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Pistorius told 'snowball of lies,' says prosecution


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South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has been accused of being a "deceitful witness" who told the court a "snowball of lies", at the start of closing arguments in his trial for murder.

 

Mr Pistorius denies murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

 

He says he mistook her for an intruder, but the prosecution says he deliberately shot her after a row.

 

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel began his concluding remarks on Thursday, with the defence due to follow on Friday.

 

Ms Steenkamp was killed at Mr Pistorius' home in South Africa's capital, Pretoria, on 14 February last year.

 

His long-running trial was adjourned last month ahead of closing arguments.

 

At the court in Pretoria, Mr Nel began his closing argument by accusing the athlete's lawyers of presenting two lines of defence that "can never be reconciled".

 

Mr Pistorius said he had fired both involuntarily and also out of fear, Mr Nel argued, insisting the court had to choose only one of his defences.

 

He said the court "should have no difficulty in rejecting" the athlete's version of events because it was "devoid of any truth".

 

Mr Pistorius told so many lies in such a short space of time, Mr Nel said, that they had a "snowball effect" and forced him to tell more.

 

He also attacked Mr Pistorius for presenting himself as "a victim of circumstance."

 

Mr Pistorius' estranged father, Henke, was in the packed courtroom for the first time during the trial. It was also the first time that Barry Steenkamp, Reeva's father, had attended.

 

Showdown

 

The BBC's Karen Allen in Pretoria says Mr Nel is seeking to build a picture of a man who knew the consequences of his actions.

 

The defence team has sought to portray Mr Pistorius as vulnerable due to his disability and anxious because of his difficult childhood in a country with a high crime rate.

 

But Mr Nel said the athlete had anxiety "on call", suggesting that he had manufactured a fear of crime to help his defence.

 

Last month, a psychiatric report said Mr Pistorius had post-traumatic stress disorder but no mental illness that could prevent him being held criminally responsible for his actions.

 

Judge Thokozile Masipa, a subdued presence in the trial so far, had been expected to intervene more in the closing statements and perhaps provide hints about a future verdict

 

But the BBC's Africa correspondent, Andrew Harding, says she rarely interjected in Thursday morning's proceedings.

 

Oscar Pistorius' lawyer, Barry Roux, will give his closing remarks after Mr Nel, in what correspondents say is the final showdown between two of South Africa's top legal minds.

 

Judge Masipa is expected to adjourn the trial after hearing the arguments to consider her ruling, a process that analysts say will take in between a week to a month.

 

There is no jury.

 

If found guilty of murder, the 27-year-old, who went on trial on 3 March, could face life imprisonment.

 

If he is acquitted of that charge, the court will consider an alternative charge of culpable homicide, for which he could - if convicted - receive about 15 years in prison.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-28684109

 

Has to be a verdict of culpable homicide at the very least surely, if not murder and perhaps reduced on appeal.

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Followed quite a bit of it and I have to say that I will be amazed if he escapes the murder rap. His whole defence was so implausible that it bordered on the surreal at times.

 

For me the most implausible thing is that he claims he didn't know that she wasn't in the bed when he went to the bathroom with the gun. Surely if you here a noise and think there is an intruder then the first thing you do is make sure (a) you know where your girl friend is and (b) you make sure she is safe?

 

I think it's blatantly obvoious that he waited for her to go to the bathroom then went and deliberately shot her.

Edited by BrahimHemdani
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I have been riveted to this all morning. I can understand the not premeditated bit as she dismissed all the whatsapp stuff etc by saying that relationships are unpredictable but how she got to:

 

"How could the accused reasonably have foreseen that the shot he fired would kill the deceased?" she said.

 

"Clearly he did not subjectively foresee this as a possibility, that he would kill the person behind the door, let alone the deceased as he thought she was in the bedroom at the time."

 

Since according to her he wasn't aware of the likely outcome of his action, he couldn't be guilty of murder. She says he didn't shoot at the door intending to kill, or knew someone might be killed and still fired gun; but why else do you fire four shots from a gun through a door at alleged intruders unless you are intending to kill?

 

But she also pointed out that he didn't check that Reeva was in the bed and said that he wasn't going to use the gun to hit someone over the head (he had the cricket bat for that!). He could have called security before going with the gun, he could have gone on to the balcony and called for help, he could have called the police, but did none of the above.

 

Then she went to say in assessing culpable homicide that she wasn't pesuaded that a reasonable person with the same disabilities would have fired four shots and also that a reasonable person would have foreseen the consequences. He acted without taking precautions, he acted too hastily and unreasonably (by firing 4 shots) therefore he was negligent. So it seems certain she is going to find him guilty of culpable homicide.

 

If he acted unreasonably inasmuch as he didn't consider the consequences of his actions I don't understand how she could hold that he couldn't or shouldn't have reasonably foreseen that the shot he fired would kill the deceased.

 

She stopped 15 mins after lunch I think because she has told his counsel the verdict and given him overnight to consider whay he'll say in mitigation, call for reports etc.

 

He's going to be found guilty of the firearm offences too, I'm pretty certain.

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