Oscar Trial – Day 34, July 1 LIN, VAN ZYL

Peet van Zyl

Peet Van Zyl, Oscar’s Manager

Ivan Lin, the acoustic engineer, is back on the stand.

Nel points out to him that the last sentence of his report states that the process that he followed excludes the possibility of a 100% reproduction of the original sound source and the perception of the sound from the listener’s perspective. He used a model and used averages to convey his findings.

Nel wants to know when he completed this report and Lin responds that he just completed it the week prior.

Nel wants to know what materials were used for him to create the scenarios in his report. He says the three possible sound sources were in the toilet, in the bathroom and on the balcony. He studied the actual location of the listeners’ positions, and where their window and door locations were. Nel asks him if he read the record, and Lin responds no. Nel asks him if he understands that there has been a lot of new development since the time of the incident. He is aware of that. He could visually see the changes. He did have assistance from the Defense team while he was there. The Defense provided the scenarios to him.

Nel wants to know if it was ever put to him that at the site that was 177 meters away, the bedroom window was closed. Lin answers, no. Nel asks, nobody told you that the window was wide open? Lin answers, that information was not available to him. He also did not have access to the premises at 177 meters; he only viewed a photograph of it.

Nel is making the point to the court that it was not a complete investigation and he only used the scenarios that were put to him by the Defense. He is making findings and assumptions based off of the version that they want to tell. And all of this was done within the last two weeks prior to court.

Nel puts to him, that if the window at the source which is 177 meters away was open, we can exclude all the portions of his model where he listed the window as closed. He agrees that yes they could do that if the window was indeed open.

Nel wants to know, even though his report states that one can ever say with 100% certainty whether a voice is male or female based on just hearing it, would he concede that more often than not, we are able to differentiate them. Lin says its all perception and perception can’t be completely reliable. He does concede though that it is common sense that we can identify them, just not scientific certainty.

Nel moves on and says that from his report, paragraph 5.9, Lin has identified that the typical human scream is 100-120db. On the State’s version, the deceased screamed because she feared for her life. Nel wants to know, in considering that; wouldn’t he put the db closer to 120 than 110? Lin says that 120db is extremely loud, almost the same as a jet engine taking off. Lin says that it’s a very slight possibility, but it is a possibility. It’s hard for him to say yes or no, just that it’s possible.

Increasing the decibels would affect the charts that are included in his report. We do not see the charts shown in court, but Nel is opening up the possibility for the Judge to consider that things were heard beyond what he has written in his report, especially when you keep in mind that he only based his report on variables that the Defense gave him.

Nel moves on to the sound of the gun being fired. An average db level of a gun being fired is somewhere around 160, according to Nel. Lin can’t say for sure but he will accept that it is significantly higher than the db of the human voice. Nel asks, if there is hypothetically a 20% difference in db between the sound of a human voice and a gun firing, wouldn’t the listener hear those sounds at a 20% difference as well? Lin agrees.
Nel asks, if a woman screams, will there be a certain pitch in her voice? He answers yes; it does have a certain tonal character.

Nel also asks, if a normal background noise is taking place, and then you hear sounds of a woman or man screaming, would the screams be more noticeable because they have a different type of tonal character. Lin agrees, yes.

Nel next references the South African National Standard – The Measurement and Rating of Environmental Noise with Respect to Annoyance and Speech Communication, and says in terms of this standard and dealing with tonal character (voices), you should add 5db. Lin says this is based on continuous noise source and he’s not certain that it’s applicable in this context. He says that typically this is applied to things like a loud machine or loud disco and it’s occurring over a certain amount of time, it’s not necessarily something with tonal character like a voice. A voice is an impulse noise that you cannot average over time. He doesn’t agree with Nel on this point that 5db should be added. Nel says, but this is the standard so in following it, you should have added 5db in your report. It would have made a significant difference in his graph if he had applied it.

Nel shows the court a photograph, which Lin has seen. The red arrow on the photos depicts Oscar’s house as seen from the patio which has direct line of sight. This view is 177 meters away (the Johnson/Burger home)

Burger Johnson patio

Burger Johnson patio2

We next look at the photo which depicts the view from 80 meters away (the Stipp home)

Their balconies

Stipp house

View from the bedroom/balcony looking over to Oscar’s bathroom windows

Stipp bedroom

Nel illustrates that there is direct line of sight through the open balcony door to the back of Oscar’s house.

Nel points out that in Lin’s report, the db levels that were used were the same as you would use for a solid window that is sealed. Again, he is pointing out the fact that you cannot fully rely on the db levels that he has chosen to use for this report as they do not accurately depict the exact variables of that evening.

