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State witnesses in Oscar trial were independent – Nel

State witnesses in Oscar Pistorius trial were independent and did not discuss their evidence to make sure it was the same, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Thursday.

“State witnesses are all independent witnesses. There is no indication that they even knew of each other’s existence before this incident happened,” prosecutor Gerrie Nel said in his closing arguments.

“They did not know each other. None of them have ever met the accused or the deceased.”

Pistorius is charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year.

He shot her through the locked door of his toilet at his Pretoria home.

Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. The State contends he shot her during an argument.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act, one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public. He has pleaded not guilty to these charges as well.

On Thursday, Nel said the common ground between the State witnesses was “exceptional”.

It was amazing that people who never met made statements with so much corroboration. Even as far as emotion was involved.

The argument that they were in the same witness room was invalid, he said.

“We argue that the demeanour of the State witnesses was such that it exhibited an unblemished view that they came to court with no other intention but to tell the truth.”

Nel said the defence had focused on minute details of the State witnesses, and there was an absence of conspiracy.

Moving on to more evidence Pistorius submitted, Nel said the athlete created the sound in the bathroom.

Nel said according to Pistorius’s evidence he shot immediately after hearing the sound in the toilet.

“At that stage the deceased was standing upright and facing the door which was directly in front of her,” Nel said.

“The magazine rack was not in her proximity and it is therefore physically impossible for her to have caused the movement which created any sound before the first shot.”

Pistorius’s version on this was “so improbable” that no court would ever accept it.

The State argued that was in fact impossible, Nel said.

Nel said experts called by the defence also contradicted his version.

Pistorius knew where Steenkamp was standing and that’s why he shot her, Nel said.

The defence failed to ask Pistorius to scream after saying he sounded like a woman when he screamed, he said.

“Normal human behaviour would dictate that if you see your loved one lying in a pool of blood you would scream more than ever,” he said.

“He had to tailor a version for him to stop [screaming] because that’s when she stopped.”

– Sapa

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