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Tue Oct 21 02:31:28 SAST 2014

The Oscar Pistorius murder trial Day 7

TimesLIVE, Tymon Smith, Graeme Hosken, Sapa, AFP and Reuters | 11 March, 2014 09:27

Get all the news from the Oscar Pistorius murder trial on Day 7 in one place.

Fresco followed prior Pistorius case testimony on news, Twitter - Tymon Smith

Darren Fresco admitted under cross examination by Oscar Pistorius’s defence counsel, Advocate Barry Roux SC, that he had followed previous testimony from the murder trial through the media and on Twitter.

Roux probed Fresco about a shooting incident that took place at Tasha’s restaurant in Johannesburg in 2012.

When asked by Roux if he was certain he had been close enough to Pistorius at the busy eatery for the athlete to hear Fresco tell him that the gun was "one up" (that there was a bullet in the chamber) Fresco first estimated they had been about 30cm away from each other across the table but later changed this to 60cm.

Often saying that he was unable to remember details put to him by Roux, Fresco became defensive on the stand and squirmed uncomfortably in his chair as Roux poked holes into his testimony.

Roux attempted to do so by using discrepancies between Fresco’s statement and his evidence to insinuate that he might have tailored his evidence in line with what he'd heard during the bail hearing and in subsequent media reports on the case.

Fresco will finish his cross examination on Wednesday morning.

OSCAR LIKED PICKING UP THE TAB - Sapa

Oscar Pistorius liked paying the bill when he went out, his friend Darren Fresco testified in the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday.

But Fresco could not remember who paid the bill after a shot was fired into a floor, allegedly by Pistorius at a full 220-seater Tascha's restaurant in January 2013.

He said when they went out together, one of them would pick up the tab.

"Him or me would pick up the tab," Fresco, a friend of both Pistorius, and Reeva Steenkamp, whom Pistorius has admitted shooting dead at his home on Valentine's Day morning 2013.

He has pleaded not guilty to murder and two charges which include two of discharging a firearm in a public.

The trial was adjourned to Wednesday 9.30am.

Pistorius was quiet as his friend testified, but had a green bucket at his feet, following a day of retching during the pathologist's testimony on Monday.

OSCAR FRIEND ASKED ABOUT MAGAZINE - Sapa

Oscar Pistorius's lawyer asked a State witness why he did not tell the paralympic athlete that there was a magazine in the gun he had passed to him in a crowded restaurant, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.

"Being someone I thought is competent with a weapon I thought he would have checked if the magazine was still in the weapon," Darren Fresco said while being cross-examined by Barry Roux.

Pistorius sat in the dock, facing Fresco, at times taking notes. A bright green bucket was at his feet. He vomited in court on Monday.

As Roux circled the question of the magazine, Fresco repeated his statement three times.

At one point Fresco asked Roux: "Why would I walk around with a gun with no magazine in it?"

Roux put it to Fresco that Pistorius was upset because Fresco failed to tell him there was a magazine in the gun.

"If the roles were reversed I would have checked to make sure the magazine was in," Fresco said.

Fresco handed Pistorius his Glock pistol under a table at Tasha's restaurant in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, in 2013. Moments after Pistorius took it, a shot went off.

The bullet went into the tiled floor under the table.

Fresco risks prosecution on ammunition and firearms-related charges. Judge Thokozile Masipa, however, told him earlier that if he answered questions put to him by the defence or prosecution frankly and honestly, he would be discharged from prosecution.

Pistorius is accused of the murder of model and law graduate Steenkamp 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.

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius and Fresco not out of the woods yet as we adjourn for the day and he'll have to come back tomorrow, if he can remember to.

OSCAR WITNESS UNDER FIRE - Sapa

Witness Darren Fresco was subjected to defence lawyer Barry Roux's trademark picking apart of witness statements, on Tuesday in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius.

He was being cross-examined over a firearm episode involving Oscar Pistorius at Tasha's restaurant in Johannesburg.

Fresco was asked whether Pistorius knew there was a bullet in the chamber when -- according to his testimony -- he handed the gun to the paralympian.

Fresco had testified that while at their corner table, Pistorius and he leaned towards each other and were about 30cm apart when he told Pistorius "there's one up", meaning one bullet was in the chamber.

Fresco said Pistorius replied, "okay".

"Did he say okay?" asked Roux.

Last week he quizzed security guard Pieter Baba over whether Pistorius said he was "okay" or "fine" when the two spoke.

Roux said the part about the two leaning together with their heads "in close proximity" was not in the statement Fresco drew up with lawyers either.

Fresco insisted that Pistorius acknowledged being warned about the bullet.

