Oscar witness sticks to shouts and shots

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oscar mar 6

SAPA

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius arrives at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on the fourth day of his murder trial. Picture: Werner Beukes

Pretoria - Charl Johnson, the neighbour who allegedly heard screams and gunshots coming from the home of Oscar Pistorius on the night Reeva Steenkamp was killed, once again returned to the stand after a lengthy tea break.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel began his re-examination by asking Johnson to once again read from his notes.

Johnson had told a neighbour that there was no way there was a domestic violence incident at the home, as they had heard shouts from both a male and female.

He also said the screams did not sound like fighting, more like a distress call because of an attack.

Nel said the judgment in the bail application was in February 2013, and asked if Johnson had listened to it and heard how many shots had been fired the night of the murder.

Johnson said he had heard four shots were fired either through news media or from the bail judgment.

Nel said that if Johnson wanted to incriminate Pistorius, he would not have written in his notes that he had heard five or six shots.

Earlier, defence advocate Barry Roux grilled Johnson for about two hours.

Roux had returned to his theory that the sounds Burger and Johnson heard was the sound of Pistorius trying to break down the bathroom door with a cricket bat after the shooting.

Johnson said the rapid succession of the loud noises meant that it could not have been someone taking several swings with a heavy cricket bat.

He said that he would be able to identify the difference between a hard knock and a bullet.

But Roux attacked Johnson's perception, saying that the witness could not even remember how many shots were fired that night.

He then returned to the sound of the screams that night, once again saying that the “female” shouts that Johnson and his wife, first witness Michelle Burger, heard belonged to Pistorius in a state of extreme agitation.

Johnson said he was sure that he could tell the difference between the two sets of screams.

The deceased would have been, at the time he had heard the screams, behind a closed bathroom door.

Roux insisted that from such a distance, there was no way Burger and Johnson could have heard her.

Johnson said that even recently he could sometimes hear the jackal calls from an even further distance away, and that in the dead of night, the sound of screams could travel that far.

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