Pistorius defence to open Friday, athlete ‘likely’ to testify
The defence in Oscar Pistorius's murder trial will open on Friday, and the athlete will "likely" take the stand, his lawyer said.
The court adjourned for two days on Tuesday after state prosecutor Gerrie Nel said the prosecution had completed its case.
Pistorius’s lawyer Brian Webber said it was “likely” that Pistorius would take the stand.
“I don’t think we have a choice, it’s a question of when,” he said.
When asked whether Pistorius will testify on Friday, Kenny Oldwadge, another of his lawyers, said “we’ll see about that”.
The 27-year-old athlete’s defence requested the the break to consult witnesses not called by the state.
On Tuesday Pistorius’s lawyer Barry Roux argued that the sprinter had a loving relationship with Reeva Steenkamp.
Prosecutors have charged Pistorius with Steenkamp’s preplanned murder.
But the Paralympian says he shot at her four times through a locked toilet door after mistaking her for an intruder.
The court heard evidence from a prosecution witness on Monday that Steenkamp was sometimes afraid of her boyfriend.
But the defence drew attention to messages in which the couple used pet names such as “angel” and “baba”, and presented CCTV footage of the pair kissing.
“You are an amazing person with so many blessings and you are more than cared for,” Steenkamp told Pistorius on February 13th via messaging service WhatsApp the day before she died.
The athlete told her, “stay tonight if you like” as part of the exchange of messages read out in court on Tuesday.
The model and law graduate had planned to cook Pistorius dinner on Valentine’s Day, but was shot dead by the athlete in the early hours of the morning.
Police technology expert Francois Moller gave details of the couple’s phone records, which revealed several calls were made from the 27-year-old sprinter’s phone in quick succession after the shooting.
The first call was at 3:19 am on February 14 to a manager at his residential estate in Pretoria and an ambulance and his estate security were then telephoned.
A friend was called at 3:55 am, then Pistorius’s brother Carl, and finally to Peet Van Zyl, his longtime manager.
Pistorius’s lawyer Barry Roux argued that only four conversations were highlighted as argumentative out of more than 1,700 entries between the pair.
“There was a disagreement, unhappiness but if you look at the messages, it was resolved very quickly,” he told the court.
Over 90 percent of around 1,700 messages between the two were affectionate, police technology expert Francois Moller testified Monday, while highlighting a few that cast some doubt on the relationship.
“I’m scared of you sometimes and how you snap at me and how you react to me,” Steenkamp told the sprinter less than three weeks before her death after he apparently accused her of flirting with another man.
Roux also showed a CCTV video showing the couple flirting with each other while buying groceries 10 days before her death. At one point, the athlete leaned over and kissed Steenkamp.