A shot was fired, allegedly when the gun was in Pistorius's hand.

The court has been shown a picture of the hole in the restaurant floor.

Roux said during the court adjournment he and colleagues pushed tables together and tried to get their heads close together in the way Fresco had demonstrated he and Pistorius were sitting, and could not.

He would also ask Fresco to demonstrate to the court how they had been sitting.

Pistorius allegedly asked Fresco to take the blame for this shooting, and has not been able to explain why being asked to take the blame is not in his statement.

He said that he had assumed Pistorius knew he had to remove the magazine.

He is testifying in terms of Section 204 of the Criminal Procedure Act and has been warned that he might incriminate himself during testimony and that if his evidence is considered truthful he might be discharged from prosecution.

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14 2013 and to charges which include violating the Firearms Act.

OSCAR'S TRIAL BIGGER THAN WORLD CUP - Sapa

Oscar Pistorius's murder trial is bigger than the Fifa World Cup, according to figures by media monitoring group Data Driven Insight (DDI).

"Unbelievable, worldwide the Oscar trial is bigger in media than the Fifa 2014 World Cup," said DDI spokeswoman Tonya Khoury on Tuesday.

DDI said despite restrictions on reporting, media coverage of the paralympian's trial skyrocketed.

The social media platform Twitter added to the Pistorius news coverage of the trial in the High Court in Pretoria, DDI said.

On Monday, Judge Thokozile Masipa banned blogging and tweeting of graphic evidence by pathologist Gert Saayman. She reversed this decision on Tuesday morning.

DDI said this temporary restriction prompted about 2500 articles.

In the past 24 hours, news and social media hit over 106,000 unique inserts relating to the Pistorius trial, Khoury said.

Pistorius having retched in court was carried in 2300 news articles.

"The press in nine days hit the 750,000 mark," she said.

"In a remarkable media frenzy, DDI has seen the media interest rise from an astonishing 8800 articles an hour (on day one) to 9200 in the 3pm hour on Friday. Seems the media [coverage], despite the critics, is on the rise."

DDI also measured South Africa's news headlines against the Pistorius trial and found that "nothing can move the media attention [away] from Oscar".

The data was compiled from 6.2 million social media platforms including blogs, forums, social networks and commentary, 60,000 global online newspapers, 2000 South African print publications, and 66 radio and television stations.

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius unless it's on the subject of cars (check his twitter feed) Fresco's memory has more holes than the Titanic

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Roux now gets Fresco to demonstrate how far he can lean forward and now our estimation of distance goes to 60cm

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Fresco now saying he heard evidence about tracksuit pants on media, twitter etc. Roux - so you followed it?

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial  #OscarPistorius Roux now going back to statement - discrepancies between it and his evidence #familiarterritory

DISCREPANCY IN STATEMENTS QUERIED - Sapa

A difference in statements by two witnesses present when murder-accused Oscar Pistorius fired through a car's open sunroof was queried in the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Pistorius's friend Darren Fresco said the paralympian fired the shot "out of the blue".

He, Pistorius, and the athlete's then girlfriend Samantha Taylor were in the car at the time, on September 30, 2012.

Fresco was being questioned by Barry Roux, SC, for Pistorius,

Roux read a statement from Taylor which differed from Fresco's version.

"The shot was fired because they (Fresco and Pistorius) were angry at the police and they found it funny to irritate the police," Roux read from Taylor's statement.

According to Taylor they had, shortly before, been pulled over for speeding. Fresco said Pistorius fired the shot a long time after metro police stopped them.

Asked to explain the discrepancy, Fresco stuck to his version.

"My testimony is the truth, My Lady, that's what I remember," Fresco said.

Fresco risks prosecution on ammunition and firearms-related charged.

Judge Thokozile Masipa, however, told him if he answered questions put to him by the defence or prosecution frankly and honestly, he would be discharged from prosecution.

Pistorius is accused of the murder of model and law graduate Steenkamp 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.

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Fresco getting more and more agitated, a little confrontational, not enjoying his Roux grilling

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Fresco - After shot went off OP didn't say anything except ask me to take the blame

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Roux - if you wanted to tell him the magazine was on why didn't you tell him?

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Fresco - why would I walk around with a gun without a magazine on it?

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Roux now asking what OP responded when told gun was one up, Fresco says he said OK, Roux - first time you've mentioned it

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Roux - OP will deny he fired shot. Fresco - not true

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Roux - why did you crumple ticket? Fresco -cop taking too long to write it.

