Oscar’s crime fears under fire

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Copy of South Africa Pistorius Trial~1

AP

Oscar Pistorius arrives at the High Court in Pretoria on Friday ahead of his fifth day in the witness box. Picture: Themba Hadebe

Pretoria - Oscar Pistorius's alleged security consciousness has been dissected by the State on Friday morning, as the prosecutor Gerrie Nel tries to prove that the athlete wasn't deathly afraid of crime.

“Have you ever reported a crime at a police station?” Nel asked in the High Court in Pretoria on Friday.

Pistorius said he had filed a wrongful arrest claim in 2009, but that was all.

He said that when his home was broken into, only a TV had gone missing, and that he didn't think it was worth reporting it.

When he was shot at by a passing car, Pistorius also thought police would not be able to do anything about it.

When someone assaulted him, Pistorius had gone through a friend to file a case with the Hawks, meaning he had never directly filed the claim.

Pistorius moved into Silverwoods country estate in 2008 and he said he had never been a victim of crime at his home.

“Except for the police stealing my watches,” said Pistorius, whose defence has argued investigators took the expensive time pieces during their investigation of Reeva Steenkamp's shooting.

When asked about his estate's security, Nel asked: “You felt it was safe enough to leave your cars outside?”

Pistorius said yes.

Nel also got Pistorius to admit he felt safe enough at his estate that he had not even replaced a broken window with no burglar proofing on the ground floor.

Pistorius's lawyers had argued that the murder accused was deathly afraid of the crime situation in South Africa.

Construction workers had brought tall ladders to work on Pistorius's house at the time, and Pistorius said he had asked them to remove them at night.

However, on the night of the shooting, Pistorius had not checked if the ladders were put inside.

Nel said he was surprised that a security conscious person like Pistorius was also unaware of a number of recent security upgrades at the estate.

Pistorius then described his alarm system, which had a remote to activate it. Nel asked if Pistorius was satisfied with his alarm arrangement the night of the shooting.

“That's not what I said,” replied Pistorius, who said his alarm had some issues because of his house being painted, and the beams outside may not have been active.

Nel said because of his security consciousness, Pistorius would have been likely to check if the beams worked.

He then accused Pistorius of tailoring his evidence of the alarm.

Nel pointed out that Pistorius had initially said his home had been painted both in 2010 and 2013, and was unsure about his beams both times. But Pistorius said these were two separate incidents and not a tailoring of evidence.

“So what your evidence is: in 2010 they took all the sensors off the walls... Being security conscious, you checked the alarm afterwards... And in 2013, you did not know of any malfunction on the alarm?” Nel said.

Pistorius admitted this.

On the night of the shooting, Pistorius said the only reason he knew his alarm was deactivated was because it hadn't gone off when he went downstairs after the shooting. But in his evidence, Pistorius acknowledged before going downstairs he had definitely turned off the alarms.

Pistorius claimed the mistake was because he was tired, but when offered extra time, Pistorius said it would not help him.

“I think you're trying to cover up your lies,” said Nel.

Judge Thokozile Masipa then interrupted and said that if the reason he made all these mistakes was due to exhaustion, he had to make the court aware of this.

“You are covering up your evidence. There is no other reason,” said Nel.

Nel then put it to Pistorius that if the alarm was on, if someone had broken in, it would have gone off.

Pistorius then explained that his alarm would not go off if a person left the bedroom, and the first sensor upstairs was at the stairs.

Nel asked if the open balcony door had bothered him, and Pistorius said not while he was awake.

The State then moved to an incident on a highway where Pistorius saw a “muzzle flash” in a black Mercedes that had overtaken him, causing him to swerve.

Pistorius said this had happened late in the evening, and he didn't remember if there were other cars on the highway.

Nel asked if there was any prior road rage incident that could have led to the supposed attempt on Pistorius's life. The athlete denied any such incident.

Pistorius then said there were other cars on the road. Nel suggested the flash could have been a camera, but Pistorius said he had heard a bang to accompany it.

Pistorius was unable to answer who he phoned after the incident.

Nel said this was because the incident ahd never happened and the athlete did not want anyone to check up.

Pistorius was also admonished for not reporting such an important incident to the police. He said that he didn't trust in the police to check up on what had happened. Pistorius said his family had trusted in the police but that they had failed them.

Pistorius was also unable to remember who had picked him up when he parked at the Rhapsody's bar after the shooting.

Nel then moved onto an incident of assault.

The prosecutor said that Pistorius had approached Quinton van den Bergh, and had an argument about Pistorius's then girlfriend, Samantha Taylor. Van den Bergh had taken Taylor overseas while Pistorius had been at the Olympics.

At a Daytona event, Pistorius approached Van den Bergh because “(Van den Bergh) couldn't keep his eyes off (him)”.

Pistorius swore at him and said he had no respect for what he had done. Pistorius said he was not aggressive, but was sent a lawyer’s letter after the confrontation.

Pistorius had fought with Taylor who had apparently tried to defend Van den Bergh. Later, at Sun City, Van den Bergh's friend Mark Batchelor had been the one to try assault and intimidate him.

Nel asked if Pistorius had ever shouted at Taylor over this issue, and he said he had not.

Batchelor had claimed Pistorius threatened to break his legs, but Pistorius denied this.

Nel said Pistorius never reported this to a police station, but rather used a senior Hawks member through his friend Justin Divaris. Batchelor came to the meeting with his lawyer as well.

Pistorius said he was assaulted and the meeting was set up the next day.

“Why did you go looking for trouble?” Nel asked. Pistorius said he had been trying to diffuse the situation.

Pistorius was questioned again about the scene of Steenkamp's shooting at his Pretoria East home.

Pistorius was asked why he had woken up so late that night, where once again he said the humidity meant he couldn't sleep.

He said that after bringing in his two fans, he picked up a pair of jeans to cover an LED light that was bothering him on his amplifier.

He said the subsequent sound of his bathroom window sliding open had been what frightened him.

"I was frozen for a moment, a couple of seconds," said Pistorius. He then went to grab his firearm, and said he told Steenkamp to get down and phone the police. Pistorius said he hadn't looked at Steenkamp, and that he didn't want to take his eyes off the passage.

Nel asked why Pistorius had not checked on Steenkamp, who he said was awake, or why he hadn't asked her if she also heard anything.

Taylor, earlier testified that in a similar incident, Pistorius had spoken to her. Pistorius said in that incident he was unsure of what he heard, but that on February 14 he knew what the sound was.

Pistorius then said he had spoken softly at Steenkamp, and not whispered.

"My whole being was fixated on this person I thought was in the bathroom," Pistorius said when asked why he hadn't properly checked on Steenkamp.

Pistorius was once again shown an image of his bedroom.

Nel then asked if Pistorius believed that police had opened his curtains, moved the jeans, bedding and fans so that they would not fit with his version.

"That is correct," Pistorius said.

Earlier, Nel told the court that the Steenkamp family had sent a message to the prosecution saying that Pistorius had tried to organise a meeting with them but that they were not ready to see him.

This corroborated what Pistorius told the court on Thursday.

Nel asked if Reeva Steenkamp had been his first Christian partner. Pistorius said she was not.

Nel said he found the way Pistorius had given his evidence about Steenkamps’ strong Christianity “interesting”.

Pistorius said that Steenkamp would pray for him and his training. Once again, Nel accused the athlete of being self-centred.

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