Oscar Pistorius trial: Defence claims sloppy police contaminated crime scene

Defence argues police moved crucial evidence at Pistorius' home tampering crime scene

Pretoria

The defence in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial again sought to discredit the behaviour of the South African Police Service and show they “disturbed, contaminated and tampered with” crucial evidence at the athlete’s house when they arrived in the early hours of Valentine’s Day morning last year.

Over the course of several hours, Pistorius’s defence counsel Barry Roux led the crime scene photographer Warrant Officer Barend Van Staden through scores of his own photographs which he claimed showed that items had been moved around and disturbed by police officers.

Why, he demanded to know, was there such an apparent “disturbance” in a pile of objects on the bedroom carpet and why had some of them clearly been moved, he asked.

Van Staden has already claimed that once the preliminary set of photographs had been taken, it is common practice to pick up and move objects as part of a crime scene investigation.

Discrediting the work of the police has already come to form a crucial part of Pistorius’s team’s defence strategy.

 

At one point, Mr Roux was rebuked by the judge after he was perceived to ridicule Van Staden, who appeared not to know which side of a cricket bat would be referred to as the front, and which the back.

“Have you ever played cricket?” He asked him. “Have you ever watched cricket? Have you ever seen anyone attempt to strike the ball with the ridged back?”

Judge Thokozile Masipa told Mr Roux: “You cannot argue with a witness.”

It was the most detailed examination of the trial so far, with Mr Roux demanding to know how a tiny wooden splinter had found its way on top of Mr Pistorius’s gun handle, and how the angle of the mat beneath it appeared different in one photograph from another.

In the morning, Pistorius’s uncle Arnold spoke for several minutes to June Steenkamp, Reeva’s mother, in the public gallery, before telling journalists he had tried to speak to her before but had been unable, and that as a father, “I understand her pain.”

READ MORE: DAY 1:   PISTORIUS PLEADS NOT GUILTY  
DAY 2:   REEVA STEENKAMP'S BRAIN SEVERELY DAMAGED  
DAY 3:   PISTORIUS ASKED FRIEND TO 'TAKE BLAME IN GUN INCIDENT'  
DAY 4:   NEIGHBOUR HEARD SHOTS, WOMAN SCREAMING  
DAY 5:   PISTORIUS 'CHEATED ON ME WITH REEVA'  
DAY 6:   PISTORIUS VOMITS IN COURT AFTER AUTOPSY DETAILS SHOWN 
DAY 7:  PISTORIUS "F***ING MAD' AFTER SHOOTING INCIDENT 
DAY 8:  PISTORIUS 'STANDING ON HIS STUMPS' 
DAY 9:  PISTORIUS SICK AGAIN AFTER STEENKAMP'S BODY SHOWN
DAY 10: PISTORIUS 'COVERED IN BLOOD' AFTER SHOOTING
DAY 11: PISTORIUS SCORED TOP MARKS IN SHOOTING TEST

On Monday Ms Steenkamp also spoke to Oscar’s sister Aimee, in the first signs of a rapprochement between the two sides of the long family bench, who have had no contact for the entire first two weeks of the trial.

The court also heard from Colonel Chris Mangena, a police ballistics expert who examined the bullet holes in Pistorius’s toilet door.

It is his evidence that has led both the defence and the state to agree that Pistorius would have been on his stumps when he fired the bullets through the toilet door, and not wearing his prosthetic legs as had been claimed earlier.

The case continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee