Oscar Pistorius Dropped 'Baton of Truth,' Prosecutor Argues

Oscar Pistorius appears in a courtroom at his murder trial in Pretoria, South Africa, Thursday, Aug. 7 2014.
Share
Copy

A South African prosecutor urged a court today to convict paralympian sprinter Oscar Pistorius of murder, claiming the Blade Runner had "dropped the baton" of truth when he testified about the death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel, known as the "bull terrier" for his aggressive style, discussed discrepancies in Pistorius' testimony and a shift in Pistorius' defense, claiming the legless athlete initially claimed that he fired at what he thought was an intruder and later said he didn't mean to fire but the gun went off because he was startled.

"We have two defenses, and we want the court to pick one," Nel said.

The prosecutor compared the trial to a relay race and said the legless athlete had "dropped the baton of truth."

Pistorius, 27, is charged in the Valentine’s Day 2013 shooting death of Steenkamp. Prosecutors argue that he intentionally shot Steenkamp through a bathroom door after a loud argument.

Nel mocked Pistorius' emotional testimony which was repeatedly interrupted by loud sobs and uncontrolled crying.

"We cannot argue that he was the worst witness ever, that honor belongs to someone else," Nel said in his written argument. "The accused was, however, demonstrably one of the worst witnesses ever encountered."

He said Pistorius' crying on the witness stand were "well-calculated and rehearsed emotional outbursts to deflect the attention and avoid having to answer questions."

Oscar Pistorius Prosecutors Ignore Leaked Video

Oscar Pistorius Doc Describes 'Two Oscars' With and Without Legs

The prosecution is focusing on 13 incongruities it identified in Pistorius' testimony, Nel said in his 100 page written argument.

Pistorius' lawyer, Barry Roux, will wrap up the trial Friday when he makes his oral argument.

Then it’s up to Judge Thokozile Masipa, who, along with the help of two legal assistants, will determine the athlete’s fate. South Africa does not use juries in trials.

Pistorius, who also faces gun charges, could be sentenced to at least 25 years in prison if found guilty of murder.

The trial, running intermittently since March 3 at the High Court in Pretoria, has featured testimony from mental health officials, ballistics experts, friends, managers, neighbors and an ex-girlfriend of Pistorius.

PHOTO: Oscar Pistorius cradles his head in his hands as he listens to evidence during his murder trial in Pretoria, South Africa, May 8, 2014.
Gianluigi Guercia/AP Photo
PHOTO: Oscar Pistorius cradles his head in his hands as he listens to evidence during his murder trial in Pretoria, South Africa, May 8, 2014.

The trial has been marked by the athlete’s emotions, from deep, wailing sobs to vomiting as Steenkamp’s injuries were discussed. He's also studied a religious text and fingered rosary beads during the trial.

In addition, he was examined by a battery of mental health experts who said he is suffering from depression and raised the possibility of him being suicidal.

Prior to the shooting, Pistorius was seen as an international inspiration, an Olympian known as “Blade Runner” for his prosthetic legs.

PHOTO: Oscar Pistorius sits in court for his ongoing murder trial in Pretoria, South Africa, May 12, 2014.
Chrsi Collingridge/AP Photo
PHOTO: Oscar Pistorius sits in court for his ongoing murder trial in Pretoria, South Africa, May 12, 2014.

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he could face 25 years to life behind bars.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
A Gilchrist county sheriffs car sits at the end of a trailer home where 7 members of a family were slain by their grandfather in Bell, FL, Thursday, Sept., 18, 2014. The grandfather, Don Spirit, pictured, also killed himself.
Phil Sandlin/AP Photo | Gilchrist County Sheriffs Office
PHOTO:
St. Andre Bessette Catholic Church in Ecorse Michigan
PHOTO: Phoenix police officers escort Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer, to the 4th Avenue Jail following his arrest, Sept. 17, 2014 in Phoenix.
The Arizona Republic, David Kadlubowski/AP Photo