5 March 2014

South Africa: More Tasha's Testimony at Pistorius Trial

Photo: Werner Beukes/SAPA
Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius appears in court (file photo).

Pretoria — Maria Loupis, wife of Tasha's restaurant owner Jason Loupis, testified about a shot fired at a table shared by murder-accused Oscar Pistorius and his friends last year.

The testimony, in the High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday, relates to count two of his charges -- discharging a firearm in a public place.

This emerged after he was charged for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his home on February 14 last year.

Testifying straight after her husband, she said after hearing the shot going off in the restaurant she went to the table Pistorius was sitting at with friends Darren Fresco, boxer Kevin Lerena and Martyn Rooney.

It was lunchtime on Friday January 11, 2013 and the 220-seater in Johannesburg's upmarket Melrose Arch was full.

Her husband earlier told the court that Fresco said the gun had caught on his tracksuit pants and discharged accidentally.

Maria Loupis said: "I asked him (Darren) what was the first rule of owning a gun? Should it be safety first? He said 'yes I know'.

"I hit him over the head," she said, pulling a face as though she looked embarrassed, as a chuckle rose in the public gallery in defiance of strict orders to be silent in court.

Pistorius himself gave her no explanation, as she stood at their corner table with a friend.

Jason Loupis testified he heard a loud bang while he was tending to diners in the outdoor section.

He went inside in the direction of the noise, to where Pistorius, Fresco, Rooney and Lerena were having soft drinks.

"Guys, what happened here?" Jason Loupis recalled.

"They all looked at me, and I said 'no serious...'

"Then Mr Fresco said, 'Sorry Jason my gun fell out my tracksuit pants. I said 'Listen are you guys being serious because this is not a joke'."

Jason Loupis looked around to see if everything was all right and told his wife what had happened saying "can you believe that was a gun" and his wife went and spoke to the group at the table.

He remembered everybody apologising, that the bill was paid, but does not remember an offer to cover the damages for the hole in the restaurant floor.

Maria Loupis was released from the stand.

The trial was adjourned until Thursday.

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