled an extension cord as people in court GD waited on Thursday for the fourth day of Oscar Pistorius's testimony at the High Court in Pretoria.

Various police officers who had testified for the State in the paralympian's murder trial arrived in court, including ballistics expert Captain Chris Mangena.

Captain Francois Moller, who had previously testified about the data he downloaded from the iPhones of Pistorius and his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, did his tie.

Pistorius is accused of the murder of Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse on February 14 last year. He shot her through the locked door of his toilet, apparently thinking she was an intruder. She was struck in the hip, arm and head.

A picture of a female rhino and her calf was displayed on the screens around the court, where on Wednesday a photo of Steenkamp's bloodied head had appeared.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel had tried unsuccessfully to force Pistorius to look at it, in an attempt to have him state responsibility for killing Steenkamp.

Nel came into court through the side entrance at 9.15am and began arranging his files on his desk.

Pistorius entered a few minutes later and stood in the witness box talking to a grey-haired woman who hugged him.

Pistorius is also charged with contraventions of the Firearms Control Act. He allegedly fired a shot from a Glock pistol under a table at a Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013.

On September 30, 2012 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

 

- For breaking updates from the courtroom on Twitter, follow @oscarstrial

COMMENTS [ 234 ]

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maneater

a trial which is expected to last at least three weeks. =============================================== well who wants to bet three weeks will become three years this is SA justice system!! the marikana commission is still going on as we speak and we are nowhere near finalisation. these international press better make long bookings at hotels/ B and B's

Mar 03, 2014 11:4 | 7 replies

OmoT

Then Oscar had better start to campaign for funding. The papers say his lawyer doesnt get up for less than 50K a day. Oscar will be destitute.

Mar 04, 2014 9:58 | 0 replies

Touch2020

@OmoT - Mr Pistorius's family has got interests in more that 125 international companies. Money to them is a child's play.

Mar 04, 2014 10:33 | 0 replies

Baboro

OmoT - Not to worry, he's on Legalwise

Mar 05, 2014 4:38 | 0 replies

Tpaz!!

Legal-wise pays up to R120k, that is two and half days worth of Barry Roux work.

Mar 18, 2014 8:27 | 0 replies

marshk

I basically make about $6,000k-$8,000k a month online. It's enough to comfortably replace my old jobs income, especially considering I only work about 10k-13k hours a week from home. This is how to start>......>> www.works7.com ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Mar 25, 2014 6:0 | 0 replies

Mapholobakay1

This should be wrapped up quickly, Oscar has just hanged himself with his testimony. Girlfriend was awake when he went to collect fans, he shouted at "intruders" (So Reeva was all quite inside the toilet when he shouted?), after firing the shots there was no more "danger" and he went looking for her in bed. What a lot of cr@p.

Apr 09, 2014 8:58 | 0 replies

jamboree56

It was Valentines Day and I bet he proposed and she said "No" and he could not hold his anger and thought if I cannot have you no-one will. He has a temper and could not control it. He said he whispered to her to phone the police..............DOH..........wouldn't you first see if she was awake..........blatent lie..........it is a cover up, yes he is upset because he misses her and loved her but he was not man enought just to walk away when she rejected him. Would not be surprised if there was an engagement ring hidden somewhere that she rejected. They should check his bank account for payments to a jewellery store. HE DID IT INTENTIONALLY!! All very well he is there telling the so called story but poor Reeva cannot tell us what really happened. What a waste of a beautiful lady who did not live to get married, have children etc. So sad!!

Apr 09, 2014 11:46 | 0 replies
Mar 03, 2014 11:27 | 0 replies

MOHURUTSI

It was not clear if she was in court to bring another application but during Pistorius's bail hearing last year, she told the court that Pistorius had to be taken for mental evaluation and be assessed for 60 days by independent psychiatrists. She would not give her surname at the time, saying she was uncertain as she was previously Riethmiller and also previously Versfeld – “ex-wife of Oscar’s orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Gerald Versfeld”. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is an extract from another newspaper. This woman is as insane as Oscar. She needs to be committed herself.

