Questions remain as state closes Pistorius case

The athlete's attorney says they’re still deciding whether to call him to testify.

Oscar Pistorius during his murder trial at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on 24 March 2014. Picture: Pool.

PRETORIA - While Oscar Pistorius's defence team contemplates which of the state's unused witnesses it intends calling, the biggest question they're probably grappling with is whether to call the accused to testify.

The state wrapped up its case against the Paralympic and Olympic athlete in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria this afternoon after more than three weeks of testimony.

When questioned whether he would take the stand on Friday, Pistorius told reporters that it's been a tough time and his team still has a lot ahead of them.

Attorney Brian Webber says they're still deciding whether to call the athlete to testify.

Should Pistorius testify, he would for the first time in his own words recall what happened that fateful morning, but it would also give state prosecutor Gerrie Nel an opportunity to cross-examine him.

It's understood the defence may bring an application to have Pistorius testify after their other witnesses, a move the state will likely oppose.

Defence advocate Barry Roux asked for a postponement on Tuesday so he could consult the witnesses which the state did not call.

Nel did not object to this request, saying it would only be fair the defence had an opportunity to prepare.

Judge Thokozile Masipa postponed the matter until Friday morning.

Pistorius's family appeared relieved as they left the courtroom, hugging each other and smiling.

The state lined up 107 witnesses for the trial, but only a fraction testified.

The 27-year-old athlete shot the model through a toilet door at his Silver Woods Country Estate home in Pretoria East in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year.

He denied the murder charge, claiming he believed he was protecting himself and Steenkamp against an intruder who had broken into his upmarket home.

Pistorius also faces gun-related charges in connection with two separate shooting incidents, one from a moving vehicle and another at Tashas restaurant in Melrose Arch, north of Johannesburg.

He pleaded not guilty to all charges on the first day of his trial on 3 March.


While the state wrapped up its case, two key mysteries remain.

It is still not clear what was found on the 'Blade Runner's' iPhone taken to Apple's headquarters in California in the United States.

Prosecutors also haven't explained what happened to former lead investigator Hilton Botha.

Police spent thousands of rands on air tickets for three police officers to personally escort an iPhone to Apple's headquarters after a lengthy application for mutual legal assistance through diplomatic channels.

Hawks cellphone expert Captain Francois Moller would only say on record that the phone was first analysed in South Africa, then taken to the United States, before further analysis in South Africa.

Botha was initially expected to testify about his findings at the scene, but was perceived as a liability by the state.

The officer is accused of contaminating the crime scene by not wearing foot covers.

Botha was sacked from the high-profile murder case after Eyewitness News last year revealed he faced seven charges of attempted murder.


It was another emotional day for Pistorius as heartfelt messages between him and Steenkamp were read out in court.

Moller, who analysed the phones, retrieved thousands of messages sent between the couple during their three-month relationship.

On Monday, he read out a series of messages detailing arguments and disagreements between Steenkamp and Pistorius in the weeks leading up to the deadly shooting.

The intimate messages told a story of a relationship marred by jealousy, arguments and double-standards.

A screenshot of a Whatsapp image sent from Reeva Steenkamp to Oscar Pistorius. Picture: Twitter via @Debora_Patta.

In sharp contrast to the messages that were read out in court yesterday, Roux on Tuesday highlighted a number of messages that revealed tender exchanges between Pistorius and Steenkamp.

Roux argued Moller only highlighted the arguments they had, which had all been resolved.

He established that Moller found only four argumentative conversations among the 1,700 messages between the couple.

A chart was used at the High Court to reveal phone call analysis between Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp.

He then read out several messages where the two affectionately referred to each other as "boo" or "baba".

Roux even showed the court CCTV footage taken from a convenience store, which shows Steenkamp and Pistorius picking items to purchase and then kissing in the middle of the shop.

Steenkamp also sent Pistorius a message expressing how much she valued her relationship with him and even offered to cook for him on Valentine's Day last year.

Roux also showed the court that WhatsApp messages between the two from the day before had plenty of affection in them.

His line of questioning pointed out that if the state believed showing some messages involving fighting had any relevance, then so should messages involving love and affection.

During Roux's cross-examination, Steenkamp's mother June who was seated in the public gallery, was seen wiping her face.

Her friend, who was crying, put an arm on her shoulder.

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

View the live blog and listen to live audio streaming from the trial.