True crime and trial opinions from a layman's perspective
Day 16 is the beginning of the Defense case. Roux begins by telling the Court that he will be introducing the following evidence on behalf of the accused:
Wound ballistics, urine content and gastric emptying, evidence of merits, cricket bat damage to the toilet door, sound, prosthetic marking, lighting, visibility, evidence relevant to the events on Feb 14, evidence relevant to vulnerability. About 14-17 witnesses will testify for their presentation.
The first witness is Dr. Jan Botha. He has been a pathologist since 1975. He has testified in trials on thousands of occasions and has done about 25,000 autopsies. He states he has experience with wound ballistics which is the study of the effects of the projectile on human tissue.
At this point they introduce in to evidence some publications regarding gastric emptying. Botha states that the modern consensus is that it’s highly controversial and an inexact science. There are many variances that affect this process including the type of meal, the calorie content of the meal, the volume, and psychological factors and indications of the person are important as well.
He states “while yes there are general trends, to extrapolate those general trends to a specific case is very hazardous. One cannot be adamant about something which is actually in the realms of speculation.”
Roux wants to know how often a pathologist is given specific details of the deceased such as time of last meal. Botha states he can’t remember ever being approached by an investigator with those details and being asked to take that in to consideration in his post-mortem examination. Also, he typically does not get other details such as volume of the last meal, the person’s neurological, emotional or hormonal interactions. He may on occasion get information about medication that the person had been taking, or perhaps that the person had been involved in some type of argument or altercation but that is the exception.
Roux then asks if there would have been anything in toxicology that could have assisted Botha and he states no. It routinely takes 1-2 years to get toxicology reports back therefore it would not have come back in time for trial. As an aside, that’s a pretty shocking detail.
Wrapping up the gastric emptying portion of his questioning, he wants to know if it is possible that the deceased could have eaten an hour or two prior to death and he replies that it could have been, or it could have been considerably longer. He cannot determine that with any degree of accuracy.
They move on to wound ballistics. Botha was asked to review Mangena’s testimony in court, as well as the post-mortem photographs. He wants to know if he was able to form any opinions about the sequence of the wounding of the deceased. Botha believes he has a reasonably accurate idea about what happened based on the bullet holes in the door, the location of the injuries to the deceased, the possible effects of those injuries and photographs of the toilet area.
His theory is that the first shot that struck the deceased was the hip shot. He believes she was standing with her body slightly flexed forward because of the collar of abrasion.
She was fairly close to the door due to the splinter injuries on the arm.
The right hip joint would have become totally instable due to the injury there and would have resulted in the deceased falling down, possibly a reflex reaction.
The second shot was the one that hit her arm, also causing the abrasions on her chest. He believes the secondary wounds indicate she was close to the door.
He also suspects that the third shot was the one that injured her left hand and hit the toilet wall ricocheting off the tiles. By this time she had dropped considerably and her left hand was over her head. The bullet missed her torso and her head but did hit the webbing of her fingers.
She then fell down against the magazine rack (did not fall on top of it) and while she was falling down she incurred the shot to the head.
Botha does not think that Reeva was sitting on top of the rack because she would have been too high and he would have expected blood spatters on the tiles above the rack. He states there is no blood in that position nor is there blood in the magazine rack. There was some on the front of the rack however.
For the arm, he thinks she would have been too far back against the wall to receive the splinter injuries. Also, she would not have been able to lift her arm to protect herself because the arm injury was so severe that he would equate it to an amputation.
In regards to the two injuries on her lower back, he does not believe they are consistent with what a black talon bullet fragment would cause. He then talks about the striations that are seen on top of the injury. He is very certain that a bullet would not cause those striations. They do correlate though with the wood grain on the scalloped edges of the magazine rack.
Mangena had some pretty funny facial expressions listening to Botha testify. He clearly is not buying what Botha’s selling.
Botha states that he’s not sure how much pain she would have felt, certainly shock and instability. He believes she would have fallen slightly to the right and had complete non-function to the right arm.
The head wound would have been totally incapacitating and she would not have survived long after. There were multiple fractures at the base of her skull but very little blood in her respiratory tract which indicates that she didn’t live long enough for blood to seep down in there. Death happened fairly quickly after sustaining the head injury.
As for the noises (screaming), Botha believes that two factors are important:
1. The sequence of the shots. If he is wrong about the sequencing and she was shot in the head first then she would not have been able to make any sound at all. In the event of rapid succession gunfire, if the shots hit her within maybe 4 seconds, then it is highly unlikely she could have called out. She would be going through shock, panic, fear and possibly pain and before she could process any of that, the head shot would have come last and it would be too late to scream. If there was a longer pause in between shots then yes it would have been possible to scream, but not during rapid succession gunfire.
2. Movement. Due to the severe nature of her injuries, movement would have been reflexive (involuntary). She may have doubled over after being shot in the head but it would not have been a conscious move.
Now they are talking about urine in her bladder. On average, the body produces 60ml of urine per hour. If there is virtually no urine in her bladder than he believes she must have voided her bladder very shortly before she died.
Roux rests and Nel is up to cross-examine.
Nel asks Botha if he knows Dr. Perumal. He says yes. He was the doctor who was at the post-mortem for the defense. Botha was not present for that. Nel wants to know if Botha consulted with him and he says no but he did review his report. Botha states he did not use his report in coming to his conclusions, he primarily used Saayman’s report. Nel suggests to Botha that he discarded Perumal’s report because it was wrong. Botha states no, he used Saayman’s report because it was far more detailed. Remember, Saayman is the medical examiner for the State.
Nel then asks Botha if Saayman would have a better idea of Reeva’s stomach contents since Saayman was there conducting the autopsy and he (Botha) only looked at pictures. He agrees, he would.
Nel then asks him if he is drawing any conclusions about the hip wound based on the collar. Botha says that he believes that Reeva was not erect when that bullet struck otherwise the collar would have been concentric. It was eccentric.
Nel challenges him to bring any literature that exists that supports giving any conclusion about the collar of abrasion after the bullet has gone through a solid object such as a door. Botha states that he’s not thinking away the door. He is using his experience in wound ballistics to come up with this conclusion – the wound itself from the bullet is concentric but the collar is eccentric and that is a sign that the bullet hit at an angle. Botha states he does not know of any publication he could reference. This is just basic wound ballistics.
They go around a few times on what could cause the bullet to be at an angle. Botha believes it’s because Reeva is slightly bent over and Nel believes that the bullet would not be stable after going through the door.
They now talk about Saayman’s findings about the gastric content. Botha agrees that Saayman estimated that Reeva ate within two hours of her death. Saayman also stated in his report that it was not an exact science and Botha agrees. Saayman stated that there may be inter and intra individual factors to take in to account. But there have been fairly good timelines established from a physiological standpoint based on the need to know when it would be safe to administer anesthetics and when to operate on a person. One would have to take in to account the type of food and the volume of food. Saayman also said that at the time of death the physical process of digestion does not stop. Botha does not necessarily agree with this, he has read differing opinions on this. Overall, Botha cannot say whether Saayman is right or wrong on this.
Next, they discuss the sequence of shots. Nel shows Botha the door in court and asks him if he has worked out which shot (A, B, C or D) was the hip shot and he says that no, he has not. He is not in a position to say with any certainty which shot in the door caused which injury. Nel is on fire now. He wants to know how he could show up as an expert at court and give testimony about the sequence of wounds and not relate them to the holes in the door. Botha gets very defense and states to the Judge that he is not a ballistician. Yet, several minutes ago he was testifying to the order of the shots through the door. So he is contradicting himself.
