Pistorius' voice under scrutiny

13 April 2014 - 16:44 By Sapa
Oscar Pistorius in the Pretoria High Court before he took the stand for the first time in his trial for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp. He spoke of his long-term terror of criminals.
Oscar Pistorius in the Pretoria High Court before he took the stand for the first time in his trial for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp. He spoke of his long-term terror of criminals.
Image: THEMBA HADEBE

A psychologist's interpretation that murder-accused Oscar Pistorius's voice is like a balloon, was just one of the takes on the paralympian published in weekend newspapers.

In an article in the Sunday Times, psychologist Leonard Carr suggested that listening to Pistorius's testimony revealed "a whimpering despairing voice that does not expect to be heard...an old, anguished cry that goes back to an early life of severe physical and emotional trauma and rejection".

Carr, however, wrote that within the voice was an "angry groan" that at times could "burst dramatically like a balloon" but at others was forced back, "leaking... like the opening of a balloon that is being choked".

Carr compared Pistorius to the Wizard of Oz, who "charmed the world into believing the enchanted picture that he has presented of his idealised self, how he wishes he could be".

Another opinion piece in the Sunday Times compared Pistorius's case to various Greek myths, including that of Icarus who flew too close to the sun with wings held together with wax and fell to his death, and Prometheus who was punished after stealing the gods' fire: "By day an eagle ate his liver; by night the organ grew back again."

The writer suggested that Pistorius's shooting of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp "his beautiful girlfriend, puts the myth of Leda and the Swan in the shade."

According to the myth, the god Zeus took the form of a swan to rape Leda. In some versions, Leda then laid two eggs from which children hatched.

The newspapers also sought legal opinion over the success of prosecutor Gerrie Nel's cross-examination of Pistorius, which started on Monday. Pistorius is charged with the murder of Steenkamp on February 14 last year. He shot her through the locked door of his toilet, apparently thinking she was an intruder about to come out and attack him.

Cape Town-based lawyer William Booth told the City Press that Pistorius "has not done himself any favours under cross examination".

He said it was possible Pistorius was straying from what his legal team would have planned for him to say.

It could be that Pistorius "had the particular type of personality that is a lawyer's worst nightmare... With all that preparation, it might be his lawyers are, in fact, dealing with a very difficult person who believes that what he says is right," Booth was quoted as saying.

Wits University criminal law professor Steve Tuson told City Press Nel was "grinding away [at Pistorius' version]... He is demonstrating lots of small inconsistencies... Nel is going to argue he's unreliable on all these small issues, so he should not be believed on the main issue, that he didn't know it was Reeva behind the door".

Ulrich Roux of BDK Attorneys told the Sunday Independent Pistorius was getting himself into trouble with his answers to Nel.

"Oscar did not take the necessary steps to determine who was behind that door and whether his own life or Reeva's life was in danger."

Roux said the way Oscar was seemingly shifting blame, "leaves a very bad taste in the mouth, I think it's cowardly... It will lead him into trouble, of that I have no doubt."

Pistorius's trial continues on Monday.

X