Pistorius, who had his lower legs amputated as a baby, is accused
of murdering his law graduate and model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
at his home in Pretoria on Valentine's Day last year. If convicted,
he could face life in prison.
Since the trial opened in early March, the defense team has worked
to portray Pistorius as a vulnerable and caring boyfriend who killed
29-year-old Steenkamp accidentally after mistaking her for an
intruder hiding behind a closed toilet door.
The prosecution led by Gerrie Nel has argued Pistorius is a
gun-obsessed hot-head who often lost his temper with Steenkamp.
"If you find a homeless person on the street, that person would be
vulnerable? If you find poor people, without houses with alarms and
guards, they will be vulnerable?" Nel said in his cross-examination
of defense witness Wayne Derman, doctor of the South African
Paralympic team which had included Pistorius.
"In this instance we found somebody ... living in a security complex
with an alarm system and guards. If Mr Pistorius was vulnerable on
that night, he armed himself ... with a gun in his hand, he is less
vulnerable," Nel added.
In previous testimony, Derman said that Pistorius had a "heightened
fight response" due to his disability, which would explain his
actions that led to the shooting of Steenkamp.
During the cross-examination, Nel asked Derman several times if he
had ever seen Pistorius walk backwards on the stumps of his legs,
without his prosthetics on.
Video footage aired on Sunday by Australian television Channel 7,
showing a re-enactment by Pistorius of his movements on the night of
Steenkamp's shooting, include a scene in which he walks backwards on
On Monday, Derman denied ever seeing the athlete walk backwards and
the Channel 7 video was not explicitly mentioned in the court
[to top of second column]
Other parts of the re-enactment footage screened in Channel 7's
Sunday Night program show a confident and composed Pistorius,
without his prosthetic legs, moving forward with his right arm
extended as though pointing a gun.
The family lawyers of the accused athlete said the "visual mapping"
re-enactment was for trial preparation only and they alleged it had
been "obtained illegally" by Channel 7. The Australian channel
denied it had obtained the video unlawfully.
Despite some speculation that the leak of the re-enactment video
might cause problems, the Pistorius trial resumed without a hitch on
The court heard last week that the athlete was not suffering from a
mental condition when he shot Steenkamp, meaning he had the ability
to distinguish between the rightful or wrongful nature of his
Pistorius, known as 'Blade Runner' because of the carbon-fiber
prosthetics he uses on the track, had become world famous as a
symbol of triumph over adversity, overcoming his disability to race
against able-bodied men at the London 2012 Olympics.
The defense team is expected to wrap up its case on Tuesday before
both legal teams retire to prepare closing statements.
(Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Pascal Fletcher and Gareth Jones)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.