He then tries to explain to the court how he came up with his theories, since he obviously didn’t use the door as he previously stated. He states that the hip, arm and head wound are all at different levels of the body so she obviously wasn’t standing in the same position when she was hit. This is what Mangena testified. But somehow he is trying to be more creative, he’s trying to get her right up against that door so that all injuries happen immediately so the succession of shots can be as quick as possible, so there can be no screaming. But essentially he is saying that he’s “trying” to figure this out on his own without applying the physical evidence at the scene which is a grave error. This doctor should not be testifying about this because he obviously is not a ballistician and does not know what he’s talking about. The defense looked very foolish with this testimony, in my opinion.
Now that he has painted himself in to this corner, Nel is going to put his testimony to the test. He walks him through each of the holes in the door along with the wounds.
They first talk about how Reeva’s body likely would have moved after it was hit by the shots. Since the right hip joint was shattered and instable, Botha believes she would have fallen slightly to the right. Nel points out to him that bullet hole A is likely the entry point for the bullet that hit the hip and considering that, where would she likely fall if it hit her from that location. Botha then states she would probably fall backwards. Exactly what Mangena said.
Botha adds there may have been a slight rotational movement of the body to the right, but ultimately it would be a backwards fall.
Nel now wants to know which bullet hole would have then caused the arm wound. Botha is not sure and explains that he can’t answer because shootings and body movements are dynamic. Nel reminds him that he came there and gave evidence and he is now testing it. He needs to support his evidence.
Nel then states he understands they can’t say with complete certainty exactly what happened, but they certainly can ascertain what is probable, and Botha agrees.
Nel asks Botha to accept that B missed Reeva and hit the tiles, and that leaves C and D as the holes for the arm wound and the head wound. Botha accepts this.
They discuss the right arm wound. It had an entrance and exit and there were also injuries to the torso just below the right breast. The injuries on the torso suggested that there was not a short exit, meaning the arm was being held away from the body in an upward fashion. Botha agrees.
But Botha believes it happened while she was falling. Nel reminds him that they agreed that she was falling after the hip wound. So if she’s falling backwards and gets hit while falling, she is not right up against the door like they were trying to state earlier. Botha now tries to say that he believes she was in “reasonable proximity” to the door and Nel wants to know if the toilet would be considered reasonable proximity. Botha can’t say, and challenges the State to test because he doesn’t believe that anybody has. This makes Nel pause, and Mangena grin in the background. Mangena did test the door.
Nel moves on to the head wound. He wants to know if the head was close to the door when it was hit. Botha is not aware of any findings that suggest that and is not aware of any wood fragments to the head or the face, so he assumes the head was not close to the door.
Nel asks if he were able to show Botha that there was blood spatter on the wall behind the magazine rack and the toilet, and broken hair with tissue on the toilet lid would he be able to say that the head was at toilet level when shot. Botha is not sure, he wants to see the photos.
As soon as Botha sees the image of the toilet lid he agrees that the head must have been very close to that area when it was hit.
He then shows him a pic of the toilet seat and points out that there is blood on the toilet and a separate pool on the ground but it’s not overflowing from the toilet, so can it be assumed that there were two different wounds resting in this location.
Botha states that he would assume the blood in the toilet is from the head and the blood on the floor is from the right arm. Again, exactly what Mangena said.
They move on to the two small wounds on her lower back. Nel wants to make sure that he understands… Botha is saying that striations from wood grain caused the marking on Reeva’s back. He says yes. Not impressions, but actual striations caused by wood grain? He says yes. So they look at the injury together.
In order for there to be a pattern like that there needs to be an edge like that on the magazine rack, not just a striation pattern in the wood grain. It doesn’t make sense what the doctor is alleging.
Nel points out that the hair is still intact on the skin in that area and Botha says that it would not necessarily be removed by that abrasion. But it was a friction wound, according to the doctor, so Nel again asks wouldn’t it be likely that the friction would have removed the hair? Botha states it’s possible. Nel says “forget possible, isn’t it likely?” After Botha goes around and around with him a few times he concedes, yes it’s likely. Nel says “gooood”. And then he says why do we have to struggle so much to get answers? Botha was not too pleased with this comment and says to My Lady that he’s just trying to be as accurate as possible. Nel reminds him that he (Botha) is the one that gave the evidence and he is only testing it. Botha agrees. I have to admit, it was a funny exchange.
