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)
  • Rallying-Fans hurt as New Zealander Paddon crashes in Argentina

    New Zealander Haydon Paddon crashed his Hyundai, injuring half a dozen spectators, at the start of the second day of the Rally of Argentina on Saturday. Paddon and co-driver John Kennard were unhurt but emergency services assisted injured fans … More »

    Reuters - 9 minutes ago
  • Nets beat Hawks 91-83, pull within 2-1 in series

    Nets beat Hawks 91-83, pull within 2-1 in series

    Brook Lopez had 22 points and 13 rebounds, Thaddeus Young added 18 points and 11 rebounds, and the Brooklyn Nets beat Atlanta 91-83 on Saturday to cut the Hawks' lead to 2-1 in the Eastern Conference series. The Nets seized control with an 18-0 run … More »

    AP - Sports - 10 minutes ago
  • Injuries and arrests after violent Belgrade derby

    Injuries and arrests after violent Belgrade derby

    By Zoran Milosavljevic BELGRADE (Reuters) - Thirty-five police officers were hurt and 41 fans arrested in a violent Belgrade derby between Red Star and Partizan on Saturday. "Hooligan behaviour has led to slight injuries to 35 police officers," … More »

    Reuters - 12 minutes ago
  • Bronx bristle: Yanks growing mustaches during winning streak

    Bronx bristle: Yanks growing mustaches during winning streak

    Brett Gardner had the idea in Tampa while New York was sweeping the Rays to help turn around a 3-6 start, and he's been recruiting participants along the way. ''It's something we talked about just having fun with it.'' As New York took its road … More »

    AP - Sports - 13 minutes ago
  • Champions PSV stay on course for records

    New Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven remained on course for a record-breaking season after Juergen Locadia scored a last-minute winner to secure a 3-2 triumph at Excelsior Rotterdam on Saturday. PSV, who secured the championship last weekend, have now … More »

    Reuters - 14 minutes ago