Oscar Trial – Day 29, May 12 WOLMARANS, VORSTER

OP2

“Wollie” Wolmarans returns one last time for more cross-examination with Nel, who says this won’t take long. He just needs to cover a few things.

Nel confirms that Wollie has made available (as requested) his photos from the November 8, 2013, investigation at the crime scene.

Wollie would like to clear up that there may have been some miscommunication about what “file” meant on Friday. He does actually have a file for the case with some notes in it, even though he testified last week that he didn’t. But he is again careful not to commit to having done any full reports; he only compiled notes as his investigation continued. It’s really the same thing that he was discussing on Friday.

Nel asks, when he was at the scene on November 8th, did anybody give him a version from Oscar? Wollie answers, “not that I can remember.” After a pause, he then admits that he was given the bail application and he read through that.

Nel wants to know how Wollie knew where Oscar was standing during the shots. Wollie says that he used Mangena’s report to reconstruct the scene. He also believes that it was mentioned in the bail application, but Nel corrects him that Oscar did not go in to detail where he was standing in that document.

So Nel asks Wollie, at the time (on Nov. 8) was he in agreement with where the laser was placed to replicate Oscar’s position? He says he was happy that the laser was in the vicinity of where Oscar was standing. He then corrects himself to say, “let’s rather not say STANDING, but where the gun was when the shots were fired.”

Nel also wants to know if he agrees with Mangena that Oscar was on his stumps and in the normal firing position which would indicate the angle and trajectory of the bullets.

Screenshot 2014-05-24 15.55.11

This is important because it goes to Oscar aiming at his target. With his arm stretched out in normal position, he likely has line of sight to his target.

Wollie will only agree that shot B had sight alignment, but he’s not sure about shots A, C and D.
Nel asks, but it’s possible? Wollie agrees that it’s possible but he’s not sure.

Nel is able to establish with Wollie that if the laser stays in its original position after testing hole B, and you then try to get it through holes A, C and D, you cannot do it. Wollie agrees.

The importance of this is to prove that Oscar moved positions while shooting. One could make the inference that he moved because he was changing aim as Reeva is moving inside the toilet room.

30

Nel says, as far as the splinters are concerned, he would like him to look at a photograph.

top of toilet

Nel points out that there is a splinter of wood on top of the toilet’s water tank area. It’s not visible to my eyes on the TV monitor but Wollie sees it and agrees there is a splinter there. Nel says that this is where the splinter landed after a bullet went through the door. Wollie says it could also be from a blow from the cricket bat on the door, but he concedes that in all likelihood it is probably from a shot. This indicates that a splinter could travel that far from the door. Wollie can’t disagree with him.

Nel then revisits the re-testing of the gun at the firing range. He wants to know why they went back to re-test. Wollie states that he believes he has answered this before, but the first firearm used was in his opinion not friendly with that type of ammunition and he couldn’t fire it in rapid succession. He was only able to shoot one bullet at a time and then had to reload manually. So the gun itself worked, it just couldn’t fire in rapid succession using the type of bullets they were trying to fire.

Nel asks, is that the only reason you went back to re-test, or could it also have been because of background noise?
Wollie claims it was only because of the issue with the gun. It had nothing to do with background noise.

Nel wants to know why they waited so long to go back and re-test. The first test was on March 21, 2014, and the second test was on April 9, 2014. That is 18 days. Why not go the next night? Wollie first states that he can’t say for sure why, but then goes on to say that this is not the only case he is involved with. He is busy.

Nel wants to know why they didn’t re-test the bat sounds on April 9th, since cricket/frog sounds were heard clearly in the background. Wollie says he doesn’t hear them due to his hearing condition, but other people had told him that the background noises were indeed there. So Nel says, since everybody was aware of these noises, to ensure that both tests had the same background noise, why not just repeat both tests on April 9th? Wollie says that the door was already broken to pieces and they didn’t have another one to use. Also, he’s not a sound expert. He didn’t think it would make any difference. He doesn’t see the necessity of it.

Nel then shows him the following photo which Wollie has seen before.

residue test

Nel tells Wollie that Roger Dixon thought this paper was used for splinter tests. Wollie laughs and says, “My Lady, that shows you that Mr. Dixon is not a ballistics expert.” Nel says, “I agree with you, you are right.”

Nel moves on to the back wound and the striations. The one aspect that they agree on is that the magazine rack would not have caused striations due to it being a smooth surface. In addition, the pattern of the striations on the abrasion are very “regular”. Wood grain is not a regular pattern.

To me, this is far more indicative of the striations being from the shirt. If the bullet had enough energy to create that injury, I would think that the energy or heat from that could have pressed that pattern on to the skin while the shirt was between the bullet and the skin.

close up of back wound

Nel points out to Wollie that he is contradicting evidence from Professor Botha, the defense pathologist. Botha testified that he concluded that the striations were caused by the magazine rack. Wollie does not agree with Botha, but expresses very high respect for both Professor Botha and Professor Saayman. Wollie also says that he does not believe Professor Botha is a toolmark examiner (and Wollie is).