Mar 03, 2014 11:37 | 1 replies

Pitso.MCCMA.SAFA

@Dezl: Fighter,Oscar this and Oscar that will not help you to avoid the deep political depression as the results of limping AGANG. Dzel you can do better my broer. I know you are capable to mobilise political facts to bring about solutions. The issue of Oscar to me is tantamount to Arms deal,Nkandla, Mthethwa killing saga,etc. So, the cases are the results of poor leadership which infected our so called justice system. To deal with all raised issues we need to amend our political landscape,because those are the results of politics. So go back to politics if you are serious about bring soluions to justice system. Make contribution to articles of politics. We cannot afford to lose a potential narrator like you due to the epilepsy of AGANG.

Mar 10, 2014 11:4 | 0 replies

TheRealMsKinks

Mistake is firing 1 shot............. 4 shots is murder (finish & klaar). How thoughtful/loving of you Oscar that after shooting "the intruder", you went to check up on them in the bathroom and carried them down the stairs (on your stumps)

Mar 03, 2014 11:57 | 8 replies
Mar 03, 2014 1:24 | 0 replies

Whiz

MsKinks, that's why he said it was a tragic accident. He tried to save her life.

Mar 03, 2014 1:54 | 0 replies

TheRealMsKinks

Whilst relaxing in bed..... someone steps on your python once is a mistake but stomping on it wth 6inch stilletos is GBH

Mar 03, 2014 2:6 | 0 replies

Whiz

MsKinks, LOL

Mar 03, 2014 2:15 | 0 replies

cdek

I agree!!

Mar 04, 2014 10:14 | 0 replies

Baboro

I don't trust this Oscar, even if it was one shot chances are he would've said it was suicide..

Mar 05, 2014 4:29 | 0 replies

DJ-Winner

Hi friendo...

Mar 11, 2014 7:57 | 0 replies

RubberLeggs

Pistol is a professional liar, he lied about his feet and the world was convinced that, he doesn't have legs, Rubberleggs know about this, Pistol had a Paralympic torch to verify if the person from the bathroom was not Reeva, and he says the torch battery was flat...? I mean only a retards can keep on listen to this kind of drivel...

Mar 12, 2014 3:56 | 0 replies

MasheleJ

Friggin' SAFM with no 12h00 news bulletin - friggin' Pistoius trial...

Mar 03, 2014 12:4 | 0 replies

lamolath

Go goleng gaka ke tseba motho wa mogolofadi o se wa swanela go dira metlae ka yena,goba go modira setlaela,bakwata ka pela and ge ba kwatile baka go direla kotsi,Go ya kanna Reeva o be a thomile go se safa Oscar attention ka go bona Modeling and Movie career ya gage e thoma go gola..oscar oile a kwata go fitixa tekano a mmolaya.

Mar 03, 2014 12:24 | 1 replies

TheRealMsKinks

Oscar did not make Reeva famous......... she was famous in her own right

Mar 03, 2014 1:43 | 0 replies

Pelo-ya-ntja

Can someone wake me up when this is over "#YAWN"

Mar 03, 2014 12:39 | 1 replies

Baboro

Wakey.! wakey.! It's over......only for today..

Mar 05, 2014 4:31 | 0 replies

mnyobe

but really what is the job of these ANCWL fat cows?

Mar 03, 2014 12:40 | 1 replies

MthimbanaT

The hippos main job description is to eat

Mar 19, 2014 10:31 | 0 replies

Com-tsotsi

@Mnyobe that is a very good question you posing.The ANCWL is the most irrelevant league of the ANC followed by the Youth League.But then again the whole National Liberation Movement is starting to be irrelevant

Mar 03, 2014 12:56 | 0 replies

BrothaX

These courts seem to enjoy wasting people’s resources (time and money). A simple “Did you kill Reeva Steenkamp” question that only require a Yes or No answer should have been asked to speed up the trial.

