Pistorius's defence pokes holes in 'poor quality' of Botha's testimony

Oscar Pistorius at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court. (Siphiwe Sibeko, Reuters)

Oscar Pistorius at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court. (Siphiwe Sibeko, Reuters)

Oscar Pistorius's lawyer advocate Barry Roux spoke of the "poor quality" of the investigating officer, Botha, and said on Thursday there were shortcomings in the state's case.

Roux pointed out that if Pistorius wanted to kill Reeva Steenkamp he would not need a locked toilet.

"He could do it anywhere," he said, rejecting not only the murder charge sought against him but also that it was premeditated as the state has alleged.

Pistorius is charged with murdering Steenkamp on Valentine's Day. He denied this in an affidavit, saying he thought there was an intruder in the house when he shot into the toilet she was in. Here is a recap of what we know so far.

  • A post mortem showed Steenkamp's bladder was empty, consistent with a person getting up early in the morning to go to the toilet. "There is no evidence that the applicant knew it was Reeva in the toilet," said Pistorius's counsel advocate Barry Roux.
  • It stated that Steenkamp spent the night at Pistorius's, indicating a "loving relationship". Every preamble in the charge sheet did not support premeditated murder either, he said. Roux added the onus was on the state to prove murder and intent to murder, and it had fallen "far short" of doing this. Pistorius also gave the same version of events to his sister, Aimee. The charge sheet itself does not mention premeditated murder, just murder, continued Roux.
  • Pistorius told Sarie he owned a house in Italy, contrary to his lawyer's denial, state prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the court. Nel said Botha called him and asked him if he read the magazine. "What do we do about that, Mr Roux?" Nel asked Roux. Roux insisted Pistorius did not own a house, and said: "He knows about perjury." Nel pressed on, reading from the glossy women's Afrikaans magazine in support of the state's opposition to bail on the grounds he was a flight risk. He said a mayor had given the house to Pistorius, who practised in Italy for four months a year. The mayor offered to build him a place after he made a speech there in 2010.
  • The court heard that four cellphones, which had not been used for a long time, were found at the scene. The police had later found out about a fifth cellphone. The police have not yet obtained the cellphone records and itemised billing of Pistorius and Steenkamp. "I thought it would be handed to me, but it [wasn't]," Botha told Magistrate Desmond Nair, in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court. Nair kept asking why it had not yet been done. Botha said the people he gave the cellphones to would have notified him if there was anything very important on them but they had not. The magistrate complained there seemed to be a lack of urgency in getting the records. 
  • Botha himself has weathered a morning of controversy, after it emerged that he faces attempted murder charges for allegedly shooting at a taxi during a police chase. Nair, who had to have Botha called to appear, took him through a summary of the initial evidence collected after Steenkamp was shot last Thursday.
  • Botha has said he intended presenting statements that there had been fighting at the house.

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