Nel proceeds to go through the report and from each vantage point, create some doubt about the levels that were used to make findings. And Lin concedes that his levels are not exact. The Judge will have to keep that in mind when considering his report.

Nel wraps up by stating to Lin that four state witnesses all testified that they heard screams, not cries, from a woman. That must be reliable, correct? Lin asks from what distance. Nel says two from 80 meters away and two from 177 meters away. They don’t know each other, nor have they spoken to each other. Lin says he believes that they heard a sound but it’s not up to him to interpret if what they heard was correct. Nel says, but they did hear it. Lin will not make a comment about whether he thinks they were right or not.

Nel next looks at a page from Lin’s report and addresses the source at 80 meters away. He says that if the source of the sound was in the toilet and the listener was standing on the balcony, the sound would be audible and intelligible. With intelligible he does not exclude the capability to distinguish between male and female voices. Lin explains that intelligible means that it describes the level at which something can be understood but it involves human interpretation.

So it brings us back to four witnesses using their interpretation that what they heard that night were female screams and then both a male and female voice shouting at the same time. If the Judge finds these witnesses credible, there is no reason for her to not believe that what they interpreted was accurate, especially considering that all of their accounts match.

Nel gets Lin to concede that the ranges in his report are what is possible from a scientific perspective, but do not rule out all other possibilities, and with that he nor anybody else can tell the court that the witnesses were lying or are wrong about what they heard.

Nel concludes and Roux does a very brief re-examination to point out to the court that the new homes that were built in the community do not affect the calculations that Lin used for his findings.

Lin is excused.

The next witness is Peet Van Zyl.

Van Zyl is Oscar’s manager/agent, also known as an athlete representative. He met him in 2004, and they have worked together since 2006.

Their business relationship entails him securing competitions, negotiating and acquiring sponsorships and managing financial affairs. They had daily contact while he was fulfilling this role.

Through all of the interaction that he has had with Oscar over the years, it was evident to him that Oscar had a heightened sense of awareness. He would often drive excessively fast to the airport because he wanted to make sure that they weren’t followed. Whenever he had to park somewhere public, he always parked in an open space with easy access and good lighting. He did this as an extra security measure.

Roux also has him recount a few specific times where Oscar reacted in a panicky manor. In 2011, they were at an event in New York. While walking down the street there was a loud bang noise which scared Oscar and in response, he grabbed Van Zyl’s arm. Van Zyl found it odd for a grown man to grab his arm.

Also, while abroad and in hotel rooms, Oscar would be very cautious about who was at his door. He would always have the extra security latches on the door fastened.

All of this is pretty silly, in my opinion. I always use the extra security latches on my hotel door and would also probably grab somebody’s arm if I were startled. Granted, I am female, but it’s not the craziest thing in the world to have a physical reaction when startled. (And for the record, shooting 4 shots through a door is not an acceptable physical reaction when startled) Those are pretty basic responses, not what I would consider to be excessively paranoid. The Defense is really reaching here.

They next focus on how Van Zyl and Oscar would often meet at Oscar’s house to discuss schedules and contracts. He could never keep Oscar focused for long as he was frequently fidgeting and asking his house assistant (Frank) where the dogs were, if the doors were locked, etc.

At restaurants and coffee houses, he always wanted a clear view of the entrance/exit of the establishment.

Typically when flying, he would always keep his prosthetics on. There was one instance where he had bad blisters on his stumps and he removed his stumps during the flight. He used a blanket to cover his legs. He fell asleep during the flight and one of his legs fell over in to the aisle. The flight attendant picked up the leg to put it back in place. Oscar became startled and jumped up, grabbed it out of her hands and was trying to avoid anybody seeing that he had prosthetics.

My interpretation of this is not that it was a startle. It sounds to me like an insecure man who had the ability to be rude when somebody did something that he didn’t like. I think Van Zyl is just trying to use this example as a poor Oscar gets scared sometimes scenario, but in actuality it sounds like he acted like a jerk towards the flight attendant who was just trying to help him.

Roux asks how long in total time he spent with Oscar. Van Zyl says that they would be together throughout the whole athletics season (May – August). Their training base was in Italy. They also traveled to competitions and events.

Roux wants to know if he displayed any aggression during these times. He can only recall two incidents were Oscar lost his temper. He would not consider it aggression. Van Zyl says that he personally lost his temper more than Oscar did, usually because of abusive questioning from the media. One occasion was when they landed in Barcelona for a competition. As they arrived, a camera crew stuck a camera in his face and called him a cheat because he wanted to compete against able-bodied athletes. Both Oscar and Van Zyl lost their temper in that instance.