Mar 03, 2014 12:58 | 9 replies

MOHURUTSI

The thing is in law every crime has elements that need to be proved. That is why a case goes to court even when there is what looks like apparent evidence.

Mar 03, 2014 1:18 | 0 replies

MommaC

Pistorius isn't denying that he killed her - he is denying that it was premeditated murder!

Mar 03, 2014 1:25 | 0 replies

D-zel_1.0

Well the question was asked, every court case begins with that question and it is called to plead. A criminal case is something different altogether where all facts, evidence, testimony, eyewitness accounts, etc are submitted and tested to the to the truth. Your question leaves a lot to be desired my friend.

Mar 03, 2014 1:44 | 0 replies

oldlady12

Dzel, interesting thing I saw on TV news last night. Our law does not allow for intruders to be shot willy-nilly. One must make very sure that the intruder is armed and threatening your life before you may shoot. You may eg not shoot an intruder armed with a knife, 5m away from you, because he is no direct threat to your life.

Mar 03, 2014 1:51 | 0 replies

D-zel_1.0

True but not entirely. The law says you can only use proportional force to protect yourself and your family so a knife wielding man inside your house is a threat whether you are 5m or 10m meters away because a knife is a deadly weapon. You cannot however shoot an unarmed person but even then you can still win the case; take an example where the intruder is a 150 kg godzilla and the person being attacked is 70 kgs skinny individual, as soon as he comes for you it is reasonable to conclude that you are being attacked and the attack could end up being fatal. Basically you can still argue the point and win, it depends on the threat being real and that one had a reasonable expectation that the force used was going to be fatal i.e. your life is in danger as one can be killed using only bare hands. This is why it is important to get a good lawyer who can get around these technicalities. In my view any stranger inside your house should be fair game as their intentions will never be good but this law was intended for cases where you find a defenceless 16-year-old inside your house for example; in this case there are no valid grounds to shoot him dead.

Mar 03, 2014 2:5 | 0 replies

oldlady12

Dzel, the important part I got out of it is that you cannot shoot an intruder you haven't seen at all through a closed door. That would be murder. Right?

Mar 03, 2014 2:41 | 0 replies

D-zel_1.0

OL. For one to pull the trigger the threat to one’s life must be real, it mustn’t be perceived and it must be a realistic threat. When you cannot see the threat through a door then you cannot claim self-defence nor can you claim the use of force was proportional. Another important fact is when Oscar fired those four shots his intention was to kill, he may argue it was not to kill Reeva but he intended to kill whoever was behind the door so that takes care of an important aspect of the crime. Even if he were to prove he shot her as a result of mistaken identity a life has been lost, there was intent to kill and the perceived threat turned out to be a phantom threat so he is in trouble. Do not expect Oscar to walk out of this a free man, the charges are very serious whatever his version is.

Mar 06, 2014 9:33 | 0 replies

oldlady12

Dzel, thx. That's what I thought.

Mar 06, 2014 12:15 | 0 replies

Pitso.MCCMA.SAFA

@Dezl: Fighter,Oscar this and Oscar that will not help you to avoid the deep political depression as the results of limping AGANG. Dzel you can do better my broer. I know you are capable to mobilise political facts to bring about solutions. The issue of Oscar to me is tantamount to Arms deal,Nkandla, Mthethwa killing saga,etc. So, the cases are the results of poor leadership which infected our so called justice system. To deal with all raised issues we need to amend our political landscape,because those are the results of politics. So go back to politics if you are serious about bring soluions to justice system. Make contribution to articles of politics. We cannot afford to lose a potential narrator like you due to the epilepsy of AGANG.

Mar 10, 2014 11:6 | 0 replies

Saint-Click

You can cut the tension inside that courtroom with a "blade".. Oscar has no "leg" to stand on..

Mar 03, 2014 12:59 | 1 replies
Mar 03, 2014 1:44 | 0 replies