Nel now addresses the fact that Wollie and Dixon met with each other a few times after Dixon’s testimony. Nel wants to refresh Wollie’s memory on those meetings. He asks Wollie if he remembers having dinner with him at Jocks Restaurant. He does remember this meeting but states it was informal. He remembers that he wanted a pork chop but they didn’t have any so they both had t-bone steaks. Nel tells him, “that’s impressive that you remember that since the meeting took place on March 26, 2014.” Wollie doesn’t dispute it nor does he dispute that they discussed the case. Conveniently, he can’t remember the content of what they discussed when asked by Nel. Selective memory in court is always fascinating to me.

The next series of questions by Nel is extremely important because he is establishing, and getting Wollie to concede on most points, that Mangena’s findings of the sequence are accurate. And with Mangena’s sequence, the following occurs… there was a delay after the first shot, Reeva moved positions, Oscar repositioned his aim, Reeva was covering her head for the last two shots likely in defense, and Oscar kept shooting until it was silent. The neighbors support this by hearing a woman’s blood-curdling screams before and during the shooting. They also experienced the silence after the last shot. This is devastating for Oscar’s case. It is crucial for Nel to solidify Mangena’s findings because it tells a VERY different story than rapid succession, panicked, non-aimed shots. Here is how the questioning unfolds:

•Nel wants to know, after his investigation on November 8th, was Wollie content that bullet A hit Reeva in the hip. Wollie says he’s still content with that finding. Nel says the question is different. He wants to know if he was happy on that specific day with the finding that bullet A hit Reeva in the hip. Wollie answers, yes.

•Nel also establishes that Wollie is in agreement that Reeva was standing upright in front of the door at the time. Wollie adds that she may have been bent slightly but yes, she was standing upright in front of the door.

•Wollie says at this stage of his investigation, on November 8th, he did not have a finding on which injuries were caused by the other bullet holes. The only one that he can clearly remember they established was bullet A hitting the hip.

•Nel establishes that Reeva’s head must have been down lower than normal standing position in order to be hit by the bullets and Wollie agrees with that. The bullet holes in the door are too low for the injury to take place while she is standing. (Concluding that some time would have to pass in order for her to go from upright to down)

•Nel also points out that based on his testimony from Friday, Wollie agrees that Mangena was able to get the laser to mark E on the wall by going through hole B, with no deflection. And if there was no deflection, then bullet B missed Reeva. Wollie again agrees that this is possible.

•Nel says, in order for B to miss her, she must have fallen somewhere before that shot was fired because otherwise that shot would have hit her. Wollie agrees, she must have fallen with her right hip completely destroyed but he’s clearly trying to be careful about directly conceding here. I believe he can see where Nel is going with this. But again, some period of time must have to pass in order for Reeva to change position (fall) and shot B to totally miss her. I don’t see how A and B could be rapid succession considering her body movement. And let’s not forget, there are ear witnesses to support the pause after the first shot. That only strengthens Mangena’s findings here.

•Nel says we can exclude that she fell flat to the floor because then she would be too low for the arm and the head wound if she’s flat on the floor. Wollie agrees, he does not believe she collapsed straight down.

•They move on to holes C and D. They establish that the height of hole C is 99.4cm. And the height of hole D is 97.3cm. Nel says that based on those heights, it would not be possible for Reeva to be sitting flat on the floor when those shots hit her. She would be too low. Wollie says that she may have been hit when falling down, but he has to concede with Nel that if she was sitting flat on the floor, or in a stationary position when the C and D shots were fired, then she would not have been hit.

•To further support his point above, Nel says that with Reeva’s hip injury, she would not have been able to be on her haunches. Wollie agrees. In other words, she would not be able to support her own weight; she would have needed to be sitting on something. They all agree that she was not sitting on the toilet. So the only other “something” in that toilet room was the magazine rack. Wollie agrees with all of this. Nel ultimately asks, doesn’t it make sense that she was sitting on the magazine rack for the remainder of the shots? Wollie says he does not think that she would be able to sit because of the hip injury. Nel says, she’s not supporting her own weight, she’s basically propped up on the rack and her head/upper body is leaning over. Nel asks, doesn’t this make sense? Wollie doesn’t understand. Nel tries to explain it to him again but he won’t concede, he just says he’s not sure.

I found this illustration online that gives a clear depiction of the position that Nel is referring to.

drawing of positioning

Nel then embarks on an exchange with Wollie about the magazine rack and where it was positioned for Wollie’s reconstruction done on November 8th. By this date, Wollie would have seen the police photos and known where the rack was when originally found. But again, Wollie is confusing the point and trying to act as if he didn’t know exactly where it was supposed to be at that time.

