Oscar Pistorius murder: kak-handed policing and an empty bladder
OSCAR Pistorius Murder Trial: The police are in the dock.
Under questioning, Detective Hilton Botha changed the details of his testimony. The copper was the first policeman on the scene.
Botha arrived at the house at 04:15 on 14 February. He found Steenkamp already dead. She was dressed in white shorts and a black vest and was covered in towels.
A lawyer and Mr Pistorius’s brother were already there.
Botha admits to walking through the crime scenes without feet covers. This is not good form.
He says Pistorius should not be granted bail because he is flight risk. Botha said the shots that hit Reeva Steenkamp were at an angle: that suggest Pistorius did have his false legs on. The runner says he did not. He says:
“I believe that he knew that Reeva was in the bathroom and he shot four shots through the door.”
He says the holster for Mr Pistorius’ 9mm pistol was found by the bed. He argues that this means Pistorius knew Steenkamp was not in the bed. The runner says he did not.
Botha says witnesses had heard screams and shots. He says the witnesses were around 600m away. After lunch, that became 300m. Did they identify the shouters as Pistorus and Steenkamp. No.
Botha said he had found two boxes of “steroids” in Pistorius’s bedroom. This became “two boxes of testosterone, needles and injections”.
Barry Roux (defending) said it was a “herbal remedy” called testo-compositum co-enzyme used by many athletes, insisting: “It is not a steroid and it is not a banned substance.”
Lab tests have yet to confirm what it was.
Jury trials were scrapped more than 40 years ago because all-white juries were seen as unlikely to give black defendants a fair trial. A single judge is considered less susceptible to public opinion or media comments
So the South African media is more free to report details about the Oscar Pistorius case than the media in many other countries where such reporting would be seen as prejudicial.
Botha said ammunition for a .38-calibre weapon had been found at the house but Pistorius did not hold a licence for it. “Did you take steps to find out who the owner of the ammunition was?” Roux asked. Botha replied: “No, I didn’t.” He also acknowledged that his investigators did not take photographs of the ammunition and allowed Pistorius’s friends at the scene to take the cartridges away.
The Key Exchanges
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel: “I have to ask it. If she [Steenkamp] was in the toilet and she heard her boyfriend shout, would she have answered?”
Mr Botha replied: “Yes.”
Mr Botha: “You hear a noise and then you don’t get your girlfriend, to protect her.”
Defender Barry Roux says that Steenkamp’s autopsy failed to reveal any signs of defensive wounds, or assault.
He asks whether there is anything he found that is inconsistent with Mr Pistorius’s version of events. Mr Botha says he did not.
Karyn Maughan, of eNCA tweets: “Roux is destroying Botha. This is like watching a baby seal getting clubbed.”
The defence lawyer is saying that an autopsy of Steenkamp revealed that she had an empty bladder. “Isn’t that consistent with going to the toilet?” he asks. He says that usually at 3am you wouldn’t find an empty bladder. Mr Botha agrees.
Does your bladder empty when you are shot?
Journalists have been “screaming, elbowing and even fainting” to get into the hearing, according to Rohit Kachroo of ITV. City Press, in South Africa, said that a crowd of over 100 journalists pushed to get through the secutity check. An accreditation system appeared to have been abandoned, so journalists “were left pleading at the court room entrance … to be allowed the seat they had already secured.”
He is a man in deep trauma and it is hard, regardless of what he did or did not do, not to feel and respond to his anguish.
Such are the facts…