Perumal still on Oscar defence team

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AP

File photo: Oscar Pistorius stares ahead as he yawns in court while listening to forensic evidence. Photo: Themba Hadebe/AP

Johannesburg - Pathologist Reggie Perumal has not withdrawn from the legal team defending murder accused Oscar Pistorius, the athlete's lawyers said on Friday.

According to media reports, Perumal has said he would no longer testify in the “Blade Runner's” murder trial, amid suggestions that his post mortem findings supported key parts of the prosecution's case.

Attorney Brian Webber said in a statement, “In the light of some disturbing media reporting... which is both incorrect and misleading, we are forced to state the following:

“Dr Reggie Perumal was engaged by the defence team to attend the post mortem of Ms Reeva Steenkamp following the tragic events on the 14th of February 2013.

“He remains a member of the defence team and continues to assist in his capacity as an expert consultant. The media reports suggesting that he has “withdrawn” from the defence team are devoid of all truth,” Webber said.

“The decision to call an additional forensic pathologist was made on the basis of Perumal's availability.”

Perumal was reported to have spoken to the French news agency, Agence France-Presse, saying he refused to disclose why he would not testify in the paralympic athlete's trial.

“I think you're aware that I can't say anything right now,” he was quoted as saying.

Webber clarified that ballistics expert Wollie Wolmarans also remained part of their team.

“Any suggestion to the contrary is malicious and misleading,” he said.

Pistorius was charged with murder following the death of Steenkamp.

Testifying before the High Court in Pretoria, he said he shot her through a locked toilet door at his home thinking she an intruder.

The incident occurred in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year.

The State, however, argues that he gunned down his model and law-graduate girlfriend intentionally following an argument.

Pistorius is furthermore charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act.

He has denied guilt on all charges. - Sapa


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