Nel says to him this is very concerning because the magazine rack position was an integral part of Mangena’s findings and Mangena’s report had been available to him by that time. Wollie answers back that he also had Saayman’s report and Saayman indicated that one potential cause of the back injuries was contact with a hard surface, so he was working along those lines at first.

To me, his point seemed more like an excuse than a genuine explanation. I get the impression that because the rack is very problematic for the defense (it supports everything that I outlined above), they did not want it to be where it actually was at the time of the shooting and played around with the position during their investigation. And that would be exactly why Oscar lied about the magazine rack on the stand! On the surface, it seemed really silly for Oscar to be lying about that, but when you fully understand the significance of the rack’s position, it then makes sense.

Nel says to Wollie, in fairness to him, he sees in his report that he was testing what Saayman said about the hard surface, but why would he not also test the magazine rack conclusion that Mangena had given because that forms the basis of his conclusion? Wollie just says he only concentrated on that one point from Saayman, plus he isn’t really sure that the magazine rack really mattered. Also, he had very limited time at the scene to conduct his investigation.

Don’t let Wollie fool you… he’s trying to brush this off, but the Defense does understand the significance of this rack and they do not want to concede to Mangena’s findings. Hopefully the court is paying attention on the points that Nel made today.

Nel moves on and wants to know if Wollie had done any experiments or tests prior to March 8, 2013. Wollie says no, he had just visited the crime scene and took a few photos. Wollie says the photos were really of no value because the exhibits had been removed from the scene. Nel wants to know the dates that he was at the scene. Wollie says he can’t remember, except for November 8th, but then says he was requested (by Oscar’s family and legal team) a few other times to go to the scene and remove some personal articles for Oscar. He kept notes of what was removed. Nel tells him it’s not a memory test and lists all of the dates that they know he was there:

•February 17, 2013
•February 18, 2013 (when he found the fragment in toilet)
•March 8, 2013
•November 8, 2013

Nel then asks if he conducted any other sound tests at the scene. He says no, not myself. And Nel is about to continue on when Wollie says he may have just told a lie and grins a bit. There was one other test that he wants to mention for completeness sake… The day that they asked him to hang the door, he stood outside the toilet room and shouted to somebody standing outside in front of the house. He shouted his name (Christo) three times and asked him if he heard it. The window and the toilet door were open at the time. Then he stood inside the toilet room and closed the door and shouted Christo’s name again three times, and Christo said he couldn’t hear him. He reminds the court that he is not a sound expert.

Nel asks, when was this? Wollie says it was very shortly before March 3, 2014, right before the start of trial. He was present along with Christo and the artisans who helped to hang the door. And FRANK was there too. Our mysterious gardener buddy Frank Chizweni pops up again! He was there to open the door for them.

Christo is a friend of Wollie’s who is an artisan and he asked him if he could assist him with the door, due to the disability with his back. Nel asks if this was done during the day. He says yes.

Nel asks him why he did this; did anybody ask him to do it? Wollie says that nobody asked him to do it, he just did it.

Nel asks Wollie why he was at the scene that day. He says that the legal team asked him to go to the house and take a door from the foyer leading to the garage, which is exactly the same shape and size as the toilet door, and hang it upstairs in the bathroom. He doesn’t know why. He also says he’s not an artisan, so he got some help. He says he still doesn’t know why they had him do that.

Nel asks if there were any other instances that he went back to the scene that had to do with the bathroom/toilet. Wollie says there was one more time that he and Dixon went back to the scene but he can’t remember the date. Nel says he’s not asking about that instance. That was the visit at night when they went to test the lighting conditions in the bedroom. Wollie says he can’t remember any other time. He’s been there a few other times, but can’t remember dates.

Nel wants to know if Wollie went back to the scene at night any other time. He says yes, one other time, but can’t remember the date. It was about 3-4 weeks ago, while the trial was in process. It was because of Mr. Dixon testifying on visibility. The legal team asked him to go put on the balcony light to see what he could see. It was only he and Frank there that night. Again, Frank opened the door for him. It only took him 15-20 minutes.

So overall, even though Wollie was seemingly reluctant to give details, Nel established that Wollie was at the crime scene quite a bit over the past year and there was some additional testing that the State didn’t know about.

Nel looks at Wollie’s CV and states that he left SAPS in 1992, and asks if it’s correct that he’s been practicing as an independent consultant ever since. Wollie confirms this is correct. Nel wants to know if he has done any proficiency tests during this time. He says no, it’s not required for independent consultants.

Nel concludes by showing Wollie a photo that Dixon gave to the court when he testified. It was this photo:

test bullets entry

He wants to know what this is from but Wollie does not know. He is not familiar with the photo.

Nel rests and Roux is up for reexamination.

Roux addresses Mangena’s report and asks Wollie if anywhere in the report there is mention of Mangena testing holes A, C and D to see if they match up with mark E, taking deflection in to account. Wollie says, no.

