‘Test Oscar scream claim on stand’

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Copy of st pg 1 main oscar .JPG (40434164) REUTERS Oscar Pistorius tries to block out evidence being led at his murder trial in the High Court in Pretoria. Photo: Kim Ludbrook / Pool

Pretoria - Unless Oscar Pistorius is called to scream out loudly in court, no one will ever know if he really screams like a woman, said a criminology and forensic studies lecturer from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

“With the OJ Simpson case (in the US), they had him stand in court and put on the glove (that the prosecution said linked Simpson to the grisly double murder of his former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman). The glove didn’t fit,” said Dr Jackie de Wet.

While he agreed that people’s voices could pitch to different levels when they screamed, “a man’s voice, generally, will have a lower tone to a woman’s”.

“That one is a hard one. Anything is possible. You can never discount anything until it’s proven. Unless they have Oscar in court screaming, then we won’t know.”

On advocate Barry Roux SC’s assertion that witnesses may have mistaken the noise made by a cricket bat hitting a wooden door for gunshots, De Wet said: “The argument of a cricket bat banging against the door… I’m not sure. It’s really hard to understand how someone can mistake a cricket bat for a gunshot.”

“There’s no way a cricket bat would sound like a gunshot. The witness said she was 170m away. The noise had to travel several walls and distance, so with a bat it could have faded. Gunshots really makes a distinct clupping sound,” he said.

He added that another possibility could be that since it was still early in the morning, with people sleeping, the noise could have been pronounced.

But, generally, the defence team were just “doing their job of breaking apart the witness’ evidence”, he said.

“That’s why they are pulling apart every piece of evidence.”

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