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Fresco remembers that he found bullet which had been ejected from OP's gun under the seat in the car

'But that cannot be' vs 'I can't remember' - Fresco faces Roux - Tymon Smith

The second session of day seven of Paralympian Oscar Pistorius’s murder trial pitted his defence attorney, Advocate Barry Roux's constant refrain of "but that cannot be" against the “I can’t remember” of Darren Fresco, a friend of Pistorius.

Fresco has accepted immunity from prosecution for his involvement in the two gun-related charges in which Pistorius is also implicated in, in exchange for full and honest testimony. The immunity is allowed under section 204 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

He testified about the incident at Tasha's restaurant, in Melrose Arch in Johannesburg and another incident in which Pistorius is alleged to have a shot a bullet through the sunroof of a car they were travelling in together with the athlete’s then-girlfriend Samantha Taylor.

Fresco maintained that he had passed the gun under the table to Pistorius at Tasha's and that the two friends had been close enough for Pistorius to hear him say that the gun was "one up," meaning that there was a bullet in the chamber.

When the gun went off Pistorius asked Fresco to "take the rap," because of the heavy media attention around him. Fresco then told the owners that he had been responsible.

On the day of the second incident, Fresco recalled that he, Pistorius and Taylor had been stopped twice on their way home from the Vaal: once for not displaying a number plate and the second time for speeding.

On the second occasion Pistorius, apparently furious that a Johannesburg Metro Police officer had picked up his firearm, told the man, "You can't just touch another man's gun."

Fresco also said that when Pistorius fired through the sunroof he had given no warning and the noise of the shot had caused his ears to ring.

When asked by state prosecutor Gerrie Nel what he said to Pistorius after the shot went off, Fresco replied, "apologies for my language, My Lady, but I asked him if he was fucking mad."

Under cross examination Fresco was asked by Roux if he remembered that he had been driving at a speed of 260km/ph at the time he was pulled over, but Fresco said he could not remember.

He could also not remember much after the three friends had gone to the Gourmet Garage in Atholl Square later that evening. He did however remember that while driving to the restaurant after the shot was fired, "there was a beautiful sunset."

Fresco's cross-examination will resume after lunch today.

OSCAR LOVED GUNS: FRIEND - Sapa

A friend of "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius on Tuesday testified in his murder trial that the athlete had "a big love for firearms" and had twice in his presence set off a handgun in public.

Darren Fresco corroborated earlier testimony that a seething Pistorius had fired a shot through the sunroof of a car in 2012 after they were stopped for speeding.

One of the policeman who pulled them over, saw Pistorius's firearm lying on the car seat and picked it up. Fresco testified that it enraged Pistorius, who is on trial for shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

"The accused replied 'you can't just touch another man's gun'," Fresco told the High Court in Pretoria.

After they drove off, Fresco was startled by a gunshot and realised that Pistorius had fired out of the sunroof of the car.

"I apologise My Lady, but I asked him if he was fucking mad," Fresco told the court when State prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked how he reacted.

Asked how Pistorius responded, he said: "He just laughed, My Lady."

Under further questioning from Nel, Fresco confirmed that Pistorius had asked him to pass him his Glock pistol while they were having lunch at Tasha's restaurant in Johannesburg in January last year.

He said he trusted Pistorius "to be competent... because he had a big love for firearms" and passed it to him under the table, with the warning that there was a bullet in the chamber.

Fresco said he saw Pistorius move his shoulder, and assumed that he was securing the firearm, but the next moment a shot rang out, silencing the busy restaurant.

As professional boxer Kevin Lerena testified last week, Fresco said Pistorius promptly asked him to take the blame for the incident because he did not want to attract media attention.

He quoted the Olympic sprinter as asking: "There is too much media hype around me at the moment, please can you take the rap for it?

"Being a friend, I said I would," he told the court.

Pistorius's lawyer, Barry Roux, put it to Fresco during cross-examination that his recollection of the conversations with the restaurant owners in which he took responsibility for the shot, were partially at odds with theirs.

He also asked Fresco, who conceded that he consulted lawyers before he made his statement, why his written testimony was silent on Pistorius asking him to take the blame for the restaurant incident.

"I can't give you a reason for that," Fresco responded.

Earlier on Tuesday the seasoned advocate had grilled pathologist Gert Saayman, who performed the post mortem on Steenkamp, about his testimony that she appeared to have last eaten some two hours before she died.

As Steenkamp died after 3am on Valentine's Day last year, this testimony appeared to contradict Pistorius's submission that the couple went to sleep around ten.

Roux at one point asked for an adjournment to consult scientific literature about gastric emptying, but Saayman expressed confidence that his findings were accurate.

He had, he pointed out earlier, performed or supervised between 10,000 and 15,000 medico-legal post mortem exams during his 30-year career.