They break for tea so Nel can consult with Saayman.
They are back and again talking about the striations in the back wound. Nel points out that it’s very unusual to find perfectly symmetrical striations in wood, and the striations seen here look very symmetrical.
They then look at a close up of the tank top that Reeva was wearing and look at the striation/pattern on the shirt.
Nel asks if it’s possible that the shirt that she was wearing could cause those striations in between the skin and whatever hit her. He does not believe that the surface of the shirt is firm enough to cause that. He believes it would have to be something hard. Nel starts to interrupt him and Roux objects, and they let Botha finish his answer. He refers to the pattern as “tram track” and he believes that a rigid surface would have to cause it. He does not think that a shirt could leave any markings.
Nel revisits the gastric emptying one last time. He asks Botha if he agrees that every day thousands and thousands of surgical and endoscopic procedures are performed on patients on the basis that complete gastric emptying had taken place within 4-6 hours. Otherwise, the patient’s safety would be compromised. Botha agrees that in most patients it will occur within 4-6 hours.
Nel asks Botha if he knows of any reason why it would be different in this case. He says no. He is not aware of any physiological or other factors. Nel then refers to the Knight’s Forensic Pathology book and cites “even if one accepts gastric transit time of an average meal is 2-3 hours, the assumption that death took place within this time could only be valid if the death was sudden and unexpected.” Botha agrees that her death was sudden and unexpected. Therefore it’s not illogical to make the assertion that she ate approximately two hours prior to death.
During this time the court flashes some images of Reeva’s head. This image is briefly seen.
Nel wants to go back to the hip wound now.
Nel establishes with Botha that this is an atypical wound. They talk again about the bullet passing through the door and he asks Botha what would likely happen to that bullet. Botha answers it could possibly either become unstable or slightly deformed. Nel states that based on this, the doctor can’t really say that it was bending over that caused that bruising. He again challenges him to find any literature that supports his theory.
Nel now wants to discuss Oscar’s double tap story. He asks Botha if he is aware that Oscar claimed to do two double taps and he says yes, he did hear that.
So they look back at the door and Nel asks him if hole A was the first shot, then which shot came next. Botha can’t answer, he doesn’t know. Nel reminds him that when he started his testimony he stated “My Lady, in all probability the sequence was…” implying that he understood the sequence of shots. Nel is proving that he does not.
Botha states that he does not think that one can tell much from the door because of the relatively close grouping of the holes but clarifies that he only took in to account the height of the holes and the number of holes, nothing else about the door.
Nel asks him if he took in to account the heights, what did he think hole B hit? He says he’s not sure. Nel tells him that he can assume that hole B was the missed shot and Botha says that he’s still not convinced that shot B missed her. What?? That was a really silly answer because hole B was a definitive test done by Mangena showing that bullet went straight through and hit the wall (proven by laser pointers.) Botha supposedly reviewed Mangena’s testimony but obviously not closely enough.
They do agree though that the head wound in all probability was the last wound that occurred due to the fact that none of the bullet holes have an appropriate height to hit her head standing up and it would have immediately incapacitated her making the other wounds impossible where they hit.
Nel challenges Botha on the screaming. Nel states that Saayman testified that he would have been surprised if she didn’t scream. Nel wants to know if Saayman was wrong. Botha doesn’t come out and say he’s wrong, he just states that screaming depends on the timeframe of the shots. If the shots happened quickly within 4 seconds or so that she very likely was in a state of shock and panic and wouldn’t have had enough time to react before the last shot hit her head. But, he continues, if there was an interval of several seconds between the shots then he believes she could very well have cried out.
Nel says there is one other thing to consider… if while in the toilet she was in mortal fear and a shot then rang out, wouldn’t you expect her to scream. Botha says “I would”. Because then it wouldn’t be a shock and a surprise. Nel informs Botha that both the State’s and the Defense’s version is that she was primed. And boy, did the defense lawyers sit up at attention when they heard this.
