Oscar’s friend’s testimony queried

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Defence advocate Barry Roux File photo: Siphiwe Sibeko

Pretoria - Defence advocate Barry Roux continued his cross examination by asking about the differences between the testimonies of Darren Fresco and Samantha Taylor.

The two had both provided the court a version of how Oscar Pistorius had fired a gunshot out of Fresco's sunroof in September 2012.

Earlier on Tuesday, Fresco testified that he, Taylor and Oscar Pistorius were all in Fresco's car on the day of the shooting, and after passing a toll plaza were pulled over by metro police for speeding.

The officers asked for his license, and because it was taking some time, Pistorius got out of the vehicle to ask what was taking so long.

Another metro police officer went over to where Pistorius had been sitting and picked up the gun he had left on the seat.

Pistorius and the officer had a “verbal altercation” about the officer having handled the weapon. “You can't just touch another man's gun,” Pistorius had said.

The officer had apparently “cleared” the weapon, causing a bullet to fall into the vehicle.

Pistorius then began arguing with the officer about his fingerprints being on his gun.

When the officer responded by referring to the athlete as Mr Pretorius, he corrected the officer: “if you could read, you would see it's Mr Pistorius”.

Fresco had managed to find the loose bullet in the car and gave it back to Pistorius, who he thought had placed it back in the magazine.

More metro officers arrived on the scene saying they had been chasing the car since the toll point.

The officers then issued a speeding fine, and allowed the group to leave.

Fresco said Pistorius was furioius about the incident.

“Without prior warning, he shot out the sunroof,” said Fresco.

Taylor had said the shooting incident had occurred just a short while after leaving the police who had pulled them over, but Fresco said this was not the case.

Roux also asked if Fresco could remember exactly where the bullet had been fired, and he responded that he could identify the vicinity, as he did for police investigators, after driving up and down the area twice.

Fresco was then questioned about whether he was the one who found the bullet after a police officer had removed it from Pistorius' gun.

Roux said that a police officer had been the one to retrieve it, but Fresco said he had no memory of this. The defence then queried how Taylor and Fresco, both in the same car, had such different versions of events.

Fresco then denied that he had “discarded” the ticket he had received from police, as even though he crumpled it up, he still handed it over to Justin Divaris' car dealership.

The defence then moved back to the incident at Tasha's in 2013 where Pistorius had accidentally discharged a gun handed to him by Fresco under a table.

He asked about Fresco's earlier testimony that when he had passed the gun, he had leaned in towards Pistorius and told him it was loaded.

Fresco indicated to the court that he was about 30 centimeters away from Pistorius when he warned him, so the defence's argument that Pistorius had not heard him over the sound of the noisy restaurant was unlikely.

But Roux once again mentioned this close proximity had not been in Fresco's written statement.

It also didn't mention Pistorius asking Fresco to take the blame after the shooting because of the possibility of bad publicity.

Roux said Fresco of creating his statement after Pistorius bail application last year, after hearing about Pistorius asking someone to take the blame during the incident at Tasha's.

He asked if after very carefully crafting his statement, whether he had chosen to withhold information. Fresco denied this.

He then said that while Fresco's this afternoon stated Pistorius had said “ok” after hearing the gun was loaded, this was absent from Fresco's court testimony and statement.

Fresco said no one had asked him about this, which was why he had not mentioned it until queried by Roux.

Fresco then was willing to admit that he should have told Pistorius the magazine was still in, but that he assumed Pistorius was competent enough with firearms that it wouldn't be necessary. Roux said Pistorius was vocal about being upset that Fresco had not warned him about the magazine.

He said he didn't remember Pistorius allegedly saying this, or that he had offered to pay for the damages to the restaurant.

However, Fresco admitted that he had followed some of the trial through media coverage, specifically after hearing that Kevin Lerena had mentioned he was wearing tracksuit pants on the day of the Tasha's incident.

Roux then showed an image of the table where the group had been sitting and showed that the width of the tables would have made it difficult for Fresco and Pistorius to lean to the point where their heads were only 30 centimeters apart.

Trial resumes on Wednesday morning.

The Star

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