Pistorius lawyer launches counter-attack

Adv. Barry Roux embarked on an uphill battle after the state picked apart the athlete’s testimony.

Oscar Pistorius arrives in court. Picture: Christa Van der Walt/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The defence in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial on Tuesday launched a counter-attack after five days of scathing cross-examination by prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

The 27-year-old athlete is accused of murdering model Reeva Steenkamp at his luxury Pretoria East home on Valentine's Day last year.

Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp. Picture: Carte Blanche.

He also faces gun-related charges for two separate shooting incidents, one from a moving vehicle and another at a northern Johannesburg restaurant.

The athlete also faces a charge of illegal possession of ammunition.

A screenshot from the Sky News report shows Oscar Pistorius practicing with a gun. Picture: Sky News video

He pleaded not guilty to all charges on the first day of his murder trial in the North Gauteng High Court on 3 March.

The police's handling of the bedroom and bathroom has come under scrutiny with a forensic geologist saying leaving shoe prints at a crime scene is "most unprofessional".

Roger Dixon took the court through Steenkamp's last moments, calling into question sections of the police investigation.

"Let's talk about the possibility of correctness of captain [Christian] Mangena's evidence," Nel said.

Dixon answered, "I don't know exactly if she [Steenkamp] was sitting on the magazine rack exactly. I can't see it happening."

But Dixon did admit that it was difficult to recreate the crime scene.

Roger Dixon is pointing out the various cricket bat marks on the door during the Oscar Pistorius murder trial on 15 April 2014.

Shooting a bullet through the door will never give you the exact same result because of the structure of the door, the wood grain, variations in angles and force.

Dixon says he conducted his own tests to establish whether the sound of a bat hitting a Meranti door sounds anything like a gunshot.

Defence advocate Barry Roux asked that the recordings of these tests be played in court.

He embarked on an uphill battle after Nel picked apart Pistorius's version of events.

Roux argued that the noise some neighbours believe were gunshots were in fact the bat hitting against the door.

While the sound was convincing, it will still be subject to the prosecutor's cross-examination.

Nel was scathing when he closed his cross-examination of the 'Blade Runner' earlier in the day.

"I'm putting it to you Mr Pistorius that your version is not only untruthful, but it's so improbable, that it cannot be reasonably, possibly true."

The prosecutor said the court will find the athlete's version improbable.

He argued Steenkamp ate about two hours before she was killed, argued with Pistorius, wanted to leave the house and then ran into the toilet fearing for her life.

Nel insisted Pistorius knew the Port Elizabeth model was behind the door when he opened fire.

But when re-examined by Roux, Pistorius told the court he did not consciously pull the trigger but that he honestly believed that he was about to be attacked.

The Olympian and Paralymian said he feared for his life and opened fire without thinking.

He told the court he couldn't be blamed for the shooting, but could be blamed for taking Steenkamp's life.

Video: Pistorius's version improbable.

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