Oscar’s lawyer fights back

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IOL pic feb21 oscar pistorius break in proceedings Reuters Oscar Pistorius stands in the dock during a break in court proceedings at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Wednesday. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko

Pretoria - Oscar Pistorius' lawyer sought to dismantle the State's murder case against the athlete at his bail application in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

“Your worship... the poor quality of the evidence of investigating officer (Hilton) Botha further exposed the disastrous shortcomings of the State's case,” argued Barry Roux.

He said there was no evidence of the premeditated murder of Pistorius's girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp as alleged by the State, and that it was not mentioned on the charge sheet at all.

He insisted Pistorius did not have a house in Italy, part of the State's contention that he could be a flight risk if granted bail.

Earlier, prosecutor Gerrie Nel turned to a feature on Pistorius in glossy women's magazine “Sarie”, reporting that he did have a house there.

Roux said if Pistorius had wanted to kill Steenkamp he did not need a locked toilet or bathroom.

“He could do it anywhere.”

Pistorius is charged with murdering Steenkamp, which he has denied in an affidavit, saying he thought there was an intruder in the house when he shot into the toilet she was in.

“There is no evidence that the applicant knew it was Reeva in the toilet,” said Roux.

It is up to Roux to show exceptional circumstances why Pistorius should be released after the charge was declared schedule six in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act by magistrate Desmond Nair.

Roux called the police investigation “poor” and said the charge should not even be schedule six, or even schedule five.

Pistorius' version was consistent with the “known evidence”, he said.

Before this, the court was stunned by a surprise application by a woman describing herself as an attorney.

She wanted to apply for Pistorius to be sent for a mental examination and for the case to be held in camera.

Nair dismissed this.

There has also been speculation over how the court will handle the news that Botha himself faces an attempted murder charge related to shots fired, reportedly during a police chase.

Nel told Nair the prosecution had not been aware of this. - Sapa


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