Pretoria - Oscar Pistorius allegedly made a “very sinister” remark to a State witness and friend of the late Reeva Steenkamp in court Tuesday, a lawyer for the woman said.
“My client, Kim Myers, was approached by Oscar Pistorius in court today and in a very sinister tone was asked 'how can you sleep at night?” said lawyer Ian Levitt in a statement.
“Obviously he wasn't asking her if she got her full eight hours sleep,” Levitt told AFP, “it was obviously in a sinister way.”
The Myers family, which includes father Cecil, known as Steenkamp's “Joburg Dad,” mother Desi, and sisters Kim and Gina, hired Levitt to represent them soon after the 29-year-old model and law graduate was shot dead by Pistorius.
Lawyers representing Pistorius denied the 27-year-old Paralympic gold medallist said anything threatening to Myers.
“I'm not even going to dignify that with a comment,” said Pistorius defence lawyer Brian Webber to reporters after court adjourned for the day.
“It's grossly untrue. He never said anything of the sort.”
But Levitt says Myers, who regularly sits in the front row of the public gallery wearing all-black outfits in support of Steenkamp, is adamant she heard those words.
“She stands by what she says,” said Levitt, speaking by phone from Johannesburg.
“He did say it. I can tell you my personal view is he is in a state of denial and he's been so for a long time.”
Throughout the athlete's murder trial, state prosecutor Gerrie Nel has worked to show Pistorius is unable to accept blame for his actions.
Nel has openly called the athlete's version “a lie” contending Pistorius knew exactly what he was doing when he fired the lethal shots at Steenkamp and discharged a gun twice in public.
Pistorius has denied intentionally killing Steenkamp and has pleaded not guilty to other charges, including one of firing a gun through a moving car's sunroof and to illegal possession of ammunition.
Stephen Tuson, an associate law professor at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, said if Pistorius made the comments to Myers, who is a state witness, in the investigative stage of the trial “it would have been very serious”.
However, since the state has closed its case, Tuson said the comments are unlikely to have any consequence in court.
Still, he said, Pistorius's comments are “foolish”.
“It's a foolish thing to do,” said Tuson. “Particularly in court and if it's as reported in full view of everybody,” he said, “it doesn't create a good impression”.