Oscar’s lawyer questions forensics

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INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Oscar Pistorius weeps while listening to text messages given in evidence by cell phone analyst Captain Francois Mollerl. Pistorius is standing trial at the Pretoria High Court for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Picture: C.Collingridge/TheStar/Pool

Pretoria - The final witness called for Tuesday was Colonel Johannes Gerhard Vermeulen, the forensic analyst who examined the bathroom door Pistorius shot through, as well as the cricket bat used to try and bash it down.

This was the second time he had taken the stand after being called to testify that Pistorius had been without his prosthetic legs when he used the bat on the door.

Defence advocate Barry Roux requested that Vermeulen be brought back to the stand.

Vermeulen was called to examine a new mark on the bathroom door that had been reconstructed in court.

But he told the court he couldn't see the mark.

Roux said that this new mark could not have been made by a cricket bat.

Vermeulen said that only the two lower marks were clearly made by a bat and no tests were conducted on the top mark.

When Roux asked why this third mark had not been examined, or tested to determine a physical match with the cricket bat, Vermeulen said he was satisfied with his work on the door.

Roux implied that police had not examined the other marks on the door because it did not fit with their version of events.

Earlier in the trial, the defence argued that other marks could have been created by Pistorius' prosthetic legs as he also tried to kick the door down, according to his bail hearing affidavit.

Roux said that the defence's own experts believed this top mark could be linked to the bat, but Vermeulen disagreed, considering how low the other two marks were.

He said it would be impossible for someone on stumps to reach such a height simply by moving closer to the door.

Roux asked why photos of him testing the bat against the other marks were not included in the police photo album. But Vermeulen said he didn't know where these pictures came from or why they were excluded.

Roux suggested investigators went into the case with a specific theory and closed to other versions of events, but Vermeulen said he went in with an open mind.

When last on the stand, Vermeulen's credentials were taken to task over if he'd conducted similar investigations before.

Vermeulen was able to provide other case files where his expertise had been necessary, and how he had used similar principles to prove a sequence of events.

Roux said the closer a person is to a door, the more powerful the person would be when striking it. Vermeulen said that this was only to a certain limit.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel also asked the court why the defence had requested Vermeulen's phone records after he had testified. But Roux said there was no need for them any longer.

The state then declared it had completed its case.

Roux said that there were a number of state witnesses not used that the defence could not legally consult, and they needed time to speak with those who are willing. He asked Judge Thokozile Masipa to postpone the case until Friday for this time.

Nel said it would be unreasonable for such an amount of time.

Masipa said it would only be fair for the defence to receive the postponement. The trial continues on Friday.

The Star

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


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