‘You lied’: Prosecution rips Pistorius on stand


On the third day of cross-examination, prosecutor Gerrie Nel tried to chip away at Oscar Pistorius’ version of events the night he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home on February 14, 2013.

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On Friday, Nel brought up two events prior to Steenkamp’s death — an incident in “2009 or 2010” in which, according to Pistorius, an unknown person fired at his car while on the highway, and a 2012 incident where Pistorius said he was allegedly confronted and assaulted by soccer star Mark Bachelor. No charges from that incident were ever filed.

Nel then turned his attention back to the night of the shooting, and grilled Pistorius about his different choices: Why he didn’t ask Steenkamp whether she heard a suspicious noise, why he chose to arm himself and approach the toilet as opposed to remove himself from the perceived intrusion, and why he didn’t check on Steenkamp before he went to investigate the noise.

At one point, Nel charged that the Olympic sprinter was dishonest in his recounting of the events, particularly the sequence in which he told police he moved his jeans and a duvet. Nel said that in court he had changed his story.

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On your version, you had it in your hands and you dropped it. And if that is the way it was on the day, you lied,” Nel said.

Judge Thokozile Masipa admonished the prosecutor for such strong language.

Pistorius was once again emotional on the stand. During the cross-examination, the judge had to order a short adjournment for Pistorius to collect himself, and after three hours of testimony, as Pistorius was getting emotional again, Nel requested that court be adjourned until Monday morning.

‘Lots of mistakes’

Friday’s cross-examination included the exchange below, in which Pistorius is grilled by Nel, the prosecutor. Pistorius answers each question, with a “my lady,” a courtesy directed at the judge although it is in reference to Nel’s queries.

Nel: [Referring to the fact that Pistorius claims he deactivated his alarm to investigate a suspicious sound the night of the shooting.] “You said, ‘Before I left my room to go downstairs, to open the door, ‘I deactivated my alarm.’ You didn’t say ‘must have,’ you said as a fact.

Pistorius: “That’s correct, my lady, I made a mistake. I should have said ‘must have’… as I don’t have an independent recollection.”

Nel: “Why would you make a mistake like that, because you just want to answer Nel’s questions? You just want a way out? Why would you make such a mistake?”

Pistorius: “I do want to answer Mr. Nel’s questions, my lady, it’s not that I want a way out, it’s just that it makes sense to me, I must have deactivated the alarm, if I say I deactivated the alarm, that’s what makes sense to me.”

Nel: “The problem here is, Mr. Pistorius, you spontaneously gave the answer. And that spontaneous answer cannot be interpreted in the way that you want the court to interpret it now. It’s impossible. ‘Must have’ was never said. Why are you changing your evidence?”

Pistorius: “It was a mistake on my behalf, my lady.”

Nel: “We get lots of mistakes this morning, Mr. Pistorius.”

Pistorius: “I’m tired my lady, I’m sorry if I got the wrong word.”


‘You lied’

Nel: [Discussing how items in Pistorius’ bedroom were moved, specifically a pair of jeans and a duvet. Pistorius contends police moved some of these items.] “And now a year later, and nobody knew that you did something with the jeans. Why would the police do that?”

Pistorius: “As i said, I don’t know, my lady.”

Nel: “But, on your version, you had it in your hands and you dropped it. And if that is the way it was on the day, you lied. About the duvet. ”

Judge Masipa: [Later] “Before you proceed please, Mr. Nel. Mind your language — you don’t call a witness a liar. Not while he’s in the witness box.”

‘It’s because it’s not the truth’

Nel: [Referring to Pistorius admitting he did not wait for a response from Steenkamp before leaving the bedroom to investigate the sound] “What I don’t understand is why you wouldn’t make sure why Reeva is fine before you storm off.”

Pistorius: “I was in a panic.”

Nel: “It’s because it’s not the truth.”

Pistorius: “That’s incorrect.”

‘I am tired, it’s not going to change’

Nel: [After hours of questioning] “If you’re tired and you want time, we will discuss it with your legal team.”

Pistorius: “My lady, it’s not that I want time. It’s that I’m tired. I’m going to be tired… I don’t need time. I am tired, it’s not going to change.”



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