Oscar Pistorius’s lawyer Barry Roux, SC, began interrogating a statement by the first police officer on the scene of Reeva Steenkamp’s death on Friday (14/03/2014).
Former police colonel Giliam van Rensburg told the High Court in Pretoria he went upstairs with Warrant Officer Hilton Botha, following the trail of Steenkamp’s blood, after he got to Pistorius’s home in the early hours of February 14 last year.
Pistorius is on trial for Steenkamp’s murder.
“Who went upstairs according to your paragraph 10?” Roux asked Van Rensburg during cross-examination.
He was referring to part of a statement Van Rensburg had made.
“I went,” Botha replied, as the clicking of laptop keyboards from the journalists in the public gallery intensified.
“Where is Hilton Botha?” Roux fired back.
“He was with me,” retorted Van Rensburg.
“Where in your statement is Hilton Botha?” Roux asked.
Van Rensburg explained that he was using the words I and we interchangeably.
Botha was the first investigating officer assigned to the case. It later emerged that he mishandled evidence. He subsequently resigned from the police and was replaced by Lt-Gen Vineshkumar Moonoo.
Before this exchange there had been a lull in proceedings of about 45 minutes, punctuated with long silences as Van Rensburg thought about his replies.
Time in the windowless, wood-panelled courtroom seemed to drag on as Roux asked about who Van Rensburg was with in Pistorius’s home, the cellphones, and cricket bat found on the scene.
Van Rensburg sighed several times, his voice often trailing off. At one point Roux paused, lowered his head and rubbed his eyes and forehead.
Then the tension rose as Roux asked: “Colonel, you remember at the beginning of my cross-examination I said what you are doing is to take the place of Hilton Botha, to make him an unnecessary witness?”
This led to the exchange of whether Botha had accompanied Van Rensburg upstairs.
Pistorius claims he shot Steenkamp through the locked door of his toilet cubicle thinking she was an intruder.
He bashed open the door with a cricket bat and carried her bleeding, lifeless body downstairs.
Pistorius is accused of the premeditated murder of model and law graduate Steenkamp. He is also charged with contraventions in terms of the Firearms Control Act.
He allegedly fired a shot from a Glock pistol under a table at a Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013. On September 30, 2012 he allegedly fired a shot from his 9mm pistol through the open sunroof of a car while driving with friends in Modderfontein. – Sapa