2 minute read
11 Apr 2014
10:50 am

Judge Masipa checks in on Pistorius

Judge Thokozile Masipa gave Oscar Pistorius a chance to say he was tired and making mistakes during his murder trial in the High Court in Pretoria on Friday.

FILE PICTURE: South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius gestures on the thirteenth day of his trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on March 19, 2014

“So if you are tired and the reason you are making all these mistakes is because you are tired, you must say so,” said Masipa after the “blade runner” stumbled over whether he had turned his burglar alarm off or not in the process of seeking help after shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius, whose trial started on March 3 this year, for the murder of Steenkamp on Valentines Day 2014, said he was not tired.

“The question is are you too tired to proceed. Because you can be at a disadvantage,” repeated Masipa.

Again he said he was not tired.

She offered him another chance, emphasising that it was important to him and to the court that he not be tired when answering the questions over minute details put to him by prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

Then she asked: “Can we accept you haven’t made these mistakes because you are too tired?”

Pistorius replied: “I can accept that, My Lady.”

Nel wanted to know why the integrated alarm system he had in his house did not go off when he opened his bedroom door and went downstairs to open the front door to let help in after he had shot Steenkamp.

He has already testified that he shot her in the toilet in his bathroom after hearing a noise and thinking he faced an intruder.

“I don’t have an independent recollection of switching off the alarm but I would have switched the alarm off,” he said.

Later he said: “It would have gone off if I hadn’t switched it off.”

He also suggested that the beams and sensors could have been affected by painting and maintenance work underway at his house.

“My Lady, I didn’t have time to think about the alarm at that point,” he said.

Nel said people would not have been able to enter his house without the alarm going off, but Pistorius explained that his alarm did not have window connectors so a window could have been opened without triggering the alarm.

He lived in a secure walled estate, common among higher income people in South Africa. He did not have burglar bars, he has testified.

On Nel’s questioning he said the open balcony door that night did not bother him.

Pistorius has told the court that he is taking an anti-depressant and sleeping aid after shooting Steenkamp.

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 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.