Oscar Pistorius trial: Prosecution calls for athlete's testimony to be rejected in closing arguments

Defence and prosecution set for final courtroom battle as closing arguments for and against the athlete are heard in court

The prosecution in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial launched a scathing attack against the athlete, calling for his testimony to be rejected, as it presented its closing arguments against him.

State prosecutor Gerrie Nel accused the athlete of being a "deceitful and appalling witness" and claimed he had consistently tailored his version of events because his testimony was "weak" and his answers "vague".

Oscar Pistorius trial live

"We will argue that the accused's version should be rejected," Mr Nel told the North Gauteng High Court. "The court should have no difficulty in rejecting his full version of events, not only as not reasonably possibly true, but in essence as being absolutely devoid of any truth."

If his evidence is rejected, as the prosecution hopes, judge Thokozile Masipa will only be able to consider the state's case, circumstantial evidence and the balance of probabilities in her verdict, which could see Pistorius sentenced to life in prison.

The prosecution's case is that an enraged Pistorius grabbed his gun and intentionally shot his girlfriend through a locked toilet door with intention to kill, knowing full well she was inside and there was no intruder in the house, following a heated argument in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year.

Presenting his closing arguments, Mr Nel  described Pistorius as a witness who was more "concerned about the implications of his answers" than giving a "truthful version", highlighting that Pistorius himself admitted he was "defending for his life" in his testimony.

"That's why the mendacity was so striking," he added. "The accused was tailoring the version and was more concerned with the implications of his answers than the truth."

 

In his testimony, Pistorius, who would often break down in tears and loud sobs, told the court he shot his girlfriend after hearing "movement" as he approached the bathroom area, which led him to believe "someone was coming out to attack me".

In cross-examination, he insisted he fired accidentally, departing from his original defence that he had shot at the door in self-defence because he thought his life was in danger.

"The accused never said to anyone that got to the scene: It was an accident. The shot just went off", the chief prosecutor added. "He said: 'I thought it was a burglar and I shot her. Sorry, I shot Reeva. I thought she was an intruder."

Video: Final arguments begin in Pistorius trial

Mr Nel also argued his legal team failed to provide evidence and test results, including sound and vision, that would back up Pistorius's version and suggested its own expert witnesses had contradicted the defence's case at times.

"The defence failed to call any witnesses to substantiate his version, " Mr Nel added. "The question is why?"

The prosecutor went on to list what he described as objective facts: Reeva Steenkamp was fully clothed when she was shot, had locked herself inside the toilet cubicle and taken her mobile phone with her, adding: "If his version is rejected, those are the facts the court will find and make inferences from."

Throughout the trial, the prosecution has portrayed Pistorius as a gun-loving, possessive young man with an inflated ego who would often snap at friends, family and romantic partners, citing the testimony of a former girlfriend who claimed Pistorius shouted at her and text messages between the athlete and Ms Steenkamp, where she wrote: "I'm scared of you."

Pistorius is accused of murdering the model and law graduate in his upscale home in Pretoria on Valentine's Day last year. He also faces three separate charges, including two counts of discharging firearms in public and possession of illegal ammunition. He denies all charges and claims he shot Ms Steenkamp by mistake, thinking there was a burglar.

Pistorius faces a mandatory life sentence which usually carries a minimum of 25 years in jail if found guilty of premeditated murder, though mitigation could reduce it in this case. If found guilty of the lesser charge of culpable homicide, he could face 15 years or a non-custodial sentence. Pistorius is currently free on bail.

South Africa does not have trial by jury, meaning the athlete's fate will be decided by judge Masipa, with the help of two assessors.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people

Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando

Sport
Kim Sears is reported to have directed abuse at Berdych
tennis
News
news

Rap music mogul accused of running two men over in his truck

News
Gywneth Paltrow proposed that women seek out a special herbal steam-treatment service
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
film
Arts and Entertainment
tv

First full-length look is finally here

Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Film director Martin Scorsese
film
News
news

The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president

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
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

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...

Recruitment Genius: Engineering Manager - Alconbury

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for an Engineering M...

Recruitment Genius: .Net / SQL Developer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A skilled .NET developer with e...

Recruitment Genius: IT Technical Support Engineer - PC/Mac

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company are cur...

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