Saayman also testified that Steenkamp had about a teaspoon of murky urine in her bladder. He told the court that her bladder would have been empty had she gone to the toilet between 30 minutes to an hour before her death.

Steenkamp was shot dead in a locked toilet cubicle in Pistorius's luxury townhouse in Pretoria. He admits killing her but contends he believed he was shooting at an intruder hiding in the toilet, when he fired four shots into the door.

He last week pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder.

Neighbours of the disabled sprinter have testified that on the night of the shooting they heard a woman's screams ring out from the direction of his house.

On Monday, as Saayman gave graphic testimony about Steenkamp's injuries and pointed out that she was shot with bullets designed to expand on impact and cause maximum damage, Pistorius became violently ill in court.

FRESCO PULLED OVER FOR DRIVING AT 260KPH - Sapa

Darren Fresco was pulled over and fined for speeding at 260kph the night his friend Oscar Pistorius allegedly fired a shot out of a car's sunroof, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.

When Fresco said he could not remember the exact speed, Pistorius's defence lawyer Barry Roux quipped that he would have remembered travelling at such a speed.

Fresco said he, Pistorius and Pistorius's then-girlfriend Samantha Taylor were stopped twice by traffic police on their way home from a day at the Vaal River.

The first time was for not having a number plate on his car and the second was for speeding, near the Grasmere toll plaza.

Fresco said under cross-examination by Roux that he crumpled up the fines and threw them into the footwell.

Roux had been cross-examining him on earlier testimony that he had given the fines to a motor dealership to deal with, even though the fine was in his name and it was not their responsibility.

Pistorius is accused of the murder of model and law graduate Steenkamp 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 and asked Fresco to take the blame, according to testimony.

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

Taylor testified last week that he fired the shot though the sunroof out of irritation at the traffic police, who had also given him a warning about leaving his firearm on the car seat.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

OSCAR WOULD HAVE HEARD BULLET WARNING - Sapa

Oscar Pistorius would have heard a friend warn him there was a bullet in the chamber of a gun he handed to the athlete, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.

"The acoustics in that restaurant are terrible, particularly at lunchtime, but because of the proximity of our heads it is impossible that he could not have heard me say the gun was 'one up'," Darren Fresco said to questioning from Barry Roux, SC, for Pistorius.

"One up" means there is a bullet in the chamber.

Fresco was testifying about a shot that went off from his Glock pistol after he passed it under a table to Pistorius at Tasha's restaurant in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, in January 2013.

Boxer Kevin Lerena and a British sprinter were with Pistorius and Fresco at the time.

The gun fired and a bullet went into the tiled floor under the table.

Fresco and Pistorius were sitting diagonally across from one another and leaned towards each other as the gun was passed.

Court was adjourned for 10 minutes due to a problem with the recording equipment.

Pistorius is accused of the murder of model and law graduate Steenkamp 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.

In September, 2010 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

OSCAR FRIEND QUERIED OVER SHOT - Sapa

Darren Fresco was silent in his statement on Oscar Pistorius seeking to shift blame for a shot fired in a Johannesburg restaurant, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.

Boxer friend Kevin Lerena testified last week that a gun went off by accident when it was being passed between the friends at the restaurant in Melrose Arch.

The court heard on Tuesday that this firearm belonged to Fresco, also a friend of Pistorius.

Lerena said Pistorius was holding it at the time and after it accidentally went off, he asked that someone else take the blame because it would cause "tension" in the media.

Fresco conceded he had consulted lawyers before he made his statement, saying he did not want to get into trouble.

But he could not explain why he left out the alleged blame-shifting.

Defence lawyer Barry Roux said it would have been easy to put in the statement that Pistorius wanted to shift the blame.

"I can't give you a reason for that," he said, occasionally swivelling in the court chair as he was cross-examined by Roux.

He said he did tell his counsel about this.

Pistorius is accused of the murder of model and law graduate Reeva Steenkamp on February 14 last year. She was shot in the arm, hip and head.

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 201.

In September, 2010 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

'OSCAR ASKED FOR MY GUN', COURT HEARS - Sapa

Oscar Pistorius asked for a friend's gun at a restaurant shortly before the firearm went off, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.

"The accused asked me to pass my firearm to him," Darren Fresco said to questions from prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

Pistorius took the Glock pistol from Fresco under a table, at Tasha's restaurant in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, in January 2013.

When Nel asked Fresco why Pistorius asked for his gun, Fresco said he did not know.

"I thought he was competent. We had been to the shooting range before and I know he had a big love for guns," said Fresco.

He said there was a bullet in the chamber and he saw Pistorius make a "shoulder gesture", which he assumed was Pistorius sighting the existing bullet out of the chamber.