Nel wants to know if Botha took that in to account, he states he didn’t because he wasn’t aware she was primed.
In the accused’s version, Oscar is yelling to Reeva that there’s an intruder, call the police, telling the intruder to get out… so she was primed and likely fearful, if we are to believe their version. Under those circumstances, Nel asks Botha, would you have expected her to scream and he says yes.
As far as the bladder is concerned, Botha restates that an average person accumulates 60ml of urine per hour. Having found 5ml of urine in the bladder, Nel wants to know if he can rule out that Reeva had gone to the bathroom 15 minutes before her death and he says no.
Roux has one item to correct the court on. He acknowledges that during his cross-examination of Mangena that he put on record there was a double tap shooting. But directly after adjournment he was informed that he had gotten the version incorrect, it wasn’t double tap it was actually rapid succession. Roux says to put this on him, it was his mistake. All the while Nel is shaking his head. That’s a pretty big “oops”.
Roux also wants to clear up that Reeva never heard that she was going to be shot that night. She heard Oscar say to call the police, etc. but nothing about being shot, according to their version.
With the four shots coming suddenly, Roux wants to know from Botha what a normal reaction would be when one is shot unexpectedly. Botha then goes back to his original answer, he thinks the person would be in shock and wouldn’t have time to respond especially if the shots were rapid succession.
Roux also wants to mention that when Reeva fell on the magazine rack, it’s possible that her shirt moved up at the time, which means that the shirt may not have been a possible cause for the striations. Plus, there were also holes in the back of the shirt. So he is trying to throw out the Defense assertion that the shirt could have caused that pattern.
Roux wants to address the wounds on Reeva’s chest now.
Botha notes that there are several small punctuate wounds, there is another wound which shows a break in the skin, two small triangular bruises and one large dark bruise. These are the types of wounds he would expect to see when the black talon jacket hits the skin. He does not feel the wounds on the back are similar to this.
Nel gets up and says that he is totally surprised by what Roux had to say about the double tap. Roux had previously stated that was Oscar’s version when Mangena was up and there have been several witnesses since, and this is the first that the State is hearing about their change in versions.
Nel had just cross-examined Botha on the double-tap version and now that the Defense is changing their version, he wants to be able to cross-examine Botha on the new rapid succession version.
So Nel looks at the door… again… with Botha and asks him in light of the shots being rapid succession, knowing that A was the hip shot and B missed her, how can he explain the C and D shots and where they hit her.
Botha actually laughed at this question and Nel says he also feels like laughing.
Botha answers that if somebody fires in rapid succession, unless you are a skilled marksman, the gun can move around. Using their theory, if A hit her and she was bent over, and the shots were rapid succession, wouldn’t C and/or D have hit her right next to the door. But Botha states she would have been falling backwards. Nel tries to work out a few scenarios but can’t make it work and it appears to me that Botha is just trying to make it fit and pretty much winging it at this point.
Nel concludes “Professor, on rapid shots, your version makes less sense.”
Nel rests and no further questions from Roux.
Next witness on the stand… Oscar Pistorius.
There is something that Oscar wants to do first. He wants to apologize to Reeva’s family and friends.
He assures them that he was trying to protect Reeva and that night when she went to bed she felt loved. He has tried to put his words on paper many, many times but no words could ever suffice.
Roux then asks him if he is on medication. He states that yes he is and lists what he is on. Primarily anti-depressants and sleeping pills. He is afraid to sleep and wakes up terrified. He states that he doesn’t ever want to be around or handle a firearm again. He has a guard that stands outside of his door and often phones his sister in the middle of the night to come and sit with him.
Roux then takes Oscar through his family situation. He states he has a brother and a sister and they grew up in a loving home.
His Dad always worked away from home so their Mom primarily raised them. His parents divorced when he was 6 and his Mom got remarried when he was 14. She passed away when he was 15.
