Oscar Pistorius trial Day 15:

Oscar Pistorius trial Day 15: State rests its case

Defence barrister Barry Roux attempts to suggest Oscar Pistorius had good reason to fear burglars, as prosecutor Gerrie Nel wraps up states’s case against the athlete.

Oscar Pistorius trial Day 15:

South Africa Pistorius Trial.JPEG-043e6

Tuesday’s proceedings in the Oscar Pistorius trial saw two police officers take the stand. First was Warrant Officer Adrian Maritz, based in the crime information office of the Boschkop police station, who gave evidence via an interpreter regarding the history of crime in the Silverlakes area where the Silver Woods gated estate in which Pistorius lived is located.

Maritz used an aerial photo showing crime hotspots to show the locations of the eight crimes reported in area between January 2011 and April 2013. All of those crimes were robberies and thefts, with the only (alleged) murder on the map being that of Steenkamp.

Defence advocate Barry Roux brought up a housebreaking in 2010 when Pistorius was the victim, but Maritz revealed he had no knowledge of that incident, saying Pistorius’ name should have been on the police system “unless his name was spelt wrong or a mistake was made.” There was no record on the police system of Pistorius having previously been a victim of robbery, but Roux insisted that Pistorius had been “a victim of crime on many occasions.” Roux also raised the fact that police were coming from another house robbery in the area on the night Reeva Steenkamp was shot as he attempted to show that Pistorius had good reasons to fear the intrusion of burglars.

The second police officer to take the stand was the returning Colonel Gerhard Vermeulen, recalled by Roux to discuss a third, higher mark on the toliet door through which Pistorius shot Steenkamp. Roux revealed that Vermeulen had returned to the court house on the morning of 18 March to again inspect the door. Vermeulen seemed surprised that Roux knew about this visit but did not deny it. When questioned by Roux, Vermeulen says he looked at the other marks on the door but did not believe they were made by the cricket bat and that he did not try to match the cricket bat with the new mark. Roux argued that Vermeulen did not attempt to match the bat with the high mark because it didn’t scan with the prosecution’s case that Pistorius was on his stumps, but Vermeulen argued that the higher mark at the top of the door could have been made by a weaker hit using the bat if Pistorius was on his stumps but standing right next to the door.

Vermeulen also revealed that he had been asked to compare the sound of the cricket bat on the door with the sound of a gunshot but said that as yet he had not had time.

“May it please the court, my lady, this is the state’s case,” prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the court, confirming that the state has wrapped up its case, having called only 20 witnesses from an original list of 107.

The trial has been adjourned until Friday so the Blade Runner’s defence team can consult with unused prosecution witnesses they might want to call. It remains uncertain whether Pistorius will be first to testify when the trial resumes. According to legal experts, it is not compulsory for the accused to testify first, but “generally preferable as a show of confidence and to ensure he is not contradicted” the Guardian has reported.

The trial is expected to last until the middle of May, with a break from 4 to 11 April.