Carl Pistorius’s lawyer blames dead woman

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INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Carl Pistorius - the brother of murder-accused paralympian Oscar Pistorius - is a free man.

Johannesburg - Carl Pistorius’s lawyer has placed the blame for a fatal accident on the woman who died, saying she rode into his client’s bakkie.

Not only did advocate Kenny Oldwadge claim that Maria Barnard’s reckless driving resulted in the fatal crash, he also tore to shreds the evidence of the man who was with her on the day of the collision.

Arguing in the Vanderbijlpark Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, where Pistorius - brother of Blade Runner Oscar - is facing a charge of culpable homicide, Oldwadge accused State witness Anton Coetzee of being a liar who was selective, contradictory, pre-emptive and not honest with the court.

“You are toying with my client’s liberties. I told you earlier that I thought I was dealing with a sophisticated person, so I’m going to expect honest answers,” Oldwadge told him.

Coetzee and Barnard were on their motorcycles in Vanderbijlpark in March 2008 when the collision occurred, claiming Barnard’s life.

Coetzee said Pistorius had suddenly turned to the right without indicating first and that Barnard’s bike smashed into the back of his bakkie.

However, Oldwadge rubbished this version.

He put it to Coetzee that Barnard had not been following at the correct following distance of at least 50m behind the bakkie.

He also said Barnard could have brought her motorbike to a stop if she had kept a proper lookout.

He put it to Coetzee that if Barnard’s speed at the time of the collision had been within the legal limit, danger could have been avoided.

“I accept that,” Coetzee replied.

According to the evidence, Oldwadge said, Barnard did not keep a proper lookout and was reactive only at the last moment. While Coetzee agreed with him on that point, he disagreed with Oldwadge when he said Barnard must have “operated the motorcycle in an extremely reckless manner”.

“The probability is that this is someone who operated a motorcycle while drunk,” Oldwadge said.

Coetzee replied that he did not see Barnard use alcohol.

Oldwadge then read a statement from a Mrs Swanepoel, who was to have been a State witness but later withdrew.

In her statement, Swanepoel said she had been driving on the road and Pistorius’s bakkie was behind her.

At some point, the bakkie indicated to turn to the right. As it turned, a motorcycle approaching at high speed tried to overtake the bakkie, resulting in the collision.

Swanepoel claimed to have stopped her car to check on the injured motorcyclist, and detected alcohol on her breath.

“This is what someone deemed to be a State witness communicated to the defence.

“She is independent and has no affiliation or relationship with my client or the deceased,” Oldwadge told Coetzee.

He added that another person had also indicated that they smelt alcohol on Barnard’s breath.

However, Coetzee responded by saying: “She was moaning as she lay there and with her helmet on, I don’t know how they smelt alcohol.”

The trial resumes on April 25.

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The Star


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