Boxer tells of Oscar gun incident

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kevin lerena INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Professional boxer Kevin Lerena was the fourth witness to be called to the stand at Oscar Pistoriuss murder trial. File photo: David Ritchie

Pretoria - Professional boxer Kevin Lerena was the fourth witness to be called to the stand in Oscar Pistorius’s murder trial at the High Court in Pretoria.

In his evidence in chief, Lerena said he met Pistorius through one of his sponsors.

He met Pistorius on a trip to watch car racing, with Jason Divaris and a few others.

Since they met, Lerena had gone to help Pistorius with training, receiving diet tips from the Blade Runner.

In January 2013, Lerena was at Tasha's in Melrose Arch with Pistorius. Another of the State's witnesses, Darren Fresco, was also in attendance.

The group of four was seated at a table at the crowded Melrose Arch restaurant, Lerena said.

Lerena was able to identify where the group was sitting through photos provided by the prosecution.

“For some reason, a gun was passed under the table,” said Lerena.

Fresco had passed a gun to Pistorius, and Lerena said he believed that Pistorius removed the bullets.

“A shot went off in the restaurant and there was just complete silence... I looked down, I was in shock,” said Lerena, who revealed the bullet went into the floor right by his foot.

He said it took a few days for him to realise the enormity of what had happened.

The shot went off, and Pistorius said: “Is everybody OK?”

He apologised to the table, but apparently asked Fresco to take the blame for the shot, because Pistorius didn't want attention around him.

And when restaurant management came to the table, Fresco took the blame.

After February 14, 2013, the night Pistorius shot Reeva Steenkamp, Lerena said he had hundreds of missed calls from newspapers around the world calling him to speak about the incident at Tasha's.

Defence advocate Barry Roux joked that he was wary of cross-examining a boxer and suggested his colleague, Kenny Oldwage take over.

But Roux requested a break because he said the defence was not aware Lerena would be brought to the stand on Wednesday.

Court was adjourned till 2pm.

Meanwhile, attempts to access the notes of third witness Charl Johnson about his version of events on the night of the murder were delayed, and the prosecution suggested that other witnesses be brought to the stand in the meantime.

Roux also requested the notes of Johnson’s wife, first witness Michelle Burger.

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