Pistorius trial: Collection of evidence questioned

The competence and conduct of the police’s crime scene investigators and experts was slammed by Barry Roux.

Oscar Pistorius. Picture: Pool.

PRETORIA - Revelations of crime scene tampering emerging in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius appear to have put the police on trial, as a former senior officer was called to explain bungling.

Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp a year ago and police were called to explain how the evidence was gathered at his house.

Picture: Carte Blanche.

However, what was supposed to be the routine collection of evidence turned into a major point of attack for the defence.

The competence and conduct of the police's crime scene investigators and experts have been slammed by defence advocate Barry Roux.

He managed to show the court how some of the crime scene photos taken on the morning of the shooting were of evidence that had been tampered with.

This includes the white cellphone former Boschkop police station commander Colonel Schoombie van Rensburg said he couldn't find because it was covered by a towel, but was clearly visible in the scene photographs.

Earlier van Rensburg told the court he opened a theft case because two of Pistorius's wrist watches were stolen while forensic personnel were searching the house for clues.

He also described the police's ballistic expert handling the firearm without any gloves on.

The officer in question apologised.

CRIME SCENE ACCESS

Van Rensburg said an inventory of items in the house was not made, but he controlled access to the scene and deployed his detectives to monitor the access.

He said, "By the next day [Friday] the newspapers were calling and offering up to R60,000 for pictures of the bathroom door."

Picture: Pool.

Van Rensburg said the door was the most valuable exhibit on the scene as the deceased was behind it when she was shot dead.

"We removed the door and put it in a body bag. I took control of the exhibit and signed for it. It was kept in my office which is secure as I am the only person with a key."

The former colonel said the door remained in his office until 28 February 2013 and during that time, no one tampered with it.

"On 18 February, we broke the seal in the presence of the defence team as they wanted to view the door."

Picture: Pool.

He said the defence team took photos, and then wanted to remove the door from the bag to establish the height of the bullets.

"I declined this request as the purpose of sealing it was to open it in a controlled environment."

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

An EWN video of the state's case vs the defence.