Next was in London. Oscar had an interview scheduled at the BBC. They were there at the studio and a journalist asked the question, don’t you think you’re an embarrassment to your country for trying to compete at the Olympic games? Again, both lost their temper and were asked to leave the studio.

Van Zyl did have the chance to meet Reeva on a number of occasions at different venues. He viewed their relationship as loving and caring. They were always calling each other pet names. Oscar did involve her in his career.

Van Zyl states that he and Oscar had a meeting at Oscar’s house on February 7, 2013. They laid out all of his contracts and calendar for the year on his large dining room table and they were planning his season. They started with a big event in Moscow and then worked backwards from there, looking at specific dates. They identified an event in Brazil on March 31st and another in Manchester on May 25th where he wanted to invite Reeva to come along. He asked Van Zyl to contact the organizers to get permission. Van Zyl states that this is the first time that Oscar has ever asked him for anything like that. He’s never asked in the past for his girlfriends to come on any trips with him.

Van Zyl asked Oscar why he wanted to bring her. Oscar’s response was that he wanted Reeva to see what his world was about and the pressure that he was under. He wanted her to see how he needs to perform and also why he sometimes can’t go to functions with her; because he needs to have enough sleep to train and perform at the levels he’s required to perform at. Also, he wanted her to understand that there may be certain events that he cannot go to with her due to his own sponsor commitments. Since his diet was so strict, there were often times that he had to decline going out to restaurants.

Well, thanks Peet, for solidifying that Oscar Pistorius is every bit as selfish as Nel has asserted during this trial. Not once did he say that he wanted to bring her with him on these trips because he loved her and wanted to share his time with her. It was all about him needing her to understand HIS life.

If you want to read a narrative on how Oscar’s career and contracts may have played a role in the incident on February 14th, I would suggest reading Resurrection and Revelations by Nick van der Leek. He is a photojournalist and editor of the South African Man website who has written some really thought-provoking e-books about the trial, Oscar, Reeva and society in general. There are actually four books in total, with the fifth one coming out this week. You can find them on Amazon.

http://www.africanman.co.za/

Next, Roux turns in some documents that were provided by Van Zyl. The first is an email between Van Zyl and Andy Cain, who is the meeting director of the Manchester event. This communication took place at 7:29pm on February 13, 2013. The night of the incident, right around the time that Oscar claims he and Reeva were having dinner at the large dining room table and discussing HER contracts. Van Zyl was finalizing the terms and conditions for Oscar competing at this event. The terms that still needed to be clarified were the request for an additional business class flight for Reeva to join Oscar on this trip.

OP head down

Van Zyl states that he wants to add that there was also a contract in place for Oscar to compete in Brazil. He says that Reeva’s ticket for this event had already been secured but he then goes on to say that they had secured tickets for five people in total which would consist of Oscar, Ampie Louw, Van Zyl, the physiotherapist and Reeva.

He is trying to make it sound like Reeva agreed to these trips, implying that she was committed to Oscar and wanted to be with him. But it’s possible that he had five tickets for Manchester without any specific names on them just yet. Had Reeva really agreed to go with him and put her own life and career on hold? Maybe she did, maybe she didn’t. We can only speculate. It’s feasible that this was the source of Oscar and Reeva’s issue that night, particularly in light of the fact that Van Zyl was emailing the Manchester director only a few short hours before Oscar killed Reeva. Is that a coincidence?

Roux asks Van Zyl what the financial position was of Oscar at that time. Van Zyl responds that due to Oscar’s outstanding performances at the London Olympic and Paralympic games, his profile was raised to global sports icon status. Based on this, he had a number of opportunities to partner with corporations. The financial implications were substantial; five to six times more than what it was prior to the Olympics. He had contracts in place that would run until the end of 2017, when he would announce his retirement from athletics. Some current sponsors were negotiating with him for brand ambassador roles post-retirement as well. The contracts that he had involved significant monetary gain, as well as the opportunity for shares and royalties. Roux asks Van Zyl if Oscar was aware of the bright financial future he had ahead of him and Van Zyl says yes, he was well aware. He is an astute businessman who understood what he was about to gain.

Roux then brings up another event that Oscar wanted to share with Reeva; an Andrea Bocelli concert in Tuscany, Italy, on July 13th. Van Zyl was the one who made the suggestion to Oscar to take her to that, and Oscar was excited about the idea. He asked Van Zyl to look in to it.

