Pistorius trial: Charl Johnson faces scrutiny

Neighbour Charl Johnson provided long explanations which opened him up to more scrutiny.

Oscar Pistorius looks on during the fourth day of his trial at the High Court in Pretoria on 6 March 2014. Picture: Pool.

PRETORIA - Day four of the Oscar Pistorius murder trial has started in the High Court in Pretoria, with the athlete's defence questioning how the state's witness Charl Johnson knew what his wife said during her testimony in court.

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Johnson and his wife Michelle Burger, who was the state's first witness, live near Pistorius's home and claim to have heard screams and gunshots the day Reeva Steenkamp was killed.

Defence advocate Barry Roux has strengthened his argument that the couple drafted their statements together to incriminate the athlete.

Johnson was still under cross-examination before the court adjourned for a tea break.

He claimed to have heard screams followed by shots, the same version provided by his wife.

But Johnson remained adamant he did not discuss his wife's statement or testimony with her.

He said he wanted to give a neutral account of events.

Roux has put it on record that Burger had destroyed her notes so the only evidence in this regard are Johnson's notes.

Johnson noted that the screams didn't sound like fighting, but distress calls for help.

Roux said his interpretation is designed to incriminate Pistorius and he's desperately trying to extricate his wife from the version detailed in the notes.

Roux says this is far removed from his earlier testimony that his wife's musical talent enables her to count exactly four shots.

Roux said Johnson's notes coincided with that of two police officers in March last year.

The notes were never handed into the investigating officer who took down Johnson's statement, but Roux has highlighted that the wording in both statements was almost identical.

Roux also suggested Johnson's interpretation had been designed to sideline and incriminate the accused.

Roux also questioned Johnson's credibility.

Johnson read from the third draft of notes he made, "I did not count the number of shots fired but my wife recalls four or five shots."

EWN video: A 3D look inside Oscar's house.

He then volunteered a very long explanation to questions by Roux.

Roux argued that Johnson's long explanations were an effort to try and justify the discrepancies in his notes and testimony.

"We will prove with evidence that the noise you heard coincides absolutely with the breaking down of the door."

Johnson said he found it difficult to believe the noises were of the bat hitting the door, considering the time it takes to swing a bat.

His long explanations tied him up and opened him up to additional scrutiny.

EWN video: Guns and neighbours.

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