Pistorius's witness grilled as trial takes two-week break   2014-04-18 04:43:55            

By Thuso Khumalo

PRETORIA, South Africa, April 17 (Xinhua) -- The trial of murder-accused Paralympian Oscar Pistorius continued at the Pretoria High Court on Thursday with defence witness Roger Dixon, a qualified geologist still under cross examination, just before the trial took a two-week break.

Pistorius is charged with murdering his girl friend Reeva Steenkamp on the 14th of February 2013. He shot Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door at his home in Pretoria on Valentine's Day last year. Pistorius says he mistook her for an intruder but the state argues that he murdered Steenkamp following an argument.

State Prosecutor Gerrie Nel continued tearing down Dixon's credibility, arguing that he is not an expert in the fields of pathology, sound, light and ballistics that he had testified on.

While Pistorius told the court that the magazine rack was not near Reeva when he broke down the toilet door to get to her, Dixon said it was just next to where Reeva fell.

"So whatever the accused is saying, you're saying he is wrong?" Nel asked Dixon.

In response Dixon emphasized the contradiction, "When the deceased fell, the magazine rack was there," Dixon responded.

It also came out that Dixon failed to ensure that the tests he made to ascertain the amount of light in Pistorius's room and the sequence of the gun shots, were done under similar conditions to those that prevailed on the night when Reeva was killed.

He also admitted that he did not use any scientific instrument to test the amount of light, but only relied on his eyes.

Dixon told the court, "We switched the lights on and off, drew the curtains and looked at the room in various levels of illumination my lady."

When he recorded the sound of the gun and cricket bat in a scene he had reconstructed at a shooting range, he used music producers and admitted that he was not sure if they amplified the sound or not.

"If the sound engineer boosted something on his system to ensure a clean recording, I don't know to what degree it would have been," he said in court.

Ulrich Roux, a legal expert, said Dixon's testimony on fields that are not within his expertise have dented his credibility.

"The first thing that he did wrong was he professed his knowledge on so many different fields and you cannot give an expert opinion on things you are not even properly qualified on," Roux said.

Roux also warned that Dixon might have done more damage than good to Pistorius's version of events.

He said, "In my opinion his version will be rejected both on ballistics and the post-mortem findings and the versions of the state witnesses will be accepted."

Earlier, Judge Thokozile Masipa had to demonstrate that she is still in charge of the over three-week trial when it came out that there was commotion in the overflow court accommodating mostly the members of the public and some media personnel.

She warned, "Something disturbing has come to my attention. I believe the people in GC are unruly. They climb on top of the benches, cheer, boo and do what they like. I don't want to have to hear this again."

The trial was adjourned to May 5 when the defence is expected to bring its fourth witness.

Editor: yan
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