Roux wants to know if Van Zyl ever discussed these plans with Reeva directly and he says yes he did. Oscar phoned Reeva on his iPhone to do a video call, and passed the phone to Van Zyl. Van Zyl told her the good news about Brazil and that he was working on another trip to Manchester. He states that she was excited about the possibility of traveling to these competitions with them. Is it possible that she was being polite at the time but perhaps had a change of heart later?

Roux concludes and Nel is up to cross-examine.

Nel starts by saying that he was not expecting so much character evidence to be presented today so he needs a little more time to prepare. But he will get in as much as possible for the remainder of the day.

Nel confirms with Van Zyl that one of his main duties is to look after his client. He has to deal with negative media and press as part of his job, as well as look after his well-being in general.

Nel wants to address the fact that Oscar drives at high speeds and wants to know how Van Zyl was aware that he was doing that. Van Zyl squirms a little on this but finally states that it was another athlete that used to drive with him who told him about his driving habits. Plus, Van Zyl witnessed this himself when they drove together to the airport. Nel asks him if he ever discussed this habit with Oscar. He says that he did not and Nel wants to know why. Van Zyl says that the time that he drove fast with him, he was not driving recklessly. He had not received complaints per se so he didn’t address it.

I understand where Nel is going with this. It is a manager’s duty to make sure their lucrative client is behaving properly and safely, especially in light of the amount of money they stood to gain. He absolutely should have been counseling Oscar about his poor and unsafe behavior. But if in fact he did not, then it’s just a further example of how the people in his life enabled him.

Oscar annoyed

Nel next addresses how Van Zyl testified that there were only two times when Oscar lost his temper. He wants to know if Van Zyl forgot about the time when Oscar lost a race and called his competitor a cheat. Van Zyl says he did not forget about that but he was not in London during that time. He is aware of the situation, but didn’t include it in his testimony because he only spoke about times that he witnessed himself.

Regardless, Nel wants to know if he addressed this with Oscar. Van Zyl says, yes, there was a PR company that he used while in London for the games. He delegated this situation to them and they handled it. Van Zyl then goes in to an explanation of how this competitor had switched his legs for various events and there was a general feeling amongst the athletes that he was cheating. Oscar took it up with the IPC and requested better guidelines on what is allowed and not allowed. Van Zyl seemingly makes an excuse here saying that the incident was a long time in the making. Sounds like major sour grapes to me. Van Zyl does concede that Oscar lost his temper on that day as well.

Nel wants to know if Van Zyl ever met Oscar’s other girlfriends. He states yes, he had met Jenna Edkins and Samantha Taylor. Nel states that they’ll have to make a correction to Van Zyl’s testimony because Oscar did take Samantha overseas with him. Van Zyl says not for competition, it was for a television program. Oscar worked out the details with the production company directly.

Oscar and Samantha in the Seychelles

Van Zyl says the relationship between he and Oscar is one of a professional nature, but he was indeed introduced to these three women as his girlfriends. As to what Oscar does in his private life, he wasn’t always aware of. Personally, I find it highly odd and not really believable that he was supposedly so distanced from Oscar’s personal life. Nel wants to know if he ever discussed any details about his relationship with Samantha Taylor. Van Zyl says no, he did not discuss the relationship with him.

It’s always interesting to me when there are difficult topics being discussed, or topics that Oscar is likely lying about; Oscar keeps his head down and won’t make eye contact with anybody.

Van Zyl says that all he knew was that Samantha was his girlfriend. Oscar never asked Van Zyl to arrange for her to accompany him on trips or attend events.

Nel says there was an incident that he read about where Oscar’s roommate asked to be put in a different room. Does he know anything about this? Van Zyl says that he was made aware of it by the team management. Nel says that the reason the roommate wanted to move out was because Oscar was constantly arguing on the phone and he couldn’t take it anymore, according to what he read.

Van Zyl says he can’t comment on that because he wasn’t there. Van Zyl is clearly trying to dodge this question, while Oscar continues to hang his head down, and Nel says to him that he is asking him directly… did he know why this athlete wanted to change rooms. Van Zyl says that if this man made the statement that it was due to Oscar being on the phone, then I guess we’ll have to accept that. Nel tells him that he doesn’t have to accept anything; he just has to answer questions. Let’s try this again… why did the man want to leave the room, based on what he heard? Van Zyl said it was because of problems he had with Oscar. Nel asks, what problems? He answers that he doesn’t have specifics. Nel hammers him some more and Van Zyl finally answers that it was because Oscar was on the phone.

Nel says, now I’m worried. I specifically asked you this question 3 or 4 questions ago, and you didn’t know, but now you want to give an answer. Oscar is fidgeting pretty well in the dock and passing notes to his team.

