“My life is on the line. Of course I’m thinking about the consequences of my answers,” Pistorius said to Nel during cross-examination.
“And Reeva doesn’t have life anymore,” Nel fired back. There were gasps from the public gallery.
“Listen to the question and stop thinking about the implications for you,” Nel ordered him, raising his voice.
Shortly before this exchange Nel, asked him if his gun had gone off accidentally when he fired four shots through the door of his toilet, killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14 last year.
Pistorius began a long explanation.
“When I fired… I believed that someone was coming out of the toilet to attack me… I didn’t have time to think about what was happening… I believed that my life was in danger… when I heard a noise I didn’t have time to think. Before thinking, out of fear, I had fired four shots,” he said, sniffing back tears.
“Why are you emotional now that the question is difficult?” Nel snapped.
Judge Thokozile Masipa intervened.
“I don’t think you can ask him why now. He has been emotional throughout.”
There were mutters of agreement from the gallery.
Nel concluded the day’s proceedings with a final question.
“Did you ever purposely fire shots into the door?”
“No,” Pistorius replied.
The athlete is also charged with contravening the Firearms Control Act. 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 shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.
Pistorius has denied guilt on all the charges.