Roux then asks about the bullet fragment hitting the back. Wollie states that in order for the fragment to end up in the toilet, it would have to make a U-turn after hitting the spot on the back. After hitting the spot, it would likely lose all of its energy. So he is still standing firm that the fragment could not hit the back and end up in the toilet. He thinks if it hit the back, it would be more likely to fall on the floor and the fragments under the magazine rack don’t match the injury.

Roux then addresses that the back injuries go in an upward pattern. He asks, how could the bullet fragment go from F to the bottom of the back and then upwards? Wollie says it would have to bounce off the back twice and then go up… it’s just not possible.

Roux wants to know about the accuracy of probes; can they move in various directions? Wollie walks over to the door and wiggles the probes and shows that there is movement upwards, downwards and sideways.

Wollie with rods

Roux asks, “when somebody fires four shots, would you expect them to be from the same exact position?” Wollie says, no. With recoil, your hand will never be in the same position.

Roux wants to know what Wollie meant about “sight alignment”. He answers that when he is at the shooting range, shooting at a target, there are certain principles to follow. The firearm has a back side and a front side. The back side has a V-shape and the front side has a pin. He demonstrates with his hands.

Wollie sight alignment

He then aligns his eye with the back side, front side and the target. They must all be lined up to hit the target correctly. Looking at the holes, he would not say that Oscar shot with sight alignment.

Wollie concludes his reexamination by saying that if the court wishes, he can have the shooting range and door set up again so that the court can go there to experience the sound tests in person. He thinks this will be the best way for them to experience it.

Roux rests, Wollie is excused.

The next witness is Dr. Merryll Vorster. She is a registered forensic psychiatrist.

She reads the introduction from the report that she has compiled for court. She states that Oscar was evaluated to determine his present mental condition and any psychiatric factors that may have been present at the time of the alleged offense.

Interviews were also conducted with family members, colleagues and friends to obtain collateral information.
The documents available are listed:

•A report from Richard Holmes dated February 18, 2014.

•Medical records from Milpark Hospital dated February 21, 2009.

•Affidavits from Justin Devaris, Samantha Greyvenstein and Graham Binge (cousin).

•And then the people that she interviewed for collateral information: Diana Binge (aunt), Aimee (sister), Peet Van Zyl (manager), Alex Pilakoutas (friend), Carl (brother), and Ampie Louw (coach).

The developmental history: Oscar is the middle of 3 children, born with a congenital abnormality resulting in the amputation of both legs below the knee at the age of 11 months. This surgery was performed pre-language level. Oscar would not have understood why he was in the hospital. Vorster explains that there would have been pain with this surgery, and since he was pre-language he would not have been able to be comforted by his mother. It would be perceived by the young child as a traumatic assault.

He was fitted with his limbs and able to walk by the age of 17 months. He was never restricted from participating in physical activity and was raised to be normal. Vorster says this is significant because he was never able to allow himself to be seen as disabled. To me this seems like a double-edged sword. One would think it would be a positive thing that the mother raised him to be a (for lack of better word) normal person but the doctor seems to imply that it had the opposite effect. Vorster says that over time, this could result in increasing levels of anxiety.

Oscar described his mom as being very loving. His father was often away. At 6 years old, his parents divorced and there were drastic changes in his social circumstances. His mom started working and his father had financial problems and didn’t always support them. The father was described as irresponsible and mostly absent according to all siblings.

From the collateral information obtained, his mother was an anxious person who abused alcohol intermittently. She slept with a gun under her pillow. There were frequent times that police had to be called to their home to investigate because of her fears. The siblings all grew up with issues of anxiety because their mother never adequately comforted their fears, she added to them.

I was really disappointed to hear the doctor testify about the mother. In everything I had previously read about her, she was described as being very loving and supportive, and that Oscar was very close to her. Now in court, while he’s trying to blame anxiety on his bad behavior, they are seemingly throwing her under the bus saying she had alcohol issues and gave them anxiety. Of course, I have no way of knowing what is true, but the poor lady is dead and this just feels wrong.

This type of testimony drives me nuts. In general, it’s just a sob story about every sad thing that ever happened in the accused person’s life. Everybody has tragedy and adversity, some worse than others. When people try to use it as an excuse for killing another person, it really makes me cringe. Prior to the shooting, I would imagine that the last thing that Oscar ever wanted was to be seen as emotionally or mentally challenged. Everything about his public persona was quite the opposite. Now that he’s on trial for killing a person, he is all of a sudden going to pull out psychological challenges as an excuse. Speaking bluntly, I find it insulting and malingering at its finest.

The report continues, Carl was often tasked with looking after his two siblings. The paternal grandmother supported the family financially. Oscar was a sociable child; he did well in school and in sports. He was occasionally teased and his brother would have to intervene. Vorster believes that in being sociable he was concealing his feelings about being disabled.

At age 14, Oscar moved to Pretoria to attend high school. He lived with his father and saw his mother on weekends. Within a few months of living at his father’s, there were problems at home so he became a weekly border at school. On weekends, he would go to his mother’s and his aunt’s/uncle’s homes. Carl attended the same school as a boarder as well. Aimee continued to live with the mother. Oscar played many sports.