Oscar passing notes

OP look after note

Nel asks him if it’s difficult for him to say negative things about Oscar. He answers, no. He again tries to explain it away by saying that he wasn’t there at the time and it was dealt with. The only person who contacted him afterwards was Ampie Louw, Oscar’s coach, who informed him that they had moved Oscar to a different room. It was only put to Van Zyl that there were issues with this athlete. Nothing more specific. Nel phrases the question differently; have you heard this version about the athlete being upset because of Oscar being constantly on the phone? He then says no, he has not heard that specific version which actually contradicts what he just said two minutes ago. It’s obvious he’s being evasive.

Nel moves on to February 14, 2013. He wants to know if Van Zyl discussed the incident with Oscar. He says he only discussed his condolences with him. He goes on to state that he has not discussed the specifics of the incident at all with him. He has not asked him what happened. How is that possible? He has been his manager and friend for 8 years. I do not find that believable.

Nel asks if he is familiar with Oscar’s love for guns. Van Zyl says he only learned of it recently. The first time he ever saw Oscar carrying a gun was in November of 2012. He was not aware that he was taking part in shooting activities at the range. When he did see the gun that time, it was at his residence, and he asked Oscar why he was carrying a gun. Oscar told him it was because he feared for his own safety.

Nel wants to know if Van Zyl ever read an article from a British journalist who said that Oscar would go out at night to the range to practice shooting if he couldn’t sleep. Van Zyl says that he did read this article. Nel wants to know if he discussed this with Oscar. Van Zyl said he didn’t. Nel asks him if the article was positive or negative. Van Zyl says he didn’t see it as negative. Nel points out that in that same article is a picture of the 9mm in Oscar’s bedroom.

Nel wants to know if Van Zyl believed that Oscar was paranoid. He cannot call it paranoia or vigilance; he doesn’t feel qualified to make that judgement.

Nel says he’s jumping around a bit, but will be better prepared tomorrow. He moves on to Samantha Taylor and wants to know if Van Zyl was aware that he didn’t treat her very well. Van Zyl says that he never experienced him treating her badly. Oscar was always kind and courteous. And furthermore, he’s never seen Oscar treat any other person in an aggressive or undignified way.

Nel says he has carefully noted Oscar’s calculated reasons for wanting to take Reeva to Manchester. He points out how it is all about Oscar. Oscar got a good laugh out of that.

Oscar laughing

Oscar laughing2

Van Zyl felt it was really a case of Oscar wanting to show his girlfriend what the world of a professional athlete is about. He goes on to say that most of his other top athletes do the same thing.

Nel asks Van Zyl about Oscar wanting to take Samantha to the Olympics with him. He answers that he was never asked at any stage about taking her specifically. There were friends and family members that he did organize tickets for but not for Samantha.

Nel asks for an early adjournment and the Judge grants it so he can prepare for further cross-examination tomorrow.

After the completion of trial today, Arnu Fourie, the athlete in London who requested to move rooms, posted a tweet explaining why he made that request. This account does not match up with what he originally told to the reporter at the time. We know that Van Zyl testified today that there were issues, but those issues are not mentioned anywhere in Arnu’s statement. Is Arnu telling the truth or not?

http://ewn.co.za/2014/07/02/Oscar-Pistorius-Arnu-Fourie-releases-statement

Oscar Trial – Day 33, June 30 VERSVELD, LIN

OP and psych eval

This first day back after a month break in trial begins with the results of the psychiatric evaluation. It has been determined that Oscar did not suffer from a mental defect at the time of the offense. He was able to act in accordance with an appreciation for right and wrong. It was also determined that he does not suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), therefore the testimony of Dr. Vorster, in my opinion, will not be considered relevant in this trial. The evaluation did state that Oscar is believed to be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression. The trial went on to proceed.

Dr. Versveld is the orthopedic surgeon who performed the original amputation operation on Oscar as a baby. He is still his doctor to this day.

