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Pistorius accused of crocodile tears

15 April 2014, 06:49

Pretoria - The prosecution accused Oscar Pistorius of feigning emotion to dodge tough questions about the death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, as his second week of testimony in the murder trial began on Monday.

Frustrated with Pistorius's frequent crying in the witness box, prosecutor Gerrie Nel toughened his questioning and accused the Paralympic star of crocodile tears.

"Mr Pistorius, you're not using your emotional state to escape, are you?" he said after the athlete broke down under questioning on one of several occasions on Monday.

"You're getting frustrated because your version is improbable and you're getting emotional," he said.

During six days of testimony, Pistorius has often appeared harrowed when evidence has turned to the moments before and after he fired the four shots that killed Steenkamp.

On Monday he again burst into tears when he re-enacted his high pitched call for supposed intruders to "get the fuck out of my house!"

Nel claimed Pistorius was crying because he knew he was shouting at Steenkamp and not a supposed intruder, putting the State's case that she was preparing to leave after an argument when she was shot.

"You know exactly, you fired at Reeva. These other versions cannot work, you fired at her, you did. Why are you getting emotional now?" Nel said accusingly.

"I did not fire at Reeva," he said, weeping and forcing another adjournment.

Pistorius often looked pale in the witness stand, his shoulders hunched forward.

His lawyer at one point intervened to ask Judge Thokozile Masipa to prevent emotive questions from being asked and re-asked.

Which defence?

Pistorius's defence was picked apart throughout the day.

He has repeatedly claimed that he fired the shots accidentally, even though he feared there was an intruder behind the door.

"My Lady I didn't have time to think. I heard this noise, and I thought it was somebody coming out to attack me so I fired my firearm," he told the court.

Nel responded: "Your defence has now changed, sir, from putative self-defence to involuntary action. Is that what you're telling me?"

"I don't understand the law, Ma'am, what I can reply and tell the court is what I'm asked and I can reply as to what I thought," Pistorius said.

During the relentless back-and-forth, Pistorius and Nel at times appeared to come close to bickering.

Nel accused the athlete of concocting evidence in his defence to cover up his girlfriend's murder.

"It's the State's case, Mr Pistorius, that she wanted to leave and that you weren't sleeping, you were both awake," said Nel.

"That's not correct my lady, that's untrue," Pistorius replied softly.

"There was an argument," Nel said, drawing another denial.

Nel has openly called his version "a lie".

Pistorius will likely remain on the stand for another few days as a witness in his own defence.

His lawyers have said they will call up to 17 witnesses, including ballistics experts.

The double amputee gained world-wide fame for running on two carbon fibre blades at the Paralympics and 2012 London Games.

His legs were amputated below the knee shortly after he was born without calf bones.

The shooting brought his career to an abrupt halt, but die-hard fans insisting on his innocence have attended the trial from time to time.

On Friday a fan handed him a bouquet of flowers as he came out of court, while on Monday three women outside the building held white balloons with "Oscar" and "Love" scribbled in permanent marker.

Originally scheduled to last three weeks, the trial on Monday entered its sixth week and has been extended until 16 May.



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