Judge Thokozile Masipa granted the state's request for a
postponement to avoid conflicts with other cases. Prosecutor Gerrie
Nel — nicknamed "The Pitbull" for his aggressive style — tore into
defense witness Roger Dixon, questioning his credibility and
Pistorius, 27, is on trial for the murder of girlfriend Reeva
Steenkamp, whom he shot dead with four rounds from a 9mm pistol on
Valentine's Day last year in his plush Pretoria house.
The track star insists he killed the 29-year-old law graduate and
model after mistaking her for an intruder hiding in the toilet.
Dixon, a forensic geologist and former police officer, testified
that Steenkamp was standing at an angle to the door with her arm out
in front of her, suggesting she was reaching for the handle, when
Pistorius shot her dead.
The testimony challenged the version of the state, which has sought
to portray Pistorius as a gun-obsessed hot-head who murdered
Steenkamp after an argument.
But Nel heaped scorn on Dixon's expertise, prompting Masipa to tell
the advocate to restrain himself.
When the geologist said on Wednesday he tested the sound of a
cricket bat hitting a wooden door to see if it could be confused
with the sound of a gunshot, Nel asked:
"Do you need to be an expert to do that? What expert skills did you
use, wielding a bat? So your expertise was wielding a bat?"
At another point, Dixon confessed to being a "layman" with no
professional experience in blood spatter analysis, forensic
pathology or ballistics.
After asking Dixon for another of his findings, Nel added: "I use
the word 'finding' loosely".
[to top of second column]
The defense has sought to prove that some of Pistorius' neighbors
mistook the sound of the track star breaking down the door with a
bat for that of a gunshot. Pistorius says he broke the door in a
frantic effort to save Steenkamp after realizing he had shot her.
The trial, which has garnered massive domestic and international
attention, is due to resume on May 5, two days before South Africa
goes to the polls for a national election.
Defense advocate Barry Roux is expected to call his next witness
once the trial resumes.
Before the shooting, Pistorius was one of the most revered figures
in sport, a man who had his lower legs amputated as a child but who
reached the semi-finals of the 400m at the London Olympics in 2012
running on carbon-fiber prosthetic 'blades'.
(Writing by Nomatter Ndebele; editing by David Dolan and Ed Cropley)
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