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
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?