A police photographer insisted on Tuesday (18/03/2014) he changed nothing on the scene of Reeva Steenkamp’s death when he took the first pictures of it.
Warrant Officer Barend van Staden was being re-examined by prosecutor Gerrie Nel in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius in the High Court in Pretoria.
“When you took the first photos did you change the scene?” asked Nel.
“No,” Van Staden replied confidently.
During questioning by Nel, Van Staden also amended what he said to Barry Roux, SC, for the paralympic athlete, earlier, about the position of a cricket bat on the tiled floor of Pistorius’s bathroom.
Van Staden conceded to Roux that the bat had been moved, when shown two photos of it taken from different angles.
Shown the same two photos by Nel, he changed tack.
Nel asked him to compare the position of the bat in relation to a large drop of blood near its tip, and the placement of a fragment of tile in relation to the handle, in the two photos.
“Taking into account the angle of the bat, was the bat moved?” Nel asked.
“No, My Lady,” Van Staden replied.
Pistorius used the bat to break open the locked door of his toilet after he shot Steenkamp through it, apparently believing she was an intruder.
The policeman was however unable to explain away an argument by Roux that he and a second policeman were on the scene at the same time, in the same room, taking photos around 6am on February 14 last year.
Van Staden had insisted he was alone.
As Nel went over the matter again, Roux looked on from his chair, smiling.
“How did you miss him?” Nel asked, referring to the other officer.
Van Staden hesitated before he said: “My Lady, as I testified, I was alone in the bathroom when I took the photos.”
Van Staden is attached to the photography section of the Local Criminal Record Centre. He had been with the centre for 12 years, and in the police for 21.
After Van Staden was excused from the witness box, Nel asked the court to adjourn so he could begin questioning blood spatter expert Colonel Ian van der Nest on Wednesday morning.
Judge Thokozile Masipa declined his request and Nel called ballistics expert Captain Chris Mangena to the stand.
Pistorius has been charged with premeditated murder and contravening the Firearms Control Act.
He has denied guilt on all charges. – Sapa