2 minute read
13 Mar 2014
10:20 am

Oscar cop’s credentials questioned

Oscar Pistorius's lawyer began the ninth day of his murder trial in the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday by probing the qualifications of a forensic investigator.

Police forensic expert Colonel Johannes Vermeulen holds a cricket bat while standing next to the door of murder accused Oscar Pistorius' toilet during cross-examination at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday, 12 March 2014. Pistorius, a double amputee, has said he used the bat to break down a locked toilet door through which he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last year.He is on trial for premeditated murder. Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA/Pool

Replying to questions by Barry Roux, SC, for Pistorius, Colonel Johannes Vermeulen said he had completed courses in fibre comparisons, in explosives and paint analysis, and fire investigation.

He also completed a course with the trace evidence unit of the United States FBI in 1998.

On Wednesday he told the court he had a BSc with chemistry and zoology as majors, and a master’s degree in chemistry from North West University.

Roux asked Vermeulen if he would be willing to make available his own cellphone records from Wednesday night and Thursday morning. He did not explain why he wanted them. Vermeulen agreed.

Vermeulen on Wednesday testified about the cricket bat and the toilet door in Pistorius’s home. He used the bat to bash open the door after he had shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through it, thinking she was an intruder.

The door and the replica of the cubicle, complete with a toilet, cistern, and magazine rack, was still set up next to the witness box in court GD.

Four bullet holes are clustered on the right side of the door, just under the keyhole. The toilet is to the left of the door.

On Wednesday Vermeulen testified about the marks made on the door by the bat. He is the commander of the material analysis sub-section at the forensic science laboratory.

He told the court he had more than 29 years of experience in scientific analysis and completed almost 1400 forensic investigations.

Pistorius is accused of the premeditated murder of model and law graduate Steenkamp in his home on February 14 last year.

He is also charged with illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, and two counts of discharging a firearm in public.

He allegedly fired a shot from a Glock pistol under a table at a Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013.

On September 30, 2012 he allegedly fired a shot from his 9mm pistol through the open sunroof of a car while driving with friends in Modderfontein.