Expert joins Oscar’s defence team

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Copy of iol new spic Oscar in court 5

REUTERS

Police crime scene tape marks off Oscar Pistorius's Pretoria home. File photo: Reuters

Pretoria - Prominent Durban private forensic pathologist Dr Reggie Perumal was to examine the crime scene at murder accused Oscar Pistorius’s Pretoria home on Monday morning.

Perumal has confirmed he had been called on Thursday to join the 26-year-old Paralympian’s defence team.

Pistorius is expected to apply for bail on Tuesday in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court.

Pistorius’s girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, was shot dead in the athlete’s R4 million Silver Woods Country Estate home early on Thursday.

Perumal said he had been inundated with calls from the media asking about his investigation in the case.

“All I can say is that I confirm I am on the defence team. I was present when the autopsy was conducted (on Friday) and I will be going to the scene (today) to evaluate it.”

Perumal said that as a scientist it was his job to document all the facts and then express an opinion on those facts.

He said he would look at all the evidence and assess and interpret it, not in isolation.

Perumal said in his 19 years in private practice, he had done work for the prosecution and defence. Recently, he said he had done work for the prosecution in the SAPS Cato Manor organised crime unit matter.

Twenty-eight members of the disbanded unit face charges of murder, racketeering, defeating the ends of justice, unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition, and theft.

 

The pathologist, a father of three, is no stranger to high profile cases. Shakti Bunwarie, a Pietermaritzburg businessman, hired Perumal and a private investigator to probe the death of his 21-year-old daughter, Kajal, who was murdered on March 4, 2003.

 

Kajal was found huddled in a corner on the atrium floor in their family home, in a “bowed, prayer-like” position.

Perumal had testified for the State, saying that he had examined Kajal’s post-mortem report, and had performed tests of his own, which determined it was “highly unlikely” she had taken her own life.

He had concluded that Bunwarie died as a result of asphyxiation or lack of oxygen to the brain. Kajal’s boyfriend, Pravir Ramdeen, and his cousin, Luicienne Soogrin, were acquitted of the murder.

Perumal also testified for the State in the Hilton Shaw case. Shaw was found guilty in June 2009 for the murder of his wife, Susan, who was shot dead in Pietermaritzburg in June 2007. The judge had rejected Shaw’s versions of suicide.

Perumal had described the gunshot wound to Susan’s right shoulder as having a downward trajectory. This made it almost impossible for the right-handed Susan to shoot herself, he had testified.

The pathologist was part of the defence team in the murder trial of members of a notorious Chatsworth gang, the Dre Boyz

. Duncan Arumugam, Brandon Chetty and Parvendran Perumal were found guilty of the murder of businessman Kelvin Claude Naidoo, killed in a drive-by shooting in April 2008.

 

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