At age 15, Oscar’s mother died suddenly. He was significantly traumatized by her death, increasing his anxiety levels. He describes this period of his life as very stressful which was confirmed by his siblings and his aunt.

After his mother’s death, he continued to be a weekly boarder at school and stayed with his aunt and friends on weekends. He had support from his extended family and friends, but had infrequent contact with his father. His relationship with his siblings was very close, but he had no primary attachment to a parental figure at this point in his life.

At age 16, Oscar sustained a knee injury playing rugby. As part of his rehab, he started running. He obtained a coach, started training and that lead to competitive running.

By grade 11, in addition to his coach, he had a manager, was competing internationally was becoming financially independent.

After he completed high school, he began competing as an international athlete. He had a coach, manager and various sports advisors and traveled extensively. He had few strong emotional ties. He saw extended family infrequently but saw his sister often. He described being quite lonely.

At age 21, he says he broke all ties with his father following an argument. He was financially independent by this time. He spent many months during the year in Italy training. On the occasions that he came back to South Africa, he reports being anxious about the high level of violence and crime as reported by the media and as discussed within his family setting. He bought a firearm for his own protection. His aunt, Mrs. Binge, mentioned that he had a burglary in his townhouse and that resulted in him adding extensive security measures to his property.

Oscar reported that as a professional athlete, he worked very hard to gain sponsorships to make a lot of money and be financially secure. Autonomy and independence was his attempt to manage his anxiety. He had a strict training regimen with focus on diet, lifestyle and training. He made sure he was always punctual and well-prepared for media events.

He had few long term relationships. He was very self-sufficient. He relied on social media to stay in contact with friends and siblings.

Vorster then says it is her opinion that Oscar has an anxiety disorder. People that have this disorder work hard to control their environment and be very prepared in order to alleviate their levels of anxiety. His strict training and diet helped him to alleviate his anxiety, but as he became exposed to being more famous and having media attention, he would have to prepare more and more to not embarrass himself in any way. Having order in your life helps to alleviate stress from anxiety.

Past medical history: Bilateral below knee amputations at 11 months old. On-going stump pathology treated intermittently. As a child, he contracted Encephalitis and since then has had chronic headaches. In Feb 2009, he was involved in a boating accident during which he sustained facial fractures. He had a brief period of loss of consciousness and had mild concussion. He was admitted to Milpark Hospital where he had extensive facial surgery.

Past psychiatric history: Oscar has many features of anxiety. There is a clear family history in his mother, sister and brother. Roux asks, what is the relevance of the family history of anxiety? Vorster says that anxiety disorders do have genetic pre-disposition. Oscar notes that he was always encouraged to appear as normal as possible, despite his disability. He became determined to participate in sport and was able to keep up with able-bodied friends in activity. He became increasingly unwilling to reveal his stumps publically and this gradually extended to family members and friends. He would keep on his prosthesis during the day, only removing them at night when he went to bed. He gradually started having feelings of inadequacy about his amputations.

I would imagine to some degree or another, that all of the feelings described above would be quite normal at certain stages of life for anybody dealing with amputations or disability. I don’t pretend to understand what it is like to experience this, my point only being that I’m not hearing anything that is shockingly abnormal for somebody who lives with a disability. And last I was aware; having these feelings should not be a pre-cursor to murderous activity.

Roux wants to know how having a poor self-image, yet being successful (confident) on the race track are compatible. Vorster explains that due to his success on the track, he strove to always conceal his stumps and his feelings of inadequacy. By concealing his disability, it rendered him less able to access the emotional support required to manage his vulnerability and self-esteem issues.

Matters were further compounded as he developed sexual relationships as he would shy away from revealing the extent of his disability. As he became more famous, his various sponsorships required him to attend media events and to do interviews. He describes that he would be anxious about these events and would spend many hours preparing so that he would not embarrass himself. He also describes feeling increasingly stressed by the demands placed on him as a professional athlete.
Vorster says with increasing stress, he would have to work even harder to keep his anxiety under control.

Not to sound insensitive to his issues, but average people with anxiety issues experience all of these things too. Everybody has jobs, responsibilities, families, and financial burdens that create extreme stress. In my opinion, just because you are famous, does not necessarily make your anxiety any more prolific or important. If anything, Oscar would have the financial resources and close personal advisors available to help him manage what he needed. Most every day people do not have access to that. If he really had an anxiety disorder and chose not to seek any help from anybody for his entire life, then he has to take responsibility for not treating his issue much earlier. To only reveal it now in court when it may be viewed as an advantage for you, is a bit disingenuous and that is why I tend not to fully believe it. He may very well have some anxiety, but I do not believe it caused what happened on February 14.

