Oscar Trial: Phone disclosure compromises witness
The third State witness to testify in Oscar Pistorius's murder trial told the High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday he had been inundated with phone calls after his cellphone number was read out in court.
IT designer Charl Johnson said he got a voice message from someone asking him why he lied in court, as he should know that Pistorius did not kill his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Johnson, being questioned by prosecutor Gerrie Nel, had to switch his phone off after he was hit by calls after Tuesday’s proceedings. When he turned it on again later he had a flood of messages waiting for him. One of these was from an “overseas person”.
A member of Pistorius’s defence team read out Johnson’s cellphone number in court while cross-examining him on Tuesday.
Shortly after this a muffled electronic voice emerged from a journalist’s laptop in the public gallery and squawked for several tense seconds as silence fell over the court.
Judge Thokozile Masipa craned her neck to locate the source of the noise.
“What is this disturbance?” she asked.
A woman in the second row of the public gallery began to apologise.
“Stand up,” Masipa ordered her.
“It was a pop-up on my laptop that I didn’t know about. I’m sorry,” she said.
“I hope this is the last time… I don’t like it,” Masipa said, and proceedings continued.
The State will try to prove that Pistorius committed premeditated murder when he shot Reeva Steenkamp through the toilet door in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year.
In addition he is charged with illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, and recklessly discharging a firearm in public.
Pistorius contends he mistook her for an intruder when he shot through the toilet door.