Police Accused of Mishandling Evidence in the Oscar Pistorius Murder Trial

Police officer testifies his colleagues were clumsy handling evidence and even stole a luxury watch.
3:00 | 03/14/14

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Transcript for Police Accused of Mishandling Evidence in the Oscar Pistorius Murder Trial
This is a special. -- from the EC. The Oscar -- -- murder trial focusing today on what the defense is calling. Some seriously sloppy police work over when I'm -- attorney or quit as ABC news digital special report the famous Olympian in court again today. As the officers who handled evidence of the crime scene last year after the story is shot his girlfriend to death. Were raked over the -- accused of mishandling evidence. ABC's Matt -- is in -- courtroom Victoria watching it all play out. Hey Daniel it's been said that unscripted stories as the fastest men -- -- fleet. But today in that courtroom behind -- we saw the police running now first up for the prosecution the lead investigator. In this possible murder. And within minutes he began describing multiple instances of police mishandling of evidence. In one instance -- talking about a watch one of two watches that disappeared that night -- it was insinuated that one of his own officers had stolen. And another case this officer described seeing what it -- cops picking up the murder weapon. Taking out the -- Gazing at it. Putting it back here and when this police colonel the lead investigator started yelling at -- contaminating evidence. The -- just put it right back down on the bloody towel that was before the defense even got to that. Once -- defense actually did. They begin. This -- -- this police colonel making him -- two different sets of photos and showing him that you basically could tell the difference between them even though they were obviously different. The defense going on to reduce -- to a mumbling puddle of a policeman. Essentially insinuating that crime -- had been contaminated. That almost photos that we've seen are unreliable and that some of them may even have been staged Dan. I'm Matt thank you that in Pretoria South Africa a -- -- bring it out ABC news chief legal analysts and Nightline anchor Dan Abrams talk about some of the developments today in debt. The defense essentially going on the offense that -- -- the stories is turning succeed. In discrediting the police investigation. Sure and the police investigation is worthy of being discredited. But you have to ask yourself how important is that in the context -- this case there is no question. That there were problems with the sanctity of the evidence. There word -- -- -- -- stolen from the crime scene. If people were saying one thing in doing something else observed touching evidence in ways that they shouldn't these -- all problems for the police. But the reason it's not as big a problem as it might be in another type of case. He's remembered this isn't about. Who done it. This isn't even about whether he did it. It's about. Why he did it. That doesn't mean you know that the physical evidence matters that do work for example remains an incredibly important piece of physical evidence in this case. But it does mean that a lot of the other evidence which in another case you'd be trying to link to the defend -- to say. This person did this person was -- Those become slightly less important. In the context of this particular case. So that the stolen watched and as we've been talking -- -- the police officer even admitting in fact that it was taken in the bedroom that -- under investigation. Out but as you point out though it's an interest he moved on the defense's part outlook and you have to do it if you the defense attorney and -- is reminiscent of the OJ Simpson case I don't say that answered every high profile case. But having covered the OJ Simpson case. This is the sort of defense we saw -- there. Which was pick apart every single part of the defense but again. The difference there was he were trying to link. The evidence back to OG cents to say OJ Simpson was at the crime scene. There was a bloody -- there was blood in in in the car. All of those things were really crucial pieces of evidence here we -- he was there. We know he fired the gun. And so as a result some of its physical evidence is just a little less important. Actually a lot less important -- -- talk we talk but -- but yesterday the difference with how that kind of a defense how that kind of testament -- play with the jury. As opposed to with the judge which is the case in -- case I ache and you know this this really does get to speculate but I do think. That police bungling. Might be more powerful in front of a jury in front of a judge particularly in South Africa at -- I think that this judge. He's going to say to some degree. This stuff happens. It's the same way that Oscar the story is -- trying to use the reverse which is he's trying to say look if you -- stay in South Africa. You'll understand why I was scared you'll understand why. My immediate reaction as he claims upon hearing noise was to -- rush in there with a gun. You have to understand South Africa to understand that as part of his defense. -- -- it the reverse may apply as well which is look. In our investigations. Things aren't always pristine. We're still working through -- criminal justice system were still trying to get it up to the level we'd like it to be so I think that that that's sort of argument about how things may be different in South Africa -- -- I think that did -- judge. -- factor that in and as a result. Not give as much significance. To what are real problems. Would this police investigation. Given the fact that the defense took this approach that you say that -- and it had a different makes any kind of a change in their approach in. Putting the story is on the stand himself now. I think that you look the only reason they're not gonna put the stories on the stand is that they think things are going so well for them. That they don't need to -- and again. If this were a different case they might -- out. Look at all look at the ways we -- credited the police here. In such significant ways we don't need to put him on the stand the difference in this case -- He shot his girlfriend. In his own home multiple times witnesses. Claimed to have heard an argument before that shooting. Those two facts in an of itself I think. Require for story us to take the stand. But we shall we who as certainly as well and analysts and I hate to put you on the spot about obviously need to ask -- how much longer do we expect the trial economy today's developments really something we couldn't sports scene. I mean is it even possible to look -- sure I mean look I never believed it -- people's supposed to be a three week trial I think. I ain't kidding -- three week trial consider all the evidence that the I've heard is coming up in this case so I think we have you know I don't think we -- -- months ahead. But we certainly have I think. More than a month. But less than at less than a few months so I think we have the weeks ahead of -- of testimony from the prosecution. And and the defense. And then you know the questions going to be. If the stories takes the stand how long is he on the stand and remembered the in this one other issue which is how long it takes -- challenge to reach a verdict this judge isn't an issue a verdict right away. It could take many months so unlike a trial here where we the jury immediately goes back and and we get a verdict within a day -- a few days or a week couple weeks. Here this could take months before the judge comes back whatever ABC's Dan Abrams the latest on that down always appreciate your time insight analysis on this. Of course this is betting that a special report on Oscar -- extra debt Cutler and New York of course you can keep up with the story in real time. By downloading -- ABC news at star in this story. For exclusive updates on the --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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