On May 7, 2014, Oscar gave the following report detailing the current condition of his stumps to Dr. Versveld. The details are as follows:

• He can stand with his knees straight and put weight on his stump on the right side
• On the left side, he has to move the pad around to stand on it (the pad rolls with the end of the stump). If he’s not concentrating, it can click and it’s extremely painful.
• If he is able to put his left stump in the right position, he can stand on his left leg and put the right leg forward, but there is discomfort and insecurity. I have to bend the left knee to put weight on it.
• When he is standing, he can’t stand still, he has to move the stumps around.
• He can’t stand for long (1-2 minutes). Then the weight starts hurting.
• It is better on a soft surface, and worse on a hard surface.
• His balance is better in the light. In the dark, he really struggles.
• At night, if he gets out of bed, he holds on to things.
• If he is standing and is pushed, he will tend to fall over.
• If he puts sudden weight on the stump, the pad will move backwards. It clicks, and it is sore. It is sorer on the left side than the right.
• He struggles to carry something when he’s on his stumps because he struggles to balance. He needs his arms to balance.
• He falls often, mostly because of the left stump but sometimes because of the right too.
• If he clicks that stump (the left one), he falls to the floor. It’s like a shock of pain. It lasts for about 15 seconds.
• The pad goes back when the weight is off. When this happens, he grabs the stumps and squeezes it and it gets better.
• He falls about once a week or once every two weeks.
• If he gets out of bed, he can just fall down. If the bed is a different height, when I put the stump down, I can fall down.
• At night, I will go to the loo without prosthesis. But he doesn’t go in to the house without prosthesis.
• He can’t reach for things and he can’t move quickly.
• The dog can knock him over and has many times.
• He bathes rather than showers because he can’t stand long. He has a bench in the shower since he can’t stand and wish himself. He has slipped many times in the shower. If there is a small mosaic in the shower, he can’t stand on it.
• When he has no prosthesis on, he needs to bend the left knee and put the left stump down so that the outside of the stump is in contact with the floor.
• He has to bend his left leg and walk with his back bent.
• If he walks without prosthesis on a small stone or a crease in the carpet, it is painful.
• He can’t stand on pavement. Even a small inequality of stone, and he is in trouble.
• If he turns around, he shuffles.
• He has to be careful as the bone moves, as the stump could click out.
• He gets back pain when he stands on his artificial legs. If he stands for about an hour, his lower back gets sore and shortly after that, his stumps become sore.
• If he races, and has to do an interview on those prosthesis (the blades), and he’s on them for more than an hour, they feel constricted, tight, and throbbing.
• If he is standing with his prosthesis on, he has some balance if he is pushed from the side. If he is pushed from the back or the front, he doesn’t have much resistance.

And the following are Dr. Versveld’s findings:

• Stumps measured 28cm long from medial joint line in the knee to the tip of the soft tissue.
• With the patella pointing forward, the stump was rotated inward by 20 degrees on both sides. (When he walks with his prosthesis, his knees are turned out by 20 degrees on both sides.
• Above heel pad circumference on right side measured 16.5cm.
• Above heel pad circumference on left side measured 18.5cm.
• The heel pad circumference on right side measured 18.5cm and 19.5cm on left side.
• The heel pads exhibited considerable mobility on both sides.
• On the left side, it was possible to move the heel pad from the anteromedial (front inside) to the posterolateral (back outside) and this resulted in a snapping/clicking of the soft tissue which resulted in pain.
• Pressure over the distal end of the lateral side of the tibia resulted in pain on the left stump.
• There was a scar measuring 9.5cm over the back of his right calf above the heel pad posterially, and one measuring 6cm over the back of his calf on the left side posterially.
• There was anterior bowing at the right distal stump measuring 12 degrees, and on the left distal stump measuring 12 degrees.
• He walked with his left knee bent, his hip externally rotated and the stump tipped inwards (to get the weight on the outside of the stump).
• When he put weight on the left stump, the knee buckled.
• Because of the bent left knee, his left leg was shortly than the right.
• He walked with difficulty, without holding on.
• He could not walk on the industrial carpeting.
• When trying to stand without holding on, he had difficulty standing and was moving all the time.
• The biggest stride he could take, bearing weight on the left stump while holding on to something measured 23cm.
• While holding on to something, and bearing weight on his right stump, the maximum stride was 33cm.
• The left leg actually buckled when he put weight on it.
• When standing or walking, he was bending his back forwards.
• Standing on his stumps, he measured 1.56 meters tall.
• In walking standing, he measured 1.44 meters tall.
• When standing in his prosthesis and shoes, he measured 1.86 meters tall.
• He weighed 73kg when not wearing his prosthesis. (it was difficult to weight him because he could not stand still on the scale)
• He weighed 79kg wearing his prosthesis, fully clothed and in shoes.
• He had a bruise measuring 4.4cm x 3cm over the lateral aspect of his right mid-thigh.
• At this time he said that if he stands on the grout between tiles, this hurts his stumps.

Versveld shows Oscar’s x-rays to the Judge and then has him conduct a demonstration on his stumps. Both are done off camera.

Next, Roux tells Versveld that it’s common cause evidence that Oscar struck the door with the cricket bat but there are differing versions as to whether or not he was wearing his prosthetics at the time. Oscar’s version is that he had his prosthetics on. Vermeulen’s evidence was that Oscar was on his stumps at the time.

