What's Buzzing:

Pistorius trial adjourns until May, state mauls forensic expert

Reuters
South African Olympic and Paralympic athlete Pistorius sits in the dock during his murder trial in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria
.

View photo

South African Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock during his murder trial …

By Siyabonga Sishi

PRETORIA (Reuters) - The murder trial of Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius was adjourned on Thursday until May 5 after the state wrapped up three days of punishing cross-examination of a forensic expert brought by the defense.

Judge Thokozile Masipa granted the state's request for a postponement to avoid conflicts with other cases. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel - nicknamed "The Pitbull" for his aggressive style - tore into defense witness Roger Dixon, questioning his credibility and expertise.

Pistorius, 27, is on trial for the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, whom he shot dead with four rounds from a 9mm pistol on Valentine's Day last year in his plush Pretoria house.

The track star insists he killed the 29-year-old law graduate and model after mistaking her for an intruder hiding in the toilet.

Dixon, a forensic geologist and former police officer, testified that Steenkamp was standing at an angle to the door with her arm out in front of her, suggesting she was reaching for the handle, when Pistorius shot her dead.

The testimony challenged the version of the state, which has sought to portray Pistorius as a gun-obsessed hot-head who murdered Steenkamp after an argument.

But Nel heaped scorn on Dixon's expertise, prompting Masipa to tell the advocate to restrain himself.

When the geologist said on Wednesday he tested the sound of a cricket bat hitting a wooden door to see if it could be confused with the sound of a gunshot, Nel asked:

"Do you need to be an expert to do that? What expert skills did you use, wielding a bat? So your expertise was wielding a bat?"

At another point, Dixon confessed to being a "layman" with no professional experience in blood spatter analysis, forensic pathology or ballistics.

After asking Dixon for another of his findings, Nel added: "I use the word 'finding' loosely".

The defense has sought to prove that some of Pistorius' neighbors mistook the sound of the track star breaking down the door with a bat for that of a gunshot. Pistorius says he broke the door in a frantic effort to save Steenkamp after realizing he had shot her.

The trial, which has garnered massive domestic and international attention, is due to resume on May 5, two days before South Africa goes to the polls for a national election.

Defense advocate Barry Roux is expected to call his next witness once the trial resumes.

Before the shooting, Pistorius was one of the most revered figures in sport, a man who had his lower legs amputated as a child but who reached the semi-finals of the 400m at the London Olympics in 2012 running on carbon-fiber prosthetic 'blades'.

(Writing by Nomatter Ndebele; Editing by David Dolan and Ed Cropley)

View Comments (5)
  • Taurasi, 4 former UConn stars help overwhelm Canada 83-43

    Taurasi, 4 former UConn stars help overwhelm Canada 83-43

    Just after the United States routed Canada by 40 points, Geno Auriemma and his UConn greats posed for a group photo on the court. The five former UConn players, who helped the Huskies win 10 of their 11 national championships, received one last … More »

    The Canadian Press - 2 minutes 19 seconds ago
  • Mariners place RHP Karns on DL; RHP Martin recalled

    CHICAGO (AP) -- The Seattle Mariners have placed right-hander Nathan Karns on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain a day after he was roughed up in a relief appearance. … More »

    AP - Sports - 3 minutes 46 seconds ago
  • World number one Ko will not be staying at Olympic Village

    World number one Ko will not be staying at Olympic Village

    By Tony Jimenez WOBURN, England (Reuters) - Lydia Ko says she is "super excited" at the prospect of competing in her first Olympics next month although the women's world number one has decided against living at the Games village in Rio de Janeiro. … More »

    Reuters - 7 minutes ago
  • Golf-Latest PGA Championship leaderboard

    July 30 (Gracenote) - Latest leaderboard in the third round from the PGA Championship at the par-70 course on Saturday in Springfield, New Jersey holesplayed rounds -9 Jimmy Walker (U.S.) 65 66 Robert Streb (U.S.) 68 63 -7 Jason Day (Australia) 68 … More »

    Reuters - 16 minutes ago
  • Doping investigator faces 'deluge of requests' on Russians

    Doping investigator faces 'deluge of requests' on Russians

    Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren says he is facing ''a deluge of requests'' to provide information on individual athletes implicated in his report on state-sponsored doping in Russia. McLaren, who was commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, … More »

    AP - Sports - 19 minutes ago