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Oscar washed hands before tests: cop

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REUTERS

Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock during court proceedings at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. Photo: Kim Ludbrook/Reuters

Pretoria - An investigator who probed the scene after Oscar Pistorius shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp has told the court of the forensic test he conducted on the athlete.

Barend “Bennie” van Staden was the crime scene photographer who also dealt with Pistorius just hours after the shooting.

Van Staden said when he arrived on the scene, he went to the garage alone, but Carl, Pistorius' brother was there as well.

He also said no one had been allowed upstairs before the scene was cleared.

The officer also noted that later in the day, Aimee Pistorius arrived with a friend to pick up clothes for Oscar, but that she didn't go near the bathroom.

Defence advocate Barry Roux began his cross-examination by asking if Van Staden had undisturbed access to the scene, and whether he was the only one on taking photographs on the scene. He responded yes to both questions. After consulting his photo albums, Van Staden said he took 9 photos of Pistorius on the scene.

Roux asked that Van Staden bring the metadata of the images to court, prompting prosecutor Gerrie Nel to object, saying the defence should check the printed data provided if that was what they were after.

Roux tried to argue that Van Staden actually arrived after 5am, but the officer insisted he arrived at around 4.50am.

He said he'd only been informed by investigator, Hilton Botha, that Pistorius had shot his girlfriend, but didn't have any further information prior to his own investigation.

He said that Botha had taken him through the home to familiarise himself with the scene.

When Van Staden was with Pistorius in the garage, he said the athlete was “very quiet, very emotional”.

Van Staden had introduced himself and told Pistorius his job description. The officer went to speak with Botha in the kitchen, who said at first that Pistorius had not washed his hands. But Botha went to check with another investigator - and a former witness in the trial - Colonel Giliam van Rensburg, who said that the athlete had washed the blood from his hands.

Roux insisted that police gave Pistorius permission to wash his hands.

Van Staden said police had done a primary residue test on Pistorius' arms. He said it would take seconds to conduct this test on the arms for gun powder residue.

He said he needed to do the whole arm because of Pistorius washing his hands.

Roux tried to determine whether the test for each arm was kept separately, and Van Staden said different kits would be used for different body parts.

But the defence suggested that Van Staden had taken longer than “seconds” to complete the test.

Van Staden insisted that it was an easy test, and could be completed very quickly.

Roux asked Van Staden to bring the test and relevant data to court, which he said could be done.

The advocate also demanded the other photos of Pistorius not handed over to the defence that Van Staden had taken that night.

Van Staden then clarified, saying he had only taken four photos of Pistorius, but the others were actually of the prosthetic legs Pistorius had been wearing.

Roux put it to the court that Pistorius had said there were many photos taken of him, but Van Staden denied this.

Van Staden said he was only joined by Botha upstairs after he'd finished recording the crime scene alone.

The trial continues...

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