Oscar excused from witness stand

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barry apr 15 REUTERS Oscar Pistorius's attorney Barry Roux looks on during Pistorius's trial at High Court in Pretoria. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko

Pretoria -

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius was excused from the witness stand, with prosecutor Gerrie Nel having concluded his cross-examination on Tuesday morning.

Re-examining Pistorius, defence counsel Barry Roux, SC, asked him what he meant when he said, during cross-examination by prosecutor Gerrie Nel, that the shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was an accident.

"The situation as a whole, it wasn't meant to be," he replied.

Roux asked him what emotions he felt as he stood outside the door of his toilet, gun extended in front of him.

"I was terrified, I feared for my life, I was scared and was thinking about what would happen to me, to Reeva."

Roux then asked how he felt at the time he heard a noise that led him to believe there was an intruder in his house.

Pistorius said he felt helplessness, terror and feared for his and Steenkamp's life.

"I didn't think about pulling the trigger," he said.

He immediately followed this by stating that he pulled the trigger.

Pistorius has been charged with murdering Steenkamp when he shot her dead through a locked toilet door in his Pretoria house on February 14 last year.

He says he mistook her for an intruder.

After a tough cross-examination by Nel, Pistorius seemed calmer and more composed as he answered questions posed by his counsel.

During the re-examination, Roux presented a picture where Steenkamp's jeans were seen on the bedroom floor of Pistorius's home.

The jeans were the right-way round with the belt loops clearly visible.

Roux referred the court to another picture where the jeans had been turned inside-out.

Earlier, Nel had questioned Pistorius why Steenkamp, a seemingly neat person, would have left the jeans turned inside out.

“Did she not take it off quickly and not have time [to turn it the right way round],” Nel asked.

Pistorius said he did not know why Steenkamp had left her jeans that way.

Roux also asked for a Valentine's card and letter to be given to Pistorius.

The card, from Steenkamp to Pistorius and from "the day of the accident" as stated by the paralympian, was read out by Roux to the court.

It concluded "I think this is a good day to say I love".

Roux ended his re-examination on this note.

One of the assessors asked Pistorius whether Steenkamp had access to the alarm, whether she would have been able to turn it off, and the light in the toilet.

Pistorius said the toilet light was not working and was not sure whether Steenkamp would have been able to access the alarm.

The Pistorius family, who has comforted Pistorius throughout the trial, also seemed relieved after Nel's cross-examination.

During a brief adjournment, Pistorius's sister Aimee walked up to Pistorius where he hugged her.

He then smiled and wiped her eye, using his finger.

The siblings had shared tears as Pistorius broke down numerous times while in the witness box.

Pistorius contends he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder when he fired four shots through the toilet door.

The State argued it was not a mistake.

The paralympian also faces three charges of contravening the Firearms Control Act, on which he has also denied guilt. - Sapa

Click here for IOL’s live blog about the Oscar trial.

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