State concludes submission of heads of argument in murder trial of Pistorius   2014-08-09 04:18:24            

By Thuso Khumalo

PRETORIA, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- The defence, in the murder trial of South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius, rested its case on Friday after submitting its closing heads of argument at the Pretoria High Court.

The prosecution concluded its submission of heads of argument on Thursday and Judge Thokozile Masipa is expected to hand down her judgment on September 11.

Pistorius is accused of killing his girlfriend Reeva Stenkamp at his house on the 14th of February 2013. He shot her through a locked bathroom door. Pistorius argues that he mistook Reeva for an intruder in his house after hearing noise coming from the toilet. The state however, argues that Pistorius and Reeva had an argument following which she ran into the toilet and Pistorius shot her in cold blood.

On Thursday, state prosecutor Gerrie Nel listed what he called 13 lies told by Pistorius including his version of the position of certain things in his room on the night of the shooting.

He submitted that the court should charge Pistorius with premeditated murder or alternatively with capable homicide.

However, on Friday defence lawyer, Barry Roux submitted a 245 page document as heads of argument. In its submission, the defence poked holes into the state's case, but also highlighted a number of things defending Pistorius's actions on the night when he shot Stenkamp.

In trying to argue that it was Pistorius who was heard screaming on the night of the shooting not Reeva, Roux chronicled the events of the night in question. He told the court that Pistorius's neighbours heard three sets of sounds on the night of the shooting.

Roux said the first sounds were gunshots, followed by Pistorius screaming, then followed by the sounds of the cricket bat as he broke down the toilet door.

On Friday Roux argued that Pistorius should have been charged with capable homicide not murder.

He told the court that by mistaking his girl friend for an intruder, and shooting before verifying, Pistorius was negligent and said that is capable homicide not murder. "Pistorius was negligent. That is capable homicide. That is what the case should have been about," Roux said.

Roux also brought in a number of photographs showing that investigating officers contaminated the crime scene making it difficult for the defence to strengthen its case.

Talking about a hand seen in the photograph holding open the curtains at Pistorius's house during investigations, Roux asked, "Why was it necessary to keep it open? Why not take a photograph without someone holding the curtain open to gain a real view."

Turning to a hand seen in another photograph holding a missing multi-plug, he said, "The unfortunate consequence of that was that Mr. Pistorius was cross-examined that there was no place for the multi-plug. "What concerns us is that the photo was in the possession of the state. The state must have known about this."

Roux also argued that as an athlete Pistorius was trained to react to sound and said that explains why the athlete pulled the trigger after hearing the noise from the toilet.

"We are not making the submission that the accused did not arm himself. He was standing at the door, vulnerable, anxious with his finger on the trigger when he heard a noise bang.

"He foresaw that it might be necessary to fire the shots. He was anxious and fearful," said Roux.

Nevertheless, this was disputed by prosecutor, Gerrie Nel on Thursday who argued that Pistorius intentionally shot Reeva following an argument.

However, Roux directed personal attacks on state prosecutor Nel.

Roux said, "Mr. Nel is desperate. I have a lot of respect for Mr. Nel and his experience. The state fetched cases from another jurisdiction.

"It had to create this atmosphere knowing its deficiencies."

He asked the court to consider Pistorius's version as true, arguing that his disability could have contributed to the way he acted.

"There is constant reminder that I do not have legs, I cannot run away, I am not the same. That is the issue with Pistorius," Roux said.

Editor: yan
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