Next, Oscar is asked to explain the difficulty with his legs. Oscar doesn’t like to refer to it as a difficulty, he states he has prosthetics to help him overcome the challenge. But when his legs are off he has a hard time balancing and limited mobility. He explains that he was born with a birth defect, he did not have fibulas. His parents consulted with doctors and they decided the best course of action was to amputate. That happened at 11 months old and he got his first prosthetics at 13 months. He had to have new prosthetics made regularly as he grew and the technology back then was not great, so his legs changed a lot.
He was raised by his Mom to not be any different. She didn’t want the disability to hold him back and encouraged him to play sports and he did play many sports. She treated him exactly the same as she treated his brother and sister.
He did have a few occasions in school where he was bullied but his parents encouraged him to stand up for himself. He got in trouble once for getting in a physical altercation when standing up for himself but his Mom came to school and explained to them that she told Oscar to stand up for himself and that is what he did.
His mother had a lot of security concerns, especially since his Dad wasn’t around much. She carried a pistol and would often call the police at night when scared. There was often crime in the area. There were a few break-ins at their home. She kept her firearm under her pillow in a padded leather bag.
He went to boarding school for high school, Pretoria High. This was Oscar’s choice. His brother switched schools and went there with him as well. He fit in well and played rugby and water polo. He later moved over to athletics (running).
While playing rugby, Oscar had a knee injury and was receiving sport rehabilitation. It was recommended that he get a coach to help with his fitness. This was in Sept of 2003. In January 2004 he started training with his coach. He asked him to participate in a disabled athletics meeting in March of that year. He was hesitant at first because he didn’t see himself as disabled. But then the opportunity came up to go to America for the Paralympics and everything took off from there. He never returned to any other sports, just focused on running.
Roux then wants to discuss Oscar’s Mom again. He asks him how his Mom’s death affected him. He states she was very important to him and his siblings. Her passing was unexpected. Afterwards, the kids stayed at their Aunt’s house as well as at other family or friend’s homes. Some holidays were spent with their father but they didn’t see him very often.
Oscar became seriously involved with athletics his first year at University. He had a hard time balancing school and running so he made the decision to try to turn professional at that point. It was a struggle financially at first as there was not much money in Paralympic athletics. So he competed in mostly able-bodied events on a local and regional level. In 2007, he had his first opportunity to run able-bodied races internationally. In 2009, he began to really excel in his sport.
He talked about the testing he had to go through to be qualified to run in the Olympics. After this time he was really focused on ways to improve himself to be better, faster and stronger.
Roux then asks if he experienced any physical difficulties in his athletic career. He says yes he has had fatigue of certain muscle groups and skin irritation inside of the prosthetics. He would often run with bloodied stumps and would just have to wrap them and keep running. He has dealt with blood clotting on some long airplane flights.
He does not have balance on his stumps nor can he stand still on his stumps. He keeps his prosthetic legs right next to his bed when he takes them off at night and when he gets up he puts them back on. He seldom has times where he goes without them unless he is in his room and needs to grab something close by or just wants to stretch. But he reiterates that he doesn’t have good balance on his stumps.
When Oscar first had his legs amputated, they put his heel pads on the bottom of the stumps. But as his bones grew the heel pad on his left leg has rotated to the back of the leg. He has spoken with his surgeon over the last few years about having his left stump revised but has not had time to do it due to his career. He can’t put full weight on his left stump so he has to rotate his left leg out when he walks on his stumps. He doesn’t have balance so if he’s not holding on to something, he has to move around continuously.
He then talks about the charitable work that he has done.
Oscar also talked about having less time to spend with friends. He traveled frequently and was rarely home. Having money changed the dynamics of his relationships.
Roux next wants to talk about Oscar’s boating accident in 2009. He and a friend went to the Vaal River one weekend afternoon and took a boat out around 6pm. While coming back in on the boat that night there were a few friends who were in a rush to get back to the house to cook dinner. His cousin was on another boat and he suggested that they go with his cousin, as he and his friend John wanted to have a leisurely cruise.