Fresco said the gun had no "specific safety clip".

The gun fired and a bullet went into the tiled floor under the table.

Pistorius is accused of the murder of model and law graduate Steenkamp 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.

In September 2010, he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial  #OscarPistorius And we adjourn to deal with a technical problem in court's recording equip

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Roux testing Fresco's memory - speeding, how fast? Who paid fines?

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Roux moving on to Vaal incident.

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Roux wants to know if Fresco was told to say it based on other evidence already given - i.e. did he tailor his evidence

PISTORIUS FIRED GUN FROM SUNROOF: FRESCO - Sapa

Darren Fresco's ears felt as if they were bleeding after his friend Oscar Pistorius fired a shot through the sunroof of a car, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.

"I apologise My Lady, but I asked him if he was fucking mad," Fresco told the court when asked how he reacted after Pistorius fired the shot.

He testified he was driving with Pistorius's ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor and Pistorius in the car.

A court visual showed they were on the R25 and M78 Edenglen turnoff in the direction of Johannesburg.

Earlier that evening, they were stopped for speeding and Pistorius had become angry about a metro policeman touching his firearm.

Fresco said they were driving with Taylor in the back of the car.

"And then without prior warning he shot out the sunroof," he said.

He instinctively moved to right hand side of the vehicle because of the noise in his left ear.

That led to Fresco voicing the profanity.

Asked by prosecutor Gerrie Nel how Pistorius responded, he said: "He just laughed My Lady."

They then "just carried on driving".

Pistorius is charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14 2013.

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

He has pleaded not guilty.

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Roux we now know OP asked you to take the blame and you made up a story but neither of these things in your original statement

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Once they were friends just hanging out and checking out guns now they're glaring across the courtroom at each other

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Fresco saying he did not deliberately withhold the fact, he didn't think about it at the time of making statement

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Roux asking why Fresco didn't put the fact he was asked to take blame for Tasha's incident by OP in his original statement

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Fresco,to specifically make sure that I wasn't going to tet into trouble I sought legal advice

'DON'T TOUCH MY GUN': OSCAR - Sapa

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius told a metro police officer not to touch his firearm, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.

Witness Darren Fresco told the court how he, Pistorius, and the athlete's then girlfriend Samantha Taylor were pulled over for speeding in September 2010. They were driving from the Vaal to Johannesburg at the time.

Fresco, who had been driving, was speaking to a metro police officer when Pistorius got out to find out what was taking so long.

A second metro police officer picked his gun up off the front passenger seat, where Pistorius had left it. Pistorius had a "verbal altercation" with the officer, Fresco said to questions from prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

"The accused replied 'you can't just touch another man's gun'," Fresco said.

"He was furious that someone else had touched his gun."

After he was sworn in, Judge Thokozile Masipa told Fresco that if he answered questions truthfully and honestly, he would be discharged from prosecution.

He faces possible charges related to arms and ammunition control legislation.

Pistorius is accused of the murder of model and law graduate Steenkamp on February 14 last year. She was shot in the arm, hip and head.

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.

In September 2010, he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

OSCAR FRIEND TESTIFIES ON GUN ALLEGATION - Sapa

Oscar Pistorius's friend Darren Fresco testified on Tuesday in the murder trial of the athlete accused of killing law graduate and model Reeva Steenkamp.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked that Fresco be warned in terms of Section 204 of the Criminal Procedure Act, as he might be asked about the Firearms Act transgressions Pistorius was charged with.

These related to the alleged reckless endangerment of property and discharging a firearm in public.

Judge Thokozile Masipa warned Fresco, wearing a suit and tie with his shoulder length fair hair, that he might be asked questions which could incriminate him and he might be found guilty as a result of this.

If he answered honestly he might be discharged from prosecution. He said he understood this.

He was sworn in and began testimony about an incident, on which Pistorius's ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor testified last week.

She told the court Pistorius had fired a shot out of the sunroof of a car when she and Fresco were with him, out of "irritation" for being stopped by traffic police.

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder and to the firearms charges.

Last week, the court heard testimony about a gun accidentally discharged at Tasha's restaurant in Melrose Arch, where Fresco was also present.

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Fresco says OP asked him to pass Fresco's Glock 27, a 40 calibre weapon to OP

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Fresco now moving on to the Tasha's incident

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Fresco - OP laughed about what had just happened

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Nel - did you say anything, Fresco "apologies for my language my lady but I asked him if he was fucking mad."

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Fresco says while driving after incident with cops, OP shot out the sunroof without prior warning.

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Fresco - cop emptied gun OP told cop " your fingerprints now on my gun if something happens it's going to be on you."

