WHY did Oscar Pistorius not see that Reeva Steenkamp was not in bed when he reached for his firearm, State prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked yesterday.
22 February 2013 | ELAINE SWANEPOEL and SAPA
Nel said it was not a coincidence that the people who gave statements after Steenkamp’s death said they had heard screams and arguments. He said it was also not disputed
that Pistorius had discharged a
gun at Tasha’s restaurant in Johannesburg and “somebody else took the blame”.
Nel was referring to evidence given earlier this week by now former investigating officer Hilton Botha.
Botha testified that earlier this year Pistorius had fired off a shot from a friend’s pistol at the restaurant. Knowing it would cause a media frenzy, he convinced his friend to take the blame for the incident.
“That is the real person we are dealing with,” said Nel. “The fact that he got someone else to take the blame is the main issue here. It is clear Pistorius is not willing to take responsibility for his actions.
“Even in his affidavit he says he did nothing wrong. This unwillingness to take responsibility for his deeds makes him a flight risk. We say we are astounded by the total lack of seriousness.”
Nel also referred to Botha’s testimony about an incident at the Kyalami race track earlier this year, during which Pistorius had allegedly got into a fight with a man and told him that he would ‘f*** him up’. When the man had laid charges against Pistorius, the athlete allegedly phoned him and threatened to ‘break his legs’.
He said there were no exceptional circumstances for magistrate Desmond Nair to grant Pistorius bail, adding that Pistorius had not offered to give up his passport, but said he would if it were a condition of bail. “He never said to this court: ‘I’m not going anywhere’.”
Nel said Pistorius’s version of events was “improbable”. Even in his version, there had been no imminent danger in the bathroom.
Pistorius had said there had been threats on his life, but he had never opened a case with the police.
“He was keen to arm himself and get to the intruder; his action is indicative of a man ready to arm himself, and ready to kill,” said Nel. He added that one could not create a danger and then act in self-defence. It was “improbable” that Pistorius had felt vulnerable, but still headed for the bathroom door.
“It is our respectful submission that he fired four shots, not one shot. The only reason you fire four shots is to kill,” said Nel. “At the least there will be culpable homicide.”
He asked why two cellphones and a firearm had been found in the bathroom.
When questioned by Nair about the possibility that Pistorius had orchestrated the scene to his benefit, Nel said he did not rule this out.
Pistorius: South Africa bears and breeds these men
Pistorius: High noon at not-OK corral
Gender violence: Creating a new normal for South Africa's men
His apparent penchant for guns has, through the details in his affidavits, also ostensibly demonstrated the impulses of some whites in South Africa since 1652: to use firearms to protect their possessions and their womenfolk against the black natives.
Sports like rugby – which academics such as Robert Morrell suggest was used after events such as the Battle of Isandlwana in 1879, which the British lost, to rebuild a shattered white masculinity – feature prominently in the masculine tribal pride at these schools. The focus is on brotherly bonding and aggression.
Pistorius's legal team later suggested that the gun had gone off when it was being passed to Pistorius under the table. *