Versveld says that Oscar has a severe problem balancing on his stumps if he is holding something with both hands. He doesn’t believe that Oscar would have been able to strike anything using both hands, especially with force, otherwise he would fall down.

Versveld goes on to say that he did see some evidence of Oscar falling from time to time. There were bruises on his right mid-thigh which had been sustained a few days earlier.

Nel gets up to cross-examine. He starts by pointing out that Oscar met with Dr. Versveld in May of 2014, which was after Oscar had already testified. Versveld says he did not follow the court evidence but did see a few clips on the news. He denies having in-depth knowledge of Oscar’s version.

Nel further points out that when Oscar went to see Dr. Versveld, he was supposedly suffering from depression and PTSD (per the psychiatric findings). Oscar told Dr. Versveld about all of his physical limitations and challenges, and then Dr. Versveld made a determination based on what Oscar told him. Dr. Versveld says he did not solely rely on what he was told; he also did an examination to try to verify the details. Nel tells him that he is trying to link Oscar’s vulnerability to a dangerous situation, and Nel does not believe that he is qualified to do that as an orthopedic surgeon. Versveld says that he has produced medical, x-ray, and clinical findings and has made a deduction on Oscar’s vulnerability, which is the same deduction that the court can make. Nel agrees, the court will make its own deductions.

Nel asks Versveld very directly, “would it be possible for the accused to, instead of firing shots in the bathroom, run away?” Versfeld answers, “yes, it would be possible”. But he goes on to say, he would not run as we run. And for him to turn around is quite a process. Nel fires back that Oscar did in fact run from the bathroom back to the bedroom and yet he never fell. Versveld states that he never said he falls every time. Nel tells Versveld that Oscar never fell at all the night of the incident. In all of the back and forth running that he included in his version, Oscar never once fell. Versveld says that he is not aware of that. He did not ask Oscar what happened the night of the incident nor did Oscar tell him.

Versveld is yet another uninformed defense witness with no supposed clue about the incident, being hired by the defense in the fourth quarter of the game, after Oscar has testified and desperately needs saving.

Nel challenges him on whether or not Oscar would have been able to fire the gun with both arms stretched out, and after an objection by Roux and some interjection by the Judge, Nel is able to get Versveld to answer that with both hands stretched out he would have less of a chance to balance and would likely be affected by the recoil.

Nel then poses, what if the accused could foresee that the recoil would be a problem and deliberately stood with his back against the wall to be able to fire better? Versveld says that if Oscar is leaning against something than it would have a big beneficial value to his balance. This constitutes a conscious decision on Oscar’s behalf, an important point to make.

Nel points out to Versveld that on Oscar’s version, he was searching the room looking for Reeva with the firearm in one hand and he never fell. He was also walking around the tile on the bathroom floor, pulling on the toilet door trying to open it. And then he walked back to the bedroom and opened the curtains and the balcony doors, all still on his stumps. He was also able to move two fans that were on at the time from the door to the front of the bed while on his stumps. Versveld says that it’s possible that the tripod fan could have been used as a balancing agent as he is walking with it.

Nel goes back to the part about Oscar opening the curtains and going out on to the balcony. He reiterates that Oscar has just come from the tiled bathroom floor, and then he is walking on the carpet and next goes out on to the balcony. He wants to know if this is all possible while Oscar is on his stumps. Versveld says yes it is, which does seem quite contrary to what he was trying to imply with his report about Oscar’s disabilities earlier. Nel asks him, “so nothing in your report would say that that’s impossible to do?” Versveld answers, no.

Nel now wants to know if everything that he has recounted from Oscar’s evidence (how he moved from room to room, etc) is possible. Versveld feels it’s unacceptable to make a blanket statement like that.

Nel asks him, as the treating physician of Oscar, is he an objective witness? Versveld answers that “the evidence” that he has produced for court is objective. He did not answer that he is objective. Interesting answer.

Nel points out that everything that Oscar did, he did in the dark. Versveld says it depends on how dark it was. If it was very dark, he would have needed to hold on to things otherwise he would have been falling down. Nel informs Versveld that his answer assists the State because Oscar’s version was that it was pitch dark.

Versveld back peddles a little bit and says that it may be possible if that’s what happened, but Nel points out to him that it is only Oscar’s version, it’s not what the State believes happened so he needs to know from him if he thinks it’s possible for the accused to “walk from a pitch dark room, on your clinical findings, without falling”. Versveld says he would find it improbable and he would suggest that he would have to hold on to something along the way to do that.

