The testimony of pathologist Gert Saayman was interrupted twice
by Pistorius' sobbing and retching but the defense team argued
against an adjournment, saying a break would not improve the
27-year-old Paralympic and Olympic athlete's state of mind.
Earlier, Judge Thokozile Masipa imposed a broadcast blackout on
Saayman's testimony out of respect for Steenkamp's family and to
prevent viewers such as children from accidentally hearing its
"Broadcast would compromise the privacy of the deceased, hurt the
interests of the Steenkamps and be against the morals of society,"
Saayam said when he took the stand to argue for a temporary
broadcast blackout of the trial, which had so far been shown in its
entirety on live television.
Masipa, who has been presiding over the weeklong trial, extended
the ban to live reporting on Twitter.
Pistorius admits he shot 29-year-old Steenkamp but argues that it
was a tragic case of mistaken identity and that he thought she was
an intruder who had broken in to his luxury Pretoria home.
In his testimony, Saayman confirmed that Steenkamp died from
multiple gunshot wounds, having been hit in the head, arm and hip by
three shots fired through the locked door of a toilet cubicle. A
fourth round fired by Pistorius missed.
[to top of second column]
As Saayman spoke, Pistorius sat with head bowed, covering his ears
with his hands and a white handkerchief.
Sayaam is the first expert to testify at the trial, which has so far
heard several witnesses who reported hearing a woman screaming
before a volley shots in the early hours of February 14 at
The killing stunned South Africa and the millions of Pistorius
supporters around the world who admired the athlete as a symbol of
triumph over physical adversity.
He had his disabled lower legs amputated as a baby but — running on
carbon fiber prosthetic "blades" — made it to the semi-final of the
400 meters at the London 2012 Olympics competing against able-bodied
If found guilty of murder, he faces at least 25 years behind bars.
(Additional reporting by Lynette Ndabambi;
writing by Ed Cropley;
editing by David Dolan)
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