State prosecutor Gerrie Nel File photo: Herman Verwey
State prosecutor Gerrie Nel File photo: Herman Verwey

Vergeer faces more questions from Nel

By Time of article published Oct 15, 2014

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Pretoria - State prosecutor Gerrie Nel is expected to continue the cross-examination of social worker Annette Vergeer on Wednesday in sentencing proceedings in the Oscar Pistorius case.

Vergeer, who is also a probation officer, began presenting her report on Pistorius to the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday.

In the report, which the defence paid her to compile, she recommended that Pistorius - who has been convicted of culpable homicide for the shooting of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp - be sentenced to three years of correctional supervision and community service.

During cross-examination, Vergeer said she did not believe that the double amputee would be safe or provided with the right facilities for his disability in prison.

“They cannot eliminate his vulnerability and they cannot secure his safety,” she told the court.

Nel, however, questioned why she did not trust prison officials as being professional people who knew how to deal with people with disabilities.

He also criticised Vergeer for providing evasive answers at times.

This week, Judge Thokozile Masipa began hearing from a number of witnesses during sentencing proceedings in the Pistorius case.

On September 12, Masipa found the athlete not guilty of murdering Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse on Valentine's Day last year, but convicted him of culpable homicide.

Pistorius has maintained throughout that he shot Steenkamp through the locked door of the toilet, thinking she was an intruder about to emerge and attack him.

Judge Thokozile Masipa also found Pistorius guilty of discharging a firearm in public during an incident at a Johannesburg restaurant. - Sapa

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