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Fresco - OP told cop "you can't just touch another man's gun."

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius as long as Fresco gives honest evidence he'll be given immunity for contravening firearms related charges

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Fresco testifying in English

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Fresco will not be filmed

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial  #OscarPistorius and we're back. Next witness is...Darren Fresco

REEVA'S LAST MEAL DISCUSSED - Sapa

It was up to the court to make a conclusion on academic literature which may raise a question mark over Reeva Steenkamp's last meal, a pathologist told the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday.

This was after questions by murder-accused Oscar Pistorius's lawyer Barry Roux, who cited studies showing variations in findings on gastric emptying, due to the type of meal, and the person.

One Monday, pathologist Gert Saayman estimated that Steenkamp last ate a meal of mostly vegetable matter, with some cheese-like protein, about two hours before her death.

The court has heard witnesses testify they heard screaming coming from his house after 3am on February 14, 2013.

During his bail application last year, Pistorius said he and Steenkamp were in his bedroom at his home in Silver Woods, Pretoria around 10pm where she was doing yoga. After that they went to bed.

She was later shot dead through the door of a toilet cubicle in his bathroom. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder, saying he thought there was an intruder in the house.

During a snap adjournment, Roux and Saayman were seen speed-reading academic papers they had exchanged, and when the court resumed, Roux cross-examined him on the accuracy of his estimation of when the model and law graduate last ate.

Saayman, who said he had performed between 10,000 and 15,000 medico-legal post mortem examinations, said he did not consider himself an expert because of research.

He relied on reading literature for the past 30 years, as well as his personal experience and case controls.

Saayman said he could not contest anything written in the papers Roux presented, but there were a few "specific somethings" such as findings on how long it took for meals to digest.

He said gastric surgeons performed operations every day on the assumption that a stomach was empty after four hours.

Saayman did not know the volume of Steenkamp's last meal, so it was not possible to estimate what percentage had already been digested when she was shot.

He said the court was dealing with a fundamental issue in science and gave an example of pellets shot towards a wall.

There would be some dispersion of pellets called "flyers" but the bulk would hit in a fairly narrowly distributed field, and that was where scientists drew conclusions.

He said this narrow field did not mean the individual might not be at the periphery - that would be for the court to decide.

Pistorius 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 pistol under a table at a Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013.

In September 2010 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

He pleaded not guilty to those charges as well.

Pathologist sticks to his guns in Pistorius trial - Tymon Smith

On the seventh morning of the trial of murder accused Oscar Pistorius, state pathologist Professor Gert Saymaan stuck to his estimation that Reeva Steenkamp had eaten approximately one to two hours before her death.

Saymaan was being cross-examined by Pistorius’s lawyer, advocate Barry Roux.

Steenkamp was killed by Pistorius just after 3am on Valetine’s Day last year according to post-mortem reports. Saymaan’s testimony apparently contradicts Pistorius’s statement at his bail application hearing that the couple had gone to bed at around 10pm on February 13 last year.

While Roux asked for an adjournment to peruse some medical articles on the subject of gastric emptying he was only able to get Professor Saayman to reiterate what he'd said yesterday during his testimony: that he made the estimation based on the culmination his 30 years working as a pathologist.

Saymaan said his estimations was also based on literature on the subject, which he emphasised is not an exact science.

Saayman testified that in hi 30-year career, he had performed somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 autopsies.

Earlier in the day Judge Thokozile Masipa reversed part of her order on the broadcast of Saayman's evidence to allow live tweeting and blogging of his cross examination.

Court will resume with a new, as yet unnamed, witness set to take the stand after tea today.

OSCAR TRIAL PROBES 'GASTRIC EMPTYING - Sapa

The science of "gastric emptying" was discussed during Oscar Pistorius's murder trial in the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Prof Gert Saayman, who performed the post mortem on Reeva Steenkamp, said to questioning from prosecutor Gerrie Nel that Steenkamp's bladder would have been empty had she gone to the toilet between 30 minutes to an hour before her death.

Asked about her stomach contents, Saayman said she could have eaten her last meal about two hours before her death. He took pains to qualify this statement by saying that estimating the time of gastric emptying was not an exact science and that he was relying on his years of experience and studying.

Saayman was excused from the witness stand and court adjourned for tea.

He earlier said to questioning from Nel that he estimated having performed or supervised between 10,000 and 15,000 medico-legal post mortem exams during his 30-year career.

Pistorius is accused of the murder of model and law graduate Steenkamp on February 14 last year. She was shot in the arm, hip and head.

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.