They were just moving along talking and at one point his friend stood up to light a cigarette and started shouting. Oscar couldn’t see anything because the sun was setting in front of them. A few seconds later he heard the sound of the propeller going in to the air and the sound of the engine. His face felt very hot and the boat was half full with water. His friend John was in the boat picking up belongings and as he asked Oscar if he was okay, he turned around and had a look of shock on his face when he looked at Oscar.
Oscar felt his face at that point and his face had been smashed in from the nose down. Oscar phoned his cousin and his uncle for help. The boat sank and they floated in the water until help came. Oscar was dragged on to his cousin’s boat, people were screaming. He walked from the boat to the car but doesn’t remember the drive. He then got in to an ambulance and almost drowned on the blood that was accumulating in his mouth. He was in an induced coma for several days and he woke up in the hospital.
According to Oscar, there was a massive impact on him after this accident. He was a lot more vigilant after almost losing his life. He became fearful and withdrawn. He read in the media that he had been drinking and people were making fun of him, but he states it was not funny, he almost lost his life. And he denies drinking that night.
Roux wants to know how Oscar treats his prosthetic legs at night. Oscar likes to air them out at night. He typically leaves his pants on his legs. He pulls them down to the ankle, removes the legs and leaves the pants on them. They are usually always close by to him. At the track, he typically puts his bag or belongings on top of them. He considers them an extension of his body so he doesn’t just leave them lying around. He also rarely likes to be seen without them on. Roux takes the lunch break.
They return and Roux wants to know how being away from home so frequently affects him. He states being away from home so much, being in different time zones and schedules constantly changing make it very difficult.
The Judge has pretty much just been watching him intently through his testimony. She takes some notes but far fewer than usual.
Roux wants to discuss Oscar’s use of alcohol and drugs. Oscar states that he does drink. Every year pre-season training starts in November and goes through Christmas and he does not drink during that time. Over Christmas and New Years he typically goes away with friends and family and he will have alcohol during that time. From January through September he does not consume any alcohol. September and October is his off period and he will socially drink during this timeframe as well, sometimes excessively. Roux asks him again if he had any drinks on the day of the boating accident in 2009 and he states he only had one drink that day.
As for drugs, he does not use drugs. The only time he ever did was on the day his mother passed when he was 15, he smoked weed with a friend. He has never taken any illegal sports-enhancing drugs. He only takes supplements that he knows are safe and not prohibited in his sport.
Roux asks him if he has ever been exposed to crime. Oscar states that pretty much anybody who lives in South Africa has experienced crime. As a child he experienced a break-in at his Dad’s where they ransacked the whole home. His Mom was broken in to on several occasions. They stole electronic equipment. His Dad has also been hijacked twice. His brother was a victim of hijacking and other family members have been victims of violent crime as well.
In 2005, Oscar’s home was broken in to once while he was away at an event. He received a call from a neighbor who notified him. He could not make it back home at the time and came home a week later to see that a TV and laptop had been taken. His car roof had been cut with a knife as well.
Another night there was a person out in his garden and they kicked and injured his dog.
He also states that he has been followed home late at night more than once. Because the media has been to his home many times for interviews, people know where he lives. He has also been shot at on the highway.
One night while driving home from an interview in Johannesburg, a car came up behind him, slowed down in front of him and he saw a muzzle flash and heard a bang. He drove across 3 lanes and exited the highway and looped around to get to a busy area. He stayed there for a while and phoned a friend to come and take him home.
He also recounts the same story that Samantha Taylor testified about. In his version of the story, he called security to report he was being followed. He sped up just as they neared the gate, pulled over and jumped out of the car with his hand on his gun. He backed away from the car and the two men in the other car drove off.
One time Oscar assisted somebody else who was a victim of a crime. A woman was being assaulted in a parking lot by two gentlemen. Oscar pulled up and got out of his car and told them to back up and leave her. There was a police car patrolling in the area and a bystander called them over.
