Oscar Pistorius trial: State prosecutor reprimanded after calling athlete a 'liar' in aggressive cross-examination


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The Independent Online

'Pit bull' prosecutor Gerrie Nel was reprimanded for calling Oscar Pistorius "a liar" as he told Pretoria's High Court that the position of the objects found in his bedroom renders his version of events impossible.

On his third day of cross-examination, Mr Nel noted that Reeva Steenkamp's jeans were found "laying on the duvet" on the floor next to a large tripod fan blocking his way en route the balcony.

Pistorius has been adamant that the crime scene was contaminated by the police and objects were moved from where he left them, so the police photographs can't be trusted.

But Mr Nel insisted that, for Pistorius’s version of events to be true, "police must have opened the curtains wider, moved the fans, switched the light on, put the duvet on the floor, and ensure the denim is on top of the duvet".

The athlete's defence counsel Barry Roux objected, suggesting that the photograph did not conclusively show that the jeans were on top of the duvet, adding that photographs taken from other angles suggest otherwise.

Judge Masipa warned Mr Nel to "mind his language", adding "you cannot call the witness a liar while he is the witness box".

The prosecutor is known in South Africa as the "pit bull" for his aggressive tactics.


Earlier, the prosecutor pressured Pistorius to explain why failed to check on Ms Steenkamp when he heard the noise or asked if she heard it too, which would have been "the normal thing to do".

Pistorius said he was in “no doubt” about what he heard - his bathroom window sliding open and slamming- even though he had not heard Ms Steenkamp get up, as the fans he had brought in from the bedroom were switched on, pointing in his face, and quite loud.

"My whole person was focused on that person in the bathroom," he added.

He denies murdering Ms Steenkamp, claiming he shot her in a case of mistaken identity thinking she was an intruder after hearing the sounds of window opening and a door slamming, which convinced him a burglar had entered the house.

The state argues he intentionally shot and killed Ms Steenkamp following a domestic dispute.

The case continues.