Laughter at Pistorius trial angers Judge

Judge Thokozile Masipa issued warnings to both legal sides and the public for bad behaviour.

Judge Masipa issued warnings to both legal sides and the public for bad behaviour during the Oscar Pistorius trial.

JOHANNESBURG - Judge Thokozile Masipa has, for the first time during the Oscar Pistorius murder trial, issued warnings to both legal sides and to the public.

She also stepped in during prosecutor Gerrie Nel's relentless cross-examination of the 'Blade Runner'.

Nel has accused Pistorius of lying and adapting his version of events when he shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp and the 'bull terrier' spent Thursday trying to prove that the athlete did not take responsibility for his actions.

Oscar Pistorius arrives at the High Court in Pretoria ahead of his murder trial on 10 April 2014. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

Pistorius is on trial at the High Court in Pretoria for shooting dead his girlfriend Steenkamp at his Silver Woods home on Valentine's Day last year.

Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp at the SA Sports Awards on 4 November 2012. Picture: AFP.

The 27-year-old also faces gun-related charges in connection with two separate shooting incidents, one from a moving car and another at a crowded Johannesburg north restaurant.

In addition, he faces a charge of the illegal possession of ammunition.

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

Thursday marked day 20 of the trial.

Judge Masipa stopped proceedings when she heard laughter from the public gallery, which followed one of Nel's questions to Pistorius.

"I also want to say something to people out there; you possibly think this is entertainment. It is not. So please restrain yourselves."

She also reprimanded Nel for laughing at Pistorius's answer.

State Prosecutor Gerrie Nel arrives at the High Court in Pretoria ahead of Day 20 of Oscar Pistorius's murder trial on 10 April 2014. Picture: Christa van der Walt/EWN.

Later she told defence advocate Kenny Oldwadge that it was "not proper" to make comments about Nel's cross-examination without standing up to make a formal objection.

But it proved to be a less emotional day for the murder accused himself, who is likely to spend several more days on the witness stand.


The 'Blade Runner' faces a fifth straight day on the stand in the High Court, trying to prove his version of events the night his girlfriend died is not a conspiracy theory and fending off Nel's relentless attacks.

Pistorius spent his second day under cross-examination disputing Nel's accusation that his entire version of events is a lie.

The 'bull terrier' has questioned why police officers, who were at Pistorius's house, would have tampered with evidence before knowing what his version was.

The main themes Nel explored was Pistorius's alleged inability to take responsibility for his actions and the question of whether he would have seen his girlfriend climbing out of bed.

Nel asked Pistorius whether he believed that police officers purposefully opened his bedroom curtains, moved his fan and threw his duvet on the floor before taking the first crime-scene photographs.

"It's the strangest day today. You just don't take responsibility for anything. You just don't do anything wrong. You know, anyone would say it's wrong, why can't you do that?"

He accused Pistorius of adapting his version and using well-rehearsed phrases like "I had no time to think".

Nel asked, "Is this one big conspiracy? Why is it that they would do all this to you?"

Pistorius responded, "I'm not sure I follow the question my lady."

Nel rephrased, "Why would the police do all this?"

Nel also turned the athlete's not guilty pleas relating to the gun charges against him, accusing him of refusing to take responsibility, even for smaller mistakes.

After two attempts and dozens of varying questions, Nel has yet to get a straight answer from Pistorius about what it was he intended doing with his firearm on the night he killed his girlfriend.

Pistorius has claimed police tampered with the crime scene, his friends lied and his defence team gave him poor legal advice.

And while the athlete told the court he can remember pulling the trigger, he insists it was an accident.

"I didn't intend to shoot. My firearm was pointed at the door because that's where I believed that somebody was. When I heard a noise, I didn't have time to think and I fired my weapon."

But he stumbled when pressed to explain what exactly he meant.

"My lady I'm getting confused with the 'accidentally' and 'not accidentally'. When I try and explain myself, I am told to either say it was an 'accident' or not."

Nel did not get a straight answer and is expected to explore this line of questioning again today.