In September 2010 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Saayman is excused and we're adjourning for tea until 11.30

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Saayman - bladder would have been virtually empty even if voided an hour earlier

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Saayman - cognitive function not would I term screaming but screaming would be possible after hip and arm wounds

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Saayman hip shot would in all probability have been very painful and fight or flight response would have kicked in

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius As Nel directs Saayman back to how shots may have effected cognitive ability, OP looking troubled again

PROF READS JOURNALS INTO RECORD - Sapa

Oscar Pistorius's murder trial resumed after a short break on Tuesday morning after the defence and witness Prof Gert Saayman exchanged copies of medical literature.

Barry Roux, for Pistorius, asked Saayman, the pathologist who conducted the post mortem on Reeva Steenkamp, to read into the court record the titles of several journals.

The bespectacled Saayman, who testified standing in the witness box, read out arcane titles such as "Frequent Feeding Delays: The Subsequent Emptying of a Gastric Meal" and "The Effects of Posture on Gastric Emptying".

This had to do with questions over when Steenkamp had her last meal, and when she could have gone to the toilet before she was killed.

Saayman earlier said to questioning from prosecutor Gerrie Nel that he estimated having performed or supervised between 10,000 and 15,000 medico-legal post mortem exams during his 30-year career.

Pistorius is accused of the murder of his girlfriend, model and law graduate Steenkamp, on February 14 last year. She was shot in the arm, hip and head.

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.

In September 2010 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

TRIAL BREAK FOR DOCUMENT READING - Sapa

Oscar Pistorius's defence lawyer and the pathologist being cross-examined about Reeva Steenkamp's fatal injuries sat at opposite ends of the High Court in Pretoria speed reading academic literature during a snap adjournment on Tuesday.

Professor Gert Saayman had to hand over literature he mentioned when asked who his references were, when being cross-examined by Barry Roux on the post mortem conducted on Steenkamp's body.

Roux in turn had given him an article to read.

Saayman was given another set of documents by Roux's legal support team.

Pistorius himself sat quietly in the dock, waiting, until Judge Thokozile Masipa returned with her assessors.

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to the murder of his girlfriend Steenkamp at his home in Pretoria on February 14, 2013.

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

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Saayman did make clear during evidence that determining eating time from stomach contents not an exact science

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius And we're back. Saayman listing names of articles he made available to Roux

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Roux reading those articles carefully in the break

ADJOURNMENT FOR PISTORIUS - Sapa

Oscar Pistorius's murder trial adjourned shortly after it started on Tuesday for his defence to check the articles that the pathologist referred to during testimony on Reeva Steenkamp's death.

Barry Roux SC said he would need about half an hour to read through the articles, not cited in Professor Gert Saayman's post mortem report, which left Pistorius retching in court when it was read in the High Court in Pretoria on Monday.

The testimony related to her bladder contents when she died.

Before Judge Thokozile Masipa granted the adjournment, Saayman interjected to say that his findings were not just based on reading academic articles, but years of continuous synthesis of his own experience and years of continuous reading of literature.

Roux said he too had an article, from a textbook, which he would like to give Saayman during the break.

In his cross-examination, Saayman repeated that Steenkamp had about a teaspoon of cloudy urine in her bladder when she died after being shot by Pistorius on February 14, 2013.

The murky appearance was due to the breakdown of the cells in the lining of the bladder.

He said that a few seconds after being shot, there was minimum impact on a person's cognitive capacity.

He discussed the factors that affect how often people emptied their bladder.

Tuesday's proceedings appeared to be less dramatic for Pistorius, who was quiet compared with Monday when he retched during descriptions of Steenkamp's physical injuries.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charge of murdering her, as well as to several Firearms Act charges.

ROUX ASKS ABOUT EFFECT OF RAPID SHOTS - Sapa

The effect of several rapid gunshots on a body was raised by Oscar Pistorius's lawyer in the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Barry Roux told pathologist Prof Gert Saayman, who was in the witness box, he wanted to understand the trauma on a body by shots fired in quick succession.

Saayman said shots fired into a person's hip or arm could cause a fight or flight response, but would not affect cognitive functions.

Saayman said to questioning from prosecutor Gerrie Nel that he estimated he had performed between 10,000 and 15,000 medico-legal post mortem examinations.

Pistorius is accused of the murder of model and law graduate Reeva Steenkamp on February 14 last year. She was shot in the arm, hip and head.

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.

In September 2010 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

PISTORIUS TRIAL RESUMES - Sapa

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius's murder trial resumed on Tuesday with pathologist Gert Saayman waiting in the witness box to continue explaining the fatal injuries sustained by Reeva Steenkamp .

Judge Thokozile Masipa and her two assessors Janet Henzen-Du Toit and Themba Mazibuko made the slow daily procession to their seats in the front of the court.

