Oscar trial: witness digs in

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Copy of PTA05_SAFRICA-PISTORIUS-_0304_11 REUTERS Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock ahead of the second day ahead of the start of his trial. Photo: Kim Ludbrook/Reuters

Pretoria - Oscar Pistorius's lawyer on Tuesday queried the evidence of a witness testifying in the murder trial of the Paralympian.

Barry Roux, for Pistorius, said Michelle Burger's statement given to police several days after the shooting did not match her testimony.

Burger told the High Court in Pretoria she heard screams, followed by the gunshots.

The screams subsided after the last shot.

Roux argued that this was not reflected in her statement, which was initially written in Afrikaans.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel objected, saying Burger had accurately relayed her statement, and the interpretation was reflected differently due to the changing of the statement from English to Afrikaans.

Nel said there were some phrases and words that could be explained in a shorter way in Afrikaans but needed a lengthier explanation in English.

Burger said: “My statement is a few pages long. I've been testifying for hours and I can explain the minute details to the court.”

Pistorius listened attentively to the proceedings.

Earlier on Tuesday, Burger, who heard screams the night of Reeva Steenkamp's killing, was questioned on why she thought there was an intruder in Pistorius's house.

“I thought there was an intruder… that was my perception. In my mind they were attacked in that house,” she said.

Burger's home is about 170m from Pistorius's Pretoria townhouse. She has testified that she heard screaming and four gunshots the night Steenkamp was killed.

Roux contended on Tuesday that Burger had been influenced by media reports on Steenkamp's murder.

He repeatedly told her to “just listen to the question please” when he was not satisfied with her replies.

The State will try to prove that Pistorius committed premeditated murder when he shot and killed Steenkamp through a bathroom door in his home on February 14 last year.

In addition, he is charged with premeditated murder and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

His lawyers will argue that he mistook her for an intruder when he shot through the door. - Sapa

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

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