Another time in Jan 2013, near his home he was coming home from a training session. He was parked at a light and a Corolla ran the light and then a taxi ran the light and smashed in to the Corolla running it off the road. They then started throwing bricks out of the window. The people inside the taxi started smashing the windows of the other car and dragged the guy out in to the street and were beating him.
At that point, Oscar ran the light and drove up to the cars. He drew his gun and pointed it at the 3 people and they jumped in their taxi and sped off. The man who had been beaten was very bloody and kept falling every time he tried to get up. So Oscar grabbed him by the collar and leg of his pants and dragged him to the side of the road and told him he needed to sit down. He called Netcare and the police and by this time about 30 people had come up from the shopping center to help. Oscar gave him a towel from his car. Once the situation was contained, he got in his car and left.
In Dec 2012, he was assaulted at a party after he had received threats from a person (he doesn’t say who). This man introduced himself and said he should be afraid because his name was being mentioned in his circles and he wanted to give him the heads up. Oscar thanked him and terminated the conversation.
Later in the evening he went to the bathroom and he heard the same man talking on his cell phone outside, and he was clearly talking to the man who was threatening Oscar. So he went out there and asked to speak to the man. Oscar states he was then verbally assaulted for 10 minutes. He put down the phone to terminate the conversation and shortly after he got hit in the head and needed stitches in the back of his head. He also had a black eye. Two days later he reported the incident to the Hawks. They scheduled a meeting with Oscar and the involved party and they got it on record. But he did not want it to get out to the media so they left it at that.
Oscar moved in to his home in Silverwoods Estate in 2008. There were only 27 lots developed at the time and there was constantly building the entire time he lived there. He has not been back to his home since the shooting.
He was aware that the building contractor who was working on his house, Mr. Menolo, had been victim of crime in their estate where somebody used a ladder to gain access to the second floor of his home.
He was also aware of a housekeeper being tied up in 2012.
On the night of February 13th, Oscar was talking to his cousin on the phone and his cousin was telling him that he was driving up from Port Elizabeth in a new company car, a GTi Gulf. Oscar told him not to drive up in his new car because cars can easily get hijacked.
In December 2012, Oscar had gone to look at a property in Johannesburg. He was really falling for Reeva and wanted to ask her to move in with him. He put in an offer on the property which was accepted, but realized that he had to fix up some things at his current home before he could sell it. There were some damp issues, the house needed to be painted, the broken window downstairs, some carpentry issues, etc. He hired a contractor in January and February to work on the home.
Roux asks him how the downstairs window was broken. Oscar says that he was playing with his dog in the garden and he threw a cricket ball and it went through the window accidentally. It was scheduled to be fixed on Feb 14th or 15th. The glass was already purchased and at the home, just waiting to be fitted. The contractor is his friend Mr. Menolo.
Oscar got his first dog when he bought his first townhouse in 2005. It was a jack russell. Two years later he got a bull terrier because he wanted a better watch dog. Three years later he rescued an American pit bull. His dogs are not aggressive, they are very friendly. He selected them because he thought they would make good security dogs but in actuality they turned out to be pretty docile.
He no longer has the jack russell, he passed away in 2011.
Religion is important to Oscar. His speaks of his Mom’s faith and her role in the church. When his Mom passed away he struggled a bit with faith but it is again a part of his life. In 2012, he put a lot of faith in the Lord to help him get to where he wanted to be. And when he met Reeva he considered it to be a blessing. He liked that she was a strong Christian. She would pray for him at night, they would pray before they ate.
Religion has helped him get through this past year, he has struggled a lot. Roux asks him if he slept last night and he says no sir. Oscar states he’s very tired and there are a lot of things going through his mind. The weight of this is extremely overbearing. Roux calls for an early adjournment. Nel does not object as long as it’s not a daily occurance. The Judge states Oscar does look exhausted and calls it a day.