Everybody has an opinion about this trial, as they should. And I’ve noticed that those who seem to be on the side of not guilty are on that side only because they believe that the violence in SA coupled with Oscar’s anxiety are absolutely believable, end of story… despite all of the other evidence.

I do not dispute that violence exists frequently in SA nor do I dispute that Oscar may have some anxiety. I would think for anybody with his life story and circumstances, some anxiety would be fairly typical. BUT, I cannot ignore the totality of the evidence presented in this case. You can’t put the perceived intruder + anxiety story in one bucket, and the physical/circumstantial evidence + ear witnesses + common sense in another bucket. They cannot be separated. The totality of the evidence always tells the story. And the reason that we have this psychiatrist on the stand, days before the defense is due to rest, is because the defense team has hit the end of their road. Trust me, if psychological issues were at the heart of this case, it would have been dealt with LONG ago. Do not let your heart strings cloud your common sense in this matter.

Vorster goes on to say that while Oscar was training in Italy, he would feel lonely, but his fears about personal safety were fewer. He followed SA news closely and worried about his siblings’ safety, in particular his sister’s safety. Vorster states that as one becomes more anxious, their fear of personal safety increases, even when their safety may not really be threatened.

While in SA, Oscar describes having increased anxiety over safety, he was worried about being followed and worried about the safety of his home. He moved in to an estate believing that it would be safer for him there, but subsequently there were break-ins there as well.

Now keep in mind, these are all things that Oscar has relayed to the doctor. He can tell her anything he wants without having to completely substantiate it. But we all know that in court, the defense was not able to substantiate their claims of multiple break-ins and crimes against Oscar personally. Oscar and a friend (Stander) saying that crimes happened versus the police reading actual police reports is not much of a match. It is not a coincidence that the police do not have reports of what Oscar claims happened to him. Oscar couldn’t even remember who he called to pick him up on the night he was supposedly shot at on the highway.

She goes on to say that he tried to increase the security at his house, and his routine was to sleep with his bedroom door locked. He describes being hyper-vigilant and having sleep disturbances, waking often if there was a noise. He believed that being famous put him at increased risk.

He didn’t like to be home alone and always tried to invite friends to visit and sleep over. He describes feeling generally isolated and alone, although he made friends easily. He did not share his private feelings with his friends and is a guarded and mistrustful type of person.

Habits: Oscar does not generally drink alcohol during his training and competitive periods, but describes drinking excessively at times during the off season in which he may become intoxicated. He does not smoke or take drugs.

History of the incident: Oscar relates that he believed he heard an intruder. He became scared and had escalating levels of anxiety. During his description of the events, the following emotions were observed – distressed, crying and retching. He stated that he had no intention of shooting Ms. Steenkamp and he feels devastated that he killed his girlfriend.

Roux asks, in her profession, what is her opinion about the emotions that she observed? In her opinion she believes they were genuine, primarily because of what she witnessed with the retching. When feigning retching, one would develop a hoarse voice, redness in the face, perhaps some tears but what Oscar showed was a pallor (he became pale) and started sweating profusely. That cannot be feigned. That is a real manifestation of anxiety. This is why she believes that his distress was genuine.

I’m sure we all agree though that he was genuinely distressed. He just killed somebody and was charged with murder. Anybody would be distressed! That does not equal being remorseful or sad about Reeva dying.

Mental state evaluation: Oscar presented as a well-groomed, well-spoken and polite man. He was clearly anxious as could be seen by his tremor and from the way he perspired heavily during the interview. He had no speech difficulties or thought disorder. He was fully orientated. He gave a very detailed account of himself. His mood was markedly depressed and his affect flat (few expressions on his face). Vorster states that a flat affect is a typical feature of a depressed person. Oscar is on treatment for depression. His memory and concentration were good and he had no cognitive deficits (no intellectual incapacity).

Vorster goes on to say that depression can have a negative effect on memory and concentration. In this instance, she did not find any deficit on memory and concentration. Therefore, there shouldn’t be any reason why he can’t remember his call with Baba, his call to Netcare, his call with Justin Devaris, him carrying Reeva across the upstairs hallway to the stairs, etc. He has no problems talking about himself (as Vorster stated above) but conveniently forgets some incriminating parts of February 14. This goes to my point above about not just believing his intruder story and ignoring the facts of the case. You cannot ignore these very significant details. There is a reason why on the stand he suddenly could not remember those phone calls and it’s not anxiety. It’s because they do not support his story!

During their examination, Oscar was asked to remove his prosthesis. He was clearly embarrassed but complied. She observed him walking on his stumps. She says his balance was poor and he could easily be pushed over. His physical vulnerability was immediately apparent.

Vorster says that Oscar frequently expressed his guilt of having caused Ms. Steenkamp’s death.

Psychiatric diagnosis:

•Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
•Depressive disorder (caused by the shooting)

General anxiety disorder is pervasive, as opposed to having anxiety over specific things.

The depressive disorder is secondary to the shooting. She did not find any evidence that he was depressed prior to the shooting.

