Pistorius 'changes his defence'

Nel said the accused seemed to change his defence from self-defence to involuntary action.

Murder accused Oscar Pistorius. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

PRETORIA - State prosecutor Gerrie Nel has accused Oscar Pistorius of changing his defence from self-defence to involuntary action while giving evidence in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

Nel, who is also known as the 'bull terrier', has today continued his relentless cross-examination of the Paralympic and Olympic athlete, repeatedly accusing him of tailoring his evidence.

The 27-year-old is accused of murdering Reeva Steenkamp at his Silver Woods Country Estate home in Pretoria East on Valentine's Day last year.

He 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.

Pistorius also faces a charge of illegal possession of ammunition.

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

Nel asked, "Is it your defence that you fired at the attacker? At the perceived attacker?"

Pistorius said it was not his defence that he fired at the perceived attacker.

Nel then interrogated Pistorius on what exactly was his defence, whether putative self-defence or involuntary action.

Pistorius could not come to a conclusion and Nel fired up more.

"So that is your new defence? Involuntary action? You can only have one defence Mr Pistorius! And yours is changing too many times, and that's because you fired at Reeva!

Upon hearing this, Pistorius broke down and, almost screaming, said, "I did not fire at Reeva!"

With this, he began vomiting and the court was adjourned.

His psychologist went to him and escorted him out of the court along with his brother Carl and sister Aimee.

When they returned, Nel told Pistorius he became emotional because he got his defences mixed up.

Pistorius said, "When in the bathroom I screamed at the intruder to get out."

Nel asked whether he shouted at Steenkamp.

Pistorius testified on Friday that when in the bathroom he shouted at the intruders to get out and for Steenkamp to call police.

Nel asked, "You never screamed, 'I am armed and I'm going to shoot'."

Pistorius answered no and Nel asked why.

The athlete responded, "I was worried that if I told them I was armed that they might act more violently".

A picture was then shown of a view of the inside of the toilet cubicle from above.

Nel asked Pistorius, "The first shot hit Reeva in the hip. She fell on the magazine rack. You changed your aim and shot at it."

Nel moved on to the grouping and Pistorius said it was not very good grouping at all.

"My ballistics expert had not discussed the sequence of the bullets with me."


The state prosecutor asked, "At the time, you were shouting at the intruder to get out. How would they get out?"

The accused responded, "Out of the window? I wasn't thinking."

The 'Bull Terrier' said that would be a problem for Pistorius, hat he wasn't thinking, which roughly translated to the fact that he was reckless.

"One of the ways out was through the door, but you never gave them a chance."


Earlier, Pistorius described his fear when in the bathroom, considering what could happen to him and Steenkamp.

"I then heard a sound like wood moving, like the door was being opened."

Nel wasted no time and interrogated him on this sound.

Pistorius continued, "As I heard the noise I fired. I fired before I could see the door. I did not see the door or the handle move."

He said his arm was still not extended and he was not aiming at the door.

After a quick interrogation by Nel, Pistorius changed his version and said he was aiming at the door and the firearm was pointing at the door.

"I did not want to shoot. I didn't have time to think."


When court resumed after the tea break, Pistorius was questioned on why he got emotional about screaming "get the f*** out of my house."

The athlete said he was terrified.

Nel asked, "Isn't it because that is what you were screaming at Reeva - "get the f*** out of my house?"

Nel asked what exactly Pistorius said to Steenkamp.

"You just whispered to her, why start shouting now?"

Pistorius responded, "I was now in a safe place between the intruders and Reeva. I hoped this intruder would think that there is someone else in the house calling the police."


The athlete said he never extended his arm, but rather kept it close to him so no one could grab his firearm.

Nel said he was amazed at this additional thought process.

Pistorius said the firearm was never pointed in the same direction and moved as he moved.

"I edged my way along the cupboard to the point where I could see into the bathroom. I peered into the bathroom to check whether someone was waiting to ambush me, and then stepped back."

Nel said Pistorius forgot to mention that the door slammed.

Pistorius objected, but Nel insisted that Pistorius did not mention the door slamming.

The athlete disagreed and was adamant he spoke about the door slamming.

Pistorius said he heard the door slam shut after he screamed for Steenkamp to call the police.

The prosecutor repeated the question.

Pistorius then said it was while he was screaming that he heard the door slam.

The prosecutor said "There's not a single mention of the door being slammed in your bail application or in your plea explanation and it was such a significant noise."

Pistorius could not explain why it was not contained in his bail application.

Nel said Pistorius invented this and it was not included in previous statements because he never told his defence team.

In his bail statement, Pistorius stated he realised someone was in the toilet because the door was closed and no one was in the bathroom.

When asked about this, he couldn't explain why this significant sound was not included in any of his statements.

Nel said the reason was that Pistorius was tailoring his testimony.

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