10 April 2014

South Africa: It Was Not Deliberate - Oscar

Under pummelling cross-examination, Oscar Pistorius admitted Thursday that he had "no reason" to fire the shots that killed Reeva Steenkamp, as ... ( Resource: Pistorius at Trial Admits 'No Reason' to Fire Fatal Shots

Pretoria — Oscar Pistorius on Thursday claimed he did not remember firing four shots into a door in the deadly volley that killed Reeva Steenkamp.

He also told the High Court in Pretoria that he never touched the trigger of a Glock pistol that went off in his hand in a restaurant a few weeks earlier.

The double-amputee Olympic runner insisted his girlfriend's death was an accident, as he was cross-examined by State prosecutor Gerrie Nel for a second day in his murder trial.

"Do I remember firing four shots at the door? No, I don't... I remember pulling the trigger and rounds going into the door," Pistorius said.

Nel demanded to know if he had fired deliberately.

"I didn't mean to pull the trigger so in that sense it was an accident," Pistorius replied just before the court adjourned for lunch.

Earlier he said he did not know how it came about that a friend's pistol had fired a shot in a packed restaurant in Johannesburg while he was handling it.

"I didn't discharge the firearm. I don't remember having my finger on the trigger... I know my finger wasn't on the trigger," Pistorius said.

Not for the first time, Nel told the paralympic track star he was patently lying.

The prosecutor said it was impossible to set off that particular make of firearm without pressure on the trigger and Pistorius was therefore trying to convince the court of a "miracle".

"I'm putting it to you that you are lying. There is no way that firearm can discharge by itself," Nel said.

He added that Pistorius's response to the much-reported incident at Tasha's restaurant pointed to a pattern of failing to take responsibility for his actions, including killing his girlfriend.

"You just don't take responsibility for anything... you just don't do anything wrong."

The State indicated last year at Pistorius's bail hearing that it would adopt this argument as it tries to secure a conviction of premeditated murder that could see him jailed for life.

And for a second day, Pistorius struggled to remain calm as Nel went on the attack on all fronts -- from his attitude towards Steenkamp to the two times Pistorius allegedly set off a gun in public.

He asked why Pistorius had pleaded not guilty to charges relating to those incidents as well as being in possession of .38 ammunition without a licence.

Pistorius flatly denied having fired a shot from his handgun through the open sunroof of a car on an outing to the Vaal River, contradicting the testimony of two State witnesses who were with him.

"That story was fabricated, My Lady, it never happened."

Nel retorted: "But it's a bad fabrication .... it was a terrible fabrication between the two of them."

Earlier in the morning, Nel accused Pistorius of subjecting the Steenkamp family to a public spectacle by starting his testimony with a tearful apology from the stand, but stopping short of saying he was sorry for shooting dead the blonde model on Valentine's Day last year.

"The words 'I'm sorry I killed your daughter' were never in your apology ... You didn't think how they would feel sitting in a public court."

Pistorius started crying and said: "I'm terribly sorry that I took the life of their daughter."

Nel contends that Pistorius killed Steenkamp after the couple had a row, and on Thursday painstakingly took the athlete through arguments that played out in their text messages in the weeks before her death.

Reading out transcripts of Whatsapp messages, the prosecutor said Pistorius selfishly ignored Steenkamp's hurt feelings after they fought. When Steenkamp wrote that she had wanted to tell him that she was in love with him, he responded by suggesting a row at a friend's party was her fault.

"I'm the girl who fell in love with you and wanted to tell you this weekend," Nel quoted, and asked Pistorius why he did not reply to that sentiment.

"Wasn't that a significant event in your relationship? Why didn't you deal with that? You didn't care.

"You blamed her. Because it's all about Mr Pistorius. That's what your relationship was about," he sneered.

Nel continued to another message: "I get snapped at and told my accent and voices are annoying."

"What was that about?" he Nel.

Pistorius paused then said it happened while he was telling Steenkamp of a house he wanted to buy in Johannesburg.

"She was talking in an accent the whole time and it annoyed me," he said.

Nel again accused him of being selfish.

"I, Oscar was talking about my house and it's important to me that she listens to me... It's again about me, Oscar Pistorius."

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