PRETORIA - The pieces of the puzzle are slowly coming together — but whose story will be vindicated?
After five days and nine witnesses in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial, both the prosecution and defence have started to show their hands.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel is relying on witnesses who were within earshot of Pistorius’s house to demonstrate that there was an argument and “bloodcurdling” screams coming from the athlete’s home.
Other people will testify about Pistorius’s alleged aggressive streak, his love for guns and his reckless disregard of others’ safety.
The defence will rely on science.
It will use experts to say it would have been impossible for the witnesses to have heard what they claim they heard from such a distance.
In any event, advocate Barry Roux, for the defence, argued this week that it was Pistorius’s voice that they had heard crying out in the early morning.
“Are you aware that when he is anxious his voice pitch resembles that of a woman?” Roux asked the four witnesses who had testified about hearing a woman scream.
Pistorius, who claimed he thought there was an intruder in the house, would testify in his own defence, it was confirmed.
So far, it is clear that the following five points will be key in determining a conviction or an acquittal in the murder trial after the death of Reeva Steenkamp.
Why did Oscar not wake Steenkamp?
In his plea explanation, Pistorius said he had spoken to her in bed before he had gone to fetch two fans from the balcony.
“Unbeknown to me, Reeva must have gone to the toilet in the bathroom at the time when I brought in the fans, closed the sliding doors and drew the blinds and the curtains.”
This is crucial for the prosecution.
Was the light on?
In his bail application, Pistorius claimed it had been “pitch dark” and he had been too scared to switch on a light.
But witness Johan Stipp testified he had seen the bathroom light was on when he heard screams coming from the house.
Did Oscar manufacture a defence immediately after Steenkamp died?
Stipp testified that minutes after he arrived back home from Pistorius’s house, where he had tried to assist a fatally wounded Steenkamp, the estate manager, Johan Stander, phoned him. In court papers, the prosecution said he “fashioned a version when he saw the opportunity”.
Exactly who was screaming?
Four witnesses said they had clearly heard a woman screaming that morning. Michelle Burger told the court it was “bloodcurdling”.
Roux said the defence would call an expert witness, backed up by scientific tests, to show that when Pistorius was anxious and screamed, his voice resembled that of a woman.
The defence will also go out of its way to show it would have been nearly impossible for some witnesses — notably Burger and her husband, Charl Johnson — to have heard the screams from their house, which is about 177 metres away.
Is Pistorius trigger-happy?
Taylor testified that her former boyfriend went nowhere without his gun.
A gunshot incident at Tasha’s in Melrose Arch, along with him allegedly shooting out of the sunroof of a car, will be used to portray him as trigger-happy.
The trial continues today.