News / Africa

Prosecutor Calls Pistorius 'Deceitful Witness'

  • Reeva Steenkamp's parents, June (second from right) and Barry Steenkamp (second from left), arrive for the closing arguments in Oscar Pistorius' murder trial, at the high court in Pretoria, Aug. 7, 2014.
  • Oscar Pistorius (right) with his defense team Barry Roux (foreground), Brian Webber (left) and Kenny Oldwage (center) before the closing arguments, in the North Gauteng High Court, in Pretoria, Aug. 7, 2014.
  • State Prosecutor Gerrie Nel speaks during the closing arguments in the trial of Oscar Pistorius, in the North Gauteng High Court, in Pretoria, Aug. 7, 2014.
  • Oscar Pistorius arrives in court for the closing arguments of his trial, at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, Aug. 7, 2014.
  • Henke Pistorius, father of Oscar Pistorius, leaves after listening to the closing arguments in his son's murder trial at the high court, in Pretoria, Aug. 7, 2014.
Closing Arguments in the Pistorius Trial
VOA News

Final arguments have begun in the murder trial of former South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius, following months of gripping testimony that captured the world's attention.

Pistorius, once a national icon for reaching the pinnacle of sport despite having no lower legs, is accused of murdering his law graduate and model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, 29, at his home in Pretoria on Valentine's Day last year. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

Pistorius, 27, has denied the charge in the months-long trial in which he has at times sat weeping and vomiting in the dock as grisly details of Steenkamp's death were presented to the judge.

In his closing argument in the Pretoria courthouse, South African state prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked the judge on Thursday to reject Pistorius' defense as “devoid of any truth."

State's case

Nel set out the state's case that Pistorius deliberately shot and killed Steenkamp after an argument.

"It is the state's case the accused was a deceitful witness," said Nel, describing Pistorius's testimony was "absolutely devoid of any truth."

He said there are "glaring contradictions" in Pistorius' story.

Initially, Pistorius said he shot Steenkamp by mistake through a toilet door in his upmarket Pretoria home, believing her to be an intruder.

However under intense cross-examination, he said he accidentally shot his girlfriend as a result of deep-seated anxiety caused by his disability and did not mean to kill anyone.

Nel also said Pistorius had anxiety "on call," suggesting the runner manufactured a fear of crime to suit his version.

Legal analysts watching the case say the runner, once revered for his triumph over disability, did damage to his case by appearing to offer two different defenses.

Nearly 40 witnesses ranging from a jilted ex-girlfriend of Pistorius to a forensic geologist testified, creating a hefty record of more than 4,000 pages.

'Highly vulnerable individual'

Defense lawyers, who will present their closing arguments on Friday, have sought to portray Pistorius as a "highly vulnerable individual" obsessed with safety -- a result of a difficult childhood and his disability -- in a country with a sky-high crime rate.

In addition to the murder charge, Pistorius faces three separate gun-related charges, one of which stems from his alleged firing of a shot in a crowded restaurant called Tashas in Johannesburg, months before he killed Steenkamp. 

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Even if he is not found guilty of premeditated murder, Pistorius could still be convicted and jailed on alternative charges of murder or culpable homicide.

Because South Africa has no trial by jury, Judge Thokozile Masipa will decide with the help of two legal assistants if Pistorius committed murder, is guilty of a negligent killing, or if he made a tragic error and should be acquitted. The decision could take several weeks.

Masipa is only the second black woman to be appointed a high court judge in South Africa and has a reputation for handing down stiff sentences in crimes against women. 

Pistorius, a gold medalist Paralympian, rose to international fame when he competed alongside able-bodied runners at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.

You May Like

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by a joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop billions of dollars from illegally being moved out of continent each year More

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Some analysts say Russian Tu-95 bombers were flying near British airspace to warn Britain about an inquest into a murdered Russian spy More

Mugabe Defends Image Amid Controversy at Close of AU Summit

He rejects concerns about how the West might perceive his leadership, saying he's focused on African development More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jake
August 08, 2014 10:23 AM
Perhaps Barry Roux should have commented on the PIN CODE that Oscar forgot? This seems to have escaped his Heads of Argument that he presented to the Judge today, let alone two of those messages from Reeva, which were most revealing. No doubt too damaging for Oscar.


by: Timothy
August 07, 2014 3:24 PM
Absolutely devoid of any truth, is succinct. Four and a half thousand pages of the trial evidence illustrates the thoroughness of this trial and whilst painful for Reeva's family, it may bring some measure of closure in knowing that justice has taken its course.


by: Kafantaris from: Warren, Ohio
August 07, 2014 9:22 AM
Pistorius "did damage to his case by appearing to offer two different defenses."
This would be true in a jury case where the defendant either does not testify or he sticks to one story -- good or bad.
But it should not make a whole lot of difference with a judge trial since any testimony from the defendant can help to humanize him. And if the prosecutor has his way with him on the stand, this alone could ring some sympathy.


by: Dick from: Detroit
August 07, 2014 8:15 AM
Of course the prosecutor thinks he is a liar, that is what all prosecutors think about any defendant. They do not care about the truth nor do they use the truth to prosecute someone. It is the responsibility of the defense to come up with the truth to prove their innocence. Prosecutors rely on any little bit of information (fact or fiction) that can convict someone. They would be more then happy to put an innocent person in jail just to win a case.

In Response

by: alex aleman from: texas
August 07, 2014 9:58 AM
This man is gulity, done..if my wife is sleeping next to me wake her up, keep her safe from anyone..


by: Will from: Germany
August 07, 2014 7:31 AM
Now lets see what the other side has to say and hear some truths

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relationsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
January 31, 2015 10:50 PM
Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Neighborhood Divided Over Conflict

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk districts find themselves squarely in the path of advancing Russian-backed rebels, who want to take back the territory they held at the beginning of the conflict last year. Many local residents are afraid, but others would welcome the change, even when a rebel shell lands in their neighborhood. From the Luhansk district, 15 kilometers from where the Ukrainian government marks the front line, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid