Oscar Pistorius trial: Paralympian's defence dealt blow after ballistics expert accused of changing evidence mid-trial

Expert denies he changed his ballistics report in consultation with the defence to back Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius's defence was dealt a new blow after a key expert witness was accused of adapting his evidence and consulting details of the case to suit the athlete's version in a dramatic grilling by state prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

Returning to the witness stand, Thomas 'Wollie' Wolmarans, a former police officer, told Pretoria's High Court the crime scene was contaminated and questioned the sequence and trajectory of the bullets that pierced Reeva Steenkamp's body as the defence sought to undermine the state's case that Pistorius shot her following a heated argument.

However, under cross-examination, Mr Wolmarans came under intense scrutiny from Mr Nel, known as the 'pit bull' for his aggressive tactics, who accused him of adapting his evidence and filing a new report to back Pistorius's version of events in consultation with the defence.

"Why would you not want us to see your earlier report?," Mr Nel demanded. "Why don't you have it ready so the court can see if there's a difference between your earlier report and this one?"

Mr Wolmarans conceded that there were "ongoing" versions of his ballistics report and he kept this information in his computer "most of the time". He did not have a formal filing system in place and could not remember where his preliminary report was saved.

Continuing his evidence, the ballistics expert told the court he gave the defence a printed copy of the report on 23 April. He could not remember if he e-mailed an electronic copy before the trial started, to which Mr Nel fired back: "Why would you not be able to remember that?"

 

But the former policeman insisted that he did not change his report to suit Pistorius's version in consultation with his legal team, adding: "I was helped with my English but never ever was I asked to alter my report to suit the defence's case."

In a dramatic exchange, Mr Nel challenged him further, asking him if he consulted details of the case with Roger Dixon, who testified for the defence before the Easter recess.

Mr Wolmarans admitted he took him out for a beer on 16 April because he had a tough day in court and "may" have seen him again after that- he could not remember when the second meeting took place.

"My lady, he already testified, it's highly improbable that we hadn't made some discussions on the matter," he said.

"Did you, after his evidence, change anything in your report?," Mr Nel demanded, to which Mr Wolmarans replied: "It is a possibility that I changed something in my report but not anything that I discussed with him."

Oscar Pistorius (R) is greeted by his family at the Pretoria High Court on May 9, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa Mr Wolmarans insisted that Mr Dixon, a qualified geologist, "is not a ballistic expert" and he wouldn't take his advice on the matter. The prosecutor suggested the court should do the same.

Later in his evidence, Mr Wolmarans admitted Pistorius was present in consultation but he did not ask the accused for details about the night he killed his girlfriend through a locked toilet door.

Giving a long answer, the former policeman told the court "some questions where asked" in front of Pistorius but the athlete left the consultation room and vomited after seeing a photograph of Ms Steenkamp.

"Why would that be an answer to my question, that the accused vomited, " Mr Nel told the court, addressing the witness. "You've shown your bias. You just wanted to say the accused vomited."

Pistorius is accused of murdering his girlfriend following a domestic dispute in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year. He claims he shot and killed his girlfriend in a case of mistaken identity, thinking she was an intruder.

South Africa does not have trial by jury, meaning Judge Thokozile Masipa will decide Pistorius' fate with the help of two assessors.

The murder trial continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test