Pistorius trial: Forensics expert cross-examined

Colonel Johannes Vermeulen is being cross-examined by the defence team.

Colonel Johannes Vermeulen demonstrates how Oscar Pistorius might have used a cricket bat to break down the door through which he shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp in February 2013.

PRETORIA - Questions over whether Oscar Pistorius was on his stumps or his prostheses when he bashed down a toilet door with his cricket bat have emerged in his murder trial.

The bathroom door from Pistorius's Silver Woods Estate home has been brought into the court as an exhibit where the crime scene has been recreated.

During cross-examination, advocate Barry Roux has tried to cast doubt on the fact that Pistorius would be able to bash the door while on his stumps.

Barry Roux. Picture: Pool

"Tell the court, now that you're back in the dock, what happened to you when you lifted your feet just to be on your knees."

Vermeulen responded, "I lost my balance."

Roux then asked him if he could hit the door.

The forensics expert said he didn't know if he could but added that he didn't grow up without legs.

He argued that if the athlete could shoot a gun on his stumps, he could also wield a bat.

Roux started by questioning Vermuelen about his qualifications, and he responded that he was not a tool mark examiner, but had other qualifications.

Roux also argued about the preservation of the crime scene and said there were additional marks on the door which weren't present last Valentine's Day.

The defence advocate has been granted a short adjournment to ensure that Vermeulen's voice is recording properly while he speaks at the bathroom door which has been brought into court.


The state has erected a one-to-one scale model of the toilet cubicle and also fixed the actual door to the model.

Pistorius denies he killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in cold blood, saying he mistook her for an intruder.

Vermuelen has shown that the athlete was probably on his stumps when he hit the toilet door with his cricket bat.

The colonel studied marks found on the toilet door and the cricket bat, confirming that the damage was linked on each item.

He said the height on the door was consistent with Pistorius being on his stumps at the time.

Pistorius claims he first put on his prosthetics and tried to kick down the door before collecting the bat.

Oscar Pistorius arrives at court on 12 March 2014. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

Vermuelen was at times on his knees simulating what would have happened.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department says the trial has not adversely affected any other cases due to take place in the High Court in Pretoria.

The trial is taking place in courtroom GD, but an extra overflow room has been allocated for journalists and members of the public due to the immense interest around the case.

The judicial spokesperson Lulama Luthi said, "This matter was planned months earlier and the court space allocations were done accordingly. The court is functioning fine."

Get all the latest developments on the EWN Oscar Pistorius portal.