Cellphone expert to testify in Oscar trial

THE state is to deliver what it believes will be one of the final nails in the coffin in its case against murder accused Oscar Pistorius.

Paralympian Pistorius will appear in the Pretoria High Court today as his trial enters its fourth week.

His appearance follows the Office of the Chief Justice having announced yesterday that the trial would run until May 16.

The “Blade Runner” is standing trial for the murder of his girlfriend, former Port Elizabeth model Reeva Steenkamp, 29, whom he shot dead in the toilet of his luxury home in Pretoria.

He maintains the Valentine’s Day killing was an accident, but the state believes the killing was premeditated and followed a heated argument.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel is set to wrap up his case this week with at least four more witnesses, including police cellphone technology experts taking the stand.

Those expected to testify include Captain Francois Moller, a cellphone data analyst. He, along with his commander, Colonel Mike Sales, and Lieutenant-General Vinsehkumar Moonoo, who has been overseeing the police investigation, travelled to Apple’s headquarters in the US last month to gain access to encrypted data on one of Pistorius’s iPhone5s.

One source close to the prosecution team said: “We cannot divulge too much. Let’s just say the week will see some interesting questions being posed for Pistorius to answer when and if he takes the stand.”

Meanwhile, Lulama Luti, spokeswoman for the Office of the Chief Justice, confirmed the trial’s extension until the middle of May.

She said the trial would run from today until April 4 and then break for the court recess, from April 7 to April 11.

“The trial will then resume on April 14 and continue until May 16.

“The extension will allow both parties to present and conclude their prospective cases, including finishing leading evidence and cross-examination,” Luti said. – Graeme Hosken


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