Discussion: Oscar has a long history of GAD which appears to have increased with time. It is likely to have commenced at the age of 11 months. His anxiety increased after his parents divorced. His mother’s anxiety heightened his and his siblings’ anxiety. After his mother’s death, Oscar lost his primary attachment figure. Although close with extended family members, he does not have a secure attachment to them.

One way to alleviate anxiety is to become very controlling about one’s environment. His anxiety increased commensurate with his increasing levels of public fame. A further factor increasing his anxiety was crime in SA. He had increased security measures at his home, more so than most people in SA.

The injuries he sustained from the boating accident in 2009 added to his levels of stress. He became aware that his life could change radically if he were to be injured, and that increased his personal sense of vulnerability. He could lose his ability to be an athlete, which in turn would mean he would lose his income and his independence.

A further factor that may be of relevance is the incident with Mr. Batchelor in December 2012. He was concerned that Mr. Batchelor and his friends posed an on-going physical threat to him.

These feelings of anxiety are confirmed by Peet Van Zyl, Aimee and Carl. These factors were all operating during the incident and would have been compounded by Oscar’s physical vulnerability and the additional pressure of perceiving his environment as hostile and unsafe. When exposed with a threat, Oscar is more likely to respond with a fight response rather than flight, as his physical capacity for flight is limited.

In Dr. Vorster’s opinion, Oscar’s reaction to the perceived threat on February 14, should be considered in the light of his physical vulnerability and his co-morbid diagnosis of GAD.

She would like the court to take in to consideration the following – operating at the time of the offense would have been Oscar’s physical vulnerability and secondly, his pervasive GAD which was present for many years, and would have been present on the day of the offense.

She states that he is remorseful about the events and feels guilty that he has caused Ms. Steenkamp’s death and has developed a depressive disorder as a consequence of this.

Roux rests and Nel is up for cross-examination.

Nel wants to know from Dr. Vorster, the fact that she diagnosed Oscar with GAD and that he had it at the time of the incident, did that affect his ability to distinguish right from wrong? She answers, no, not at all.

Nel asks, did it affect his ability to act in accordance with right and wrong? Vorster says, she is not saying that. Nel asks if Oscar had diminished responsibility at the time? Vorster answers that what she is trying to say is that the court should take in to account these factors and it’s really up to the court to determine if he had diminished capacity.

Nel says, well if you are going to say that, then we need to deal with Section 78. He pulls out a very large legal book and says to her… “so you are saying it is possible that he had diminished responsibility at the time?”

Nel section 78

She says that what she is really trying to express is that Oscar is different from other offenders and from the normal person because he has a physical vulnerability and GAD, so his reaction to situations would be different.

Wow. If it becomes acceptable for people to use disability and anxiety as an excuse for murderous behavior, then we are certainly going to have a lot more murders on our hands. This is a dangerous path she is taking!

She then says, “I’m not saying that this constitutes a mental illness.” Nel says, I don’t understand why we are hearing this evidence now. He says, “if we are not dealing with a mental illness and not dealing with a direct contribute, then why are we dealing with this evidence now?” She doesn’t know the answer to the question. Of course, Roux called her as a witness, all she can do is come and testify. But Nel can only deal with the issue through her, so he is putting it to the court… why are we hearing all of this right now? And of course we already know the answer… because the Defense is desperate.

Nel tells the doctor, if you say there is a possibility of diminished responsibility, then he has to be referred today for mental observation in terms of the provision with Section 78. Vorster says, “that could be something the court could consider.” But what she is rather saying is that his reaction to situations would be different based on his GAD and his vulnerability. Nel says, taking that all in to account, it could have diminished his responsibility at the time. A referral is what would determine that.

Nel says to the doctor that he is aware she has spent many years doing this type of evaluation at hospitals. She confirms that she has and also understands the provisions of Section 78.

Nel reads section 78, point 2, from the book:

If it is alleged at criminal proceedings that the accused is by reason of mental illness or mental defect or for any other reason not criminally responsible for the offense charged, or if it appears to the court at criminal proceedings that the accused might for such a reason not be so responsible, the court shall in the case of an allegation or appearance of mental illness or mental defect, and may, in any other case, direct that the matter be enquired into and be reported on in accordance with the provisions of section 79.

Nel says, you have diagnosed a mental illness, GAD, am I right? Vorster says that GAD is a psychiatric diagnosis, but she would not consider it to be a mental illness as perceived in the criminal procedure act. In her opinion, it should not be taken in to account in terms of his responsibility. She only wanted to present the GAD as a possible reason for the way he reacted. So I’m right back to where Nel was… why are we even talking about this? It either played a role in his actions that night or it didn’t.

Nel says, but if the GAD is severe, it will affect your mental capacity? She says that if it were severe enough where one started to become paranoid about individuals or threats, then one may consider it as a mental illness. But GAD is not an uncommon psychiatric diagnosis. There are many people who have GAD. It affects social and occupational function but it doesn’t imply that one has lost touch with reality or can’t see right from wrong.

