Oscar Pistorius must be found guilty as his testimony was “devoid of truth”, a South African court heard today.
Prosecution lawyer Gerrie Nel presented his closing statement to Judge Thokozile Masipa today and claimed that the athlete’s legal team had presented two possible defences that “cannot be reconciled”.
He said that the defence, led by Barry Roux, had claimed that Pistorius did not have criminal capacity in the heat of the moment but if the court finds that he did, then he acted in self-defence. Nel went on to slam the defendant’s “weak performance” at the trial, adding that “there was no perceived intruder whatsoever”.
He recalled that Reeva Steenkamp was found fully clothed with her mobile phone and said that the circumstantial evidence as a whole formed “a mosaic of proof” that Pistorius deliberately shot the model through the bathroom door.
He added that the athlete was not firing in panic but instead, aiming carefully at the person behind the door and that his testimony to the Pretoria court had been “vague” and “argumentative”.
“This can in no way be seen as anything but untruthful. The accused did not present himself as someone striving to give a truthful version… but more concerned with the implications than the truth.”
Nel also questioned why Pistorius deactivated his security alarm and went downstairs to charge his phone after shooting Steenkamp, saying these actions either showed that “he had a plan” and was not panicking, or that he was lying and the alarm was still on as he and Steenkamp were still awake and having an argument at the time of her death.
He closed his testimony by saying that even if Pistorius’ version of events were true and he shot through the door at a suspected intruder, the verdict would still have to be murder as he “must have known he was likely to kill the person behind it” and there was no suggestion that his life was under threat.
Barry Roux then began his closing argument, pointing out “material mistakes” in the State’s evidence and highlighting that evidence from a psychologist spoke of “two Oscars” – one a vulnerable and fearful person with a disability, the other a confident Olympic hero.
He also claimed that items at the scene of the crime were moved by police following Reeva’s death and said that a pair of the model’s jeans pictured on the bedroom floor showed inaccuracy in the State’s version of events.
“If it’s the State’s case that the couple were downstairs at 1am, eating and arguing, how does that fit with the state’s argument that she “hurriedly” got rid of her jeans and fled to the toilet?”
Roux will conclude his statement tomorrow, before Judge Masipa and her two assessors will retire to consider a verdict. It has been suggested that this could take up to a month and if found guilty of pre-meditated murder, Pistorius could receive a life sentence, with 25 years before he would be considered for parole.
According to The Guardian, he could also be found guilty of manslaughter or culpable homicide if the judge believes Pistorius’ claim that he did not mean to kill Steenkamp, but decides he acted recklessly or negligently in firing into the locked door.
Alternatively, Pistorius could be acquitted if the judge believes that he genuinely feared for his life and thought he was acting in self-defence.
The athlete is also accused of two counts of discharging firearms in public, and another of illegal possession of ammunition.