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'Post-mortem will support Pistorius’ claims'

Oscar Pistorius' lawyers say post-mortem results will show he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder.

South African Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius appears in the Pretoria Magistrate Court on 20 February 2013. Picture: AFP.
Reeva Steenkamp,Oscar Pistorius shoots girlfriend,Oscar Pistorius in court,Oscar Pistorius family,Hilton Botha
Local

PRETORIA - Oscar Pistorius' defence team on Wednesday said post-mortem results will support his claim that Reeva Steenkamp slipped in the bathroom shortly before he mistook her for an intruder.

Police arrested Pistorius at his Pretoria East home on February 14, for allegedly murdering his model girlfriend.

The “Blade Runner” is applying for bail in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court.

On Tuesday, Pistorius (26) said he believed Steenkamp went to the bathroom while he was outside collecting a fan from his balcony. 

He said when he returned, he heard noises in the bathroom, investigated and fired the shots.

The state disputes this, saying the couple fought and Steenkamp hid in the bathroom where he eventually killed her. 

Defence advocate Barry Roux said the post-mortem showed her bladder was empty.

He said that was consistent with someone going to the bathroom, considering it was at around 3am in the morning.

Investigating officer Hilton Botha conceded that, adding that Pistorius' version was consistent with evidence at the scene.

WITNESS ACCOUNTS ‘UNRELIABLE’

Botha testified that a witness, who claimed to be one of the Olympiad’s neighbours, gave a statement saying she heard screams before several gunshots were fired. 

But under cross-examination, said the woman could not specifically identify Pistorius or the slain model as the people screaming. 

The witness testimony was dismissed as “unreliable and unsubstantiated”.

Roux said the witness was merely having trouble sleeping that night.

Botha further conceded that another witness heard eight shots being fired, despite only four cartridges being found.

OSCAR A FLIGHT RISK?

Pistorius is being charged under schedule six offences of the Criminal Procedure Act, which means his lawyers will need to prove exceptional circumstances for his release and that Pistorius is not a flight risk.

Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair questioned why the Paralympian athlete would risk skipping bail, considering his identity is well known internationally.

Botha said he believed Pistorius was a flight risk and said he had heard the famous athlete had property in Italy.

But Roux placed it on record that that was not true.

He also dismissed Botha's claims that the athlete had offshore bank accounts. 

Nair asked Botha whether he truly believed Pistorius, with his recognisable prosthetic legs and face, would be able to run.

When Botha said “yes”, people in the gallery laughed under their breath.

SUPPORT FOR OSCAR

Friends and family returned to court to support Pistorius, who again appeared inconsolable during proceedings.

Businessman Kenny Kunene also attended proceedings.

He spoke to journalists shortly after the hearing was adjourned.

“I will remain a friend. If he calls upon me to help him, I will do so.”

Kunene said he hopes Pistorius is granted bail.

“Only his family, friends and faith is helping him.”

Final arguments will be heard on Thursday, before the magistrate makes his decision.

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