Versveld goes on even further to say that it would be difficult to run in the pitch dark holding on to a weapon and he would be at high risk for falling. Nel asks him, if the lights were on and he could see, would the probability of him falling be less? Versveld says, yes.

Nel then asks Versveld why he made the statements in his report that Oscar has a severely impaired ability to ward off danger without a weapon. He answers, because this trial is about using a weapon. He tried to make his report relevant to the trial.

Nel also ponders whether items on the floor would cause an issue for the accused, especially in the dark, such as a duvet on the floor and electrical cords. Versveld agrees with him that those things would likely be a problem.

Nel wants to know if when Oscar first went to meet with the doctor in preparation for this trial report, did he arrive with a completed document? Versveld answers no, he asked him what he is like on his stumps, as well as other individual questions, to which Oscar responded. His intention was to try to establish the type of disability that he had for the benefit of the court.

Nel wraps up and Roux asks a few more questions. He is taking the doctor through Oscar’s motions that night and is trying to point out that with the assistance of his hands holding on to things, he would not necessarily have fallen on some of the items that were in the room.

One thing that I found interesting was Roux asking Versveld if Oscar stepped on the duvet and the duvet was right next to the bed (where he could hold on), would he have definitely fallen. When Oscar was on the stand, he of course testified pretty adamantly that the duvet was always on the bed and the police were the ones to put it on the floor. As the cross-examination with Nel progressed, he then moved to a position of “I can’t remember” where the duvet was. Now Roux is asking Versveld about whether or not Oscar would have fallen if the duvet was on the floor. It looks like they have come full circle with that piece of evidence. They must be banking on My Lady having a pretty poor memory. Versveld answers that he may have fallen but he can’t say that he would have fallen as a fact.

Versveld is excused.

Roux brings up a few unresolved matters to address.

He first discusses the missing electrical cord from the bedroom.

The first image of it was taken on February 14 at 5:58am, during the initial crime scene investigation and it can clearly be seen in the photo. And then another image was taken of that same area of the bedroom on February 15 at 6:34pm, but the extension cord is now absent from the photo. Roux is making the argument that if the house was sealed by police at that time, where is that cord? Mike Van Aardt’s response was that they do not have the cord. The Defense wants to show the court that the cord is 5 meters long and they need the cord in order to do that.

Nel explains to the Judge that the Defense cannot order that the State produce an item that was not seized as evidence. And he is correct about that. The Judge inquires whether or not there was an inventory list and Nel answers yes, but again states that the cord was not seized evidence therefore it would not be on the list.

Nel states that yes it is common cause that the cord was in the house on February 14. The Defense is indicating that per their photograph, the cord is no longer in the same position as it was on the 14th. That is the most that anybody can say. As to where it was that day, whether it was somewhere else in the house, nobody can say. And adding my own thoughts here, the Defense took possession of the house 3 days later and had access to it for the remainder of the year. That cord could have simply been placed in another location inside the house while they were investigating and has since been removed considering his house has been sold. This is a ridiculous argument by the Defense but unfortunately the Judge seemed concerned about it.

Nel tells the Judge that when the police were done with their investigation, the key was handed over to Mr. Stander and Mr. Stander handed it over to the Defense team. There was not an inventory made of every single item left in the house. How could there be? That would be ridiculous and just doesn’t happen in any investigation. Hopefully when the Judge thinks more about this she will realize that Nel is quite correct in his argument and Roux is yet again just grasping at straws.
Roux continues his housekeeping and hands in the security guard track report from the evening/morning of February 13/14.

The next witness up is Ivan Lin. He is an electrical engineer and has practiced as an acoustic engineer since 1992.

They read from his report and address a number of questions that were posed to him. The primary focus being whether or not one can reliably differentiate between a male and female scream, and discern emotion, from about 80-177 meters away.

Lin talks about how the act of listening is different from person to person, and factors such as culture, language, etc can have relevance on how you interpret the noises. In other words, two people can hear the same noise from a distance and have different views about it. Nothing earth-shattering here that we don’t already know.

Then they address if it’s correct to assume that all male and all female screams sound the same. He states that although typically one can tell if a sound is male or female, one cannot reliably say with certainty if it was a male or female.

They also investigate the scientific possibilities of sounds traveling through a closed window and a closed door in the toilet cubicle, sound traveling out of the open bathroom window and sound traveling out of the open balcony door, and he reads off all of the respective numerical findings.

Nel states that yet again the State has received the witness’ report that same day before he took the stand so they have not yet had time to read it. They break for the day and will cross-examine tomorrow.