The judge said that after someone gave her information about blogging and tweeting, "in respect of this witness, blogging and tweeting is allowed".

Pistorius is accused of murdering Steenkamp on February 14, 2013 at his home in Silver Woods, Pretoria.

He has pleaded not guilty to that and a number of charges under the Firearms Act.

Defence lawyer Barry Roux resumed cross-examination on Tuesday.

PISTORIUS ARRIVES IN COURT FOR DAY SEVEN OF MURDER TRIAL - Sapa

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius arrived in court GD of the High Court in Pretoria for the seventh day of his trial on Tuesday.

He came in through the court room's main entrance, instead of the side entrance he had been using last week, and put his laptop bag down before speaking with his uncle Arnold Pistorius and another man.

His sister, Aimee, also arrived and greeted family and friends seated behind Pistorius, who was again wearing a dark suit and tie with a white shirt.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel was expected to continue questioning pathologist Prof Gert Saayman.

Judge Thokozile Masipa ordered on Monday that his evidence may not be broadcast live as it contained graphic detail of the wounds Reeva Steenkamp sustained when Pistorius shot her dead.

Pistorius is accused of the murder of model and law graduate Steenkamp 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. In September 2010 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

OSCAR TRIAL MOVES INTO DAY SEVEN - Sapa

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius's murder trial continues in the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday following an emotional day six.

The "Blade Runner" cried and retched in court on Monday as he listened to findings from the autopsy on Reeva Steenkamp, whom he shot and killed on Valentine's Day last year.

Pathologist Gert Saayman told the court that Steenkamp was shot with expanding bullets designed to cause maximum tissue damage.

He described bullet wounds in the model's head and hip, as well as bruises to her back, buttocks and breast and suggested some of the injuries were caused by wood splinters from the bathroom door through which the shots were fired.

Saayman's testimony was twice interrupted by the sound of Pistorius weeping and gagging.

The pathologist was the first witness in the trial whose testimony was not broadcast live on television after he objected, saying it would rob Steenkamp of her dignity.

The trial continues with Saayman on the stand.

JUDGE WENT TOO FAR WITH MEDIA RESTRICTIONS, SAYS MEDIA LAW EXPERT - Sapa

Judge Thokozile Masipa went "too far" by restricting the media from tweeting post-mortem evidence in Oscar Pistorius's murder trial, a media law expert said in a television interview on Tuesday.

"Unfortunately in my view that was a decision that, with respect, went slightly too far because it misunderstood the nature of Twitter as a court reporting tool used by journalists," Webber Wentzel's Dario Milo told Channel 199.

"I have never heard of a witness making that kind of articulation... for no live streaming of evidence... there's very little to distinguish between live tweeting, for example, of the evidence and then 15 or 30 minutes later summarising the evidence in the form of a broadcast or reporting back to one's listeners/readers/viewers."

Professor Gert Saayman on Monday objected to his evidence being broadcast live, saying he was bound by certain ethical rules and there might be statutory limits to his conduct. He said he would not be comfortable with live unfiltered streaming of his evidence.

"I think that the very personal nature of findings that are made at an autopsy examination as well as the very graphic details... have the potential to compromise the dignity of the deceased and... I believe it is our duty to preserve the dignity of the deceased," he said at the time.

Masipa ordered that there be no live feed, tweeting, or blogging.

Milo said the key point of the order was that the media needed to treat the post-mortem evidence sensitively to respect the deceased's family and in accordance with the media's ethical code.

The issue of verbatim reports in Tuesday's newspapers was also tackled by The Morning Show.

"[Prosecutor] Gerrie Nel was quite insistent that there be no verbatim reporting of Saayman's evidence. He had no objection to paraphrasing/summarising," said Milo.

"The media should be careful not to do verbatim reporting of this particular witness, and live tweeting of this particular witness. It is wise for the media to tread carefully in this case."

Milo said the case was different because of its high profile nature.

"Court cases in trials for murder/homicides/violent crimes will always have this kind of graphic evidence.

"It's just that this is such a high profile case that I think the issue needs to faced head on for the first time from the media on how one can report."

On Monday, law expert Pierre de Vos said the prohibition sounded unenforceable.

"I haven't heard the whole order, but from what I have heard it sounds confusing," he told Sapa.

"It sounds unenforceable. I wasn't there to hear her [the judge's] exact words, but in other court cases, people and journalists use Twitter so I don't know why they doing this in this case, what makes this case so special."

Pistorius is charged with the premeditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, and with contravening the Firearms Act.

He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges, and contends he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder when he shot her on February 14 last year.

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Tue Oct 21 02:31:29 SAST 2014 ::