/ 10 April 2014

Pistorius: Media would’ve lied about Tasha’s incident

Oscar Pistorius.
Oscar Pistorius.

Paralympian and Olympian Oscar Pistorius asked his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp not to mention him allegedly firing a gun in a restaurant because the media would print lies, the high court in Pretoria heard on Thursday.

"Angel please don't say a thing to anyone," prosecutor Gerrie Nel quoted from a WhatsApp message Pistorius sent to Steenkamp. Nel was cross-examining the athlete.

Pistorius is charged with the murder of Steenkamp and three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act. He allegedly fired a shot from his friend Darren Fresco's Glock pistol under a table at Tasha's, in Johannesburg, in January 2013. The restaurant was full and there were children at the next table at the time.

Nel asked him why it was important for Steenkamp not to mention the Tasha's shooting. "I didn't want to be in the media for having a firearm in my possession in a restaurant," Pistorius replied, avoiding looking at Nel.

Nel suggested to Pistorius that he actually tried to shirk responsibility.

Pistorius: "It was a mistake on my behalf and I didn't want it to be taken out of context."

Nel: "You just thought the media would print lies?"

Pistorius: "That's correct."

'Never scared'
Later on Thursday, Oscar Pistorius told the court in Pretoria that Steenkamp was never scared of him.

"No, My Lady, Reeva was never scared of me, My Lady," Pistorius said, replying to a question from prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

Nel had spent much of Thursday focusing on four WhatsApp messages, out of 1 700 with Steenkamp, which showed disagreements with Pistorius.

In one she said she was sometimes scared of him and that he snapped at her. Pistorius said he may have snapped at her but he had never shouted or screamed at her.

Although he had the gun in his hand when it went off and had a firearm competency certificate, he has pleaded not guilty to the restaurant-related charge. Nel called this a "miraculous" discharge and said Pistorius just asked his friend Fresco to take the blame, again not taking responsibility for his actions.

"My athletics is my job," said the track star. "People read things and interpret things. So I didn't want this to be any where near the media."

Nel said: "So you see, that is a good example of you not taking responsibility." Pistorius said he had offered to pay for damages to the restaurant owner, and that this was taking responsibility. – Sapa