She was called by the Defense and she linked this GAD to the incident and that is what Section 78 deals with, linking a disorder to an incident. The court is then left no option but to refer.

Roux objects. He says it must be linked to mental disorder.

Nel wants to know if she is categorically saying that GAD is not a mental disorder. She answers that it is a psychiatric diagnosis. Nel asks her, what is the difference? She says mental disorders affect one’s capacity to see right from wrong, and act in accordance. She doesn’t believe that an anxiety disorder limits capacity unless there are psychotic elements, which she doesn’t believe that Oscar suffers from.

Oscar went from looking sad with his head hanging low during direct examination, to looking pissed at this cross-examination.

OP head low

OP glare

Now that an evaluation is on the table, Vorster seems to be back-peddling a little bit to get out of this jam. Nel states that Oscar’s defense is that he thought there was an intruder in his house and that he was under attack that night. If the Defense is going to introduce evidence that Oscar has a diagnosed anxiety diagnosis, and his supposed heightened fears and hyper-vigilance played a role in his actions that night, then it certainly is relevant for the court to have him examined per Section 78.

Vorster says that the diagnosed GAD is relevant for the facts of the case, so it would be up to the court to decide if it constitutes a mental illness or if the accused should be referred or not.

Nel asks for an adjournment to review documents as he may bring an application. They break for an hour.

When they return, Nel asks the doctor if it is correct that the first interview she had with Oscar was on May 2, 2014 (that would be 10 days ago). She acknowledges that it was, and that it was after Oscar and other witnesses testified.

Nel wants to know if she followed the trial at all. She says, not daily, just parts of it in the media. Nel asks her, if I put it to you that it was reported that Oscar was not a good witness, and some of the expert witnesses were not good either, do you think that would increase his anxiety? She says, I don’t know. Nel says… if he believed his case wasn’t going well, and now he has to see a psychiatrist, wouldn’t that have made him anxious. Vorster says she does not know how he perceives his case.

Nel points out to the doctor that at one point during cross-examination, Oscar expressed that he was fighting for his life. Vorster acknowledges that she heard about that statement. Nel states, so in his interview with you, he is fighting for his life. Vorster says that he did not say that to her.

They only had two interviews total. One on May 2, and the other on May 7, 2014. The other people in the report were interviewed on the following days:

May 2: Mrs. Binge
May 5: Aimee, Carl, Peet, Ampie

Nel asks Vorster, what is the purpose of your report? She says to bring psychiatric factors to the court’s attention that may be of relevance for the purpose of conviction, and if required, of sentencing. Nel states, these are factors that may have affected his capacity to act appropriately at the time. She agrees. In terms of his defense, it is directly relevant.

Nel asks, his anxiety disorder is worsening? She says, yes.

Nel asks, for somebody suffering with a general anxiety disorder, for them to possess guns, does that make them a dangerous person in society? Vorster answers, yes!!

Nel asks if people with PTSD are typically referred for observation, and she says that’s correct. Vorster acknowledges that PTSD and GAD are related disorders. Vorster seems to agree with Nel that having him evaluated would not be a bad thing because then the court could have another opinion. Not so sure the Defense agrees with that.

Nel says, the court really doesn’t have an option in this matter. They have to follow the law.

Roux objects and says that the accused has to have both a mental defect and lacked the capacity to act in accordance with right and wrong, and that is not her evidence.

Nel and Roux embark on a pretty fascinating legal argument to determine if this application for evaluation is valid. Roux seems pretty hell bent on objecting to this.

Nel asks a few more questions to Vorster which seem to solidify his application and he states his intentions to formally bring the application forward. Per the terms of Section 78, he states that Oscar should be observed and evaluated at a mental institution for 30 days. Nel presents some relevant case law to the Judge. He also throws in a dig at the Defense saying this is the 3rd defense that they have now presented for Oscar (first was putative self-defense, second was accident, and now third is GAD). He asks for the witness to be provisionally excused after he asks her a few last questions. Judge agrees and allows him to proceed.

Nel asks the doctor if someone who killed their partner while in the midst of anger could have deep remorse immediately afterwards. She says, yes. Nel states that they both (meaning Nel and Vorster) have dealt with these matters in court before, and they have seen immediate remorse before. She agrees. He asks her to consider only normal people, not psychopaths, and doesn’t she usually expect normal people to have deep remorse after they’ve done something like this. She says, yes.

Nel states that it’s interesting how she phrased her last sentence in her report. “He’s certainly remorseful about the events. “ He asks, what does that mean? She says he feels remorse about having caused the death of Ms. Steenkamp. Nel asks, did he ever say to you I’m so sorry I killed her? She says, no, she does not have a recollection that he said that. But she doesn’t believe that how he phrased it has psychiatric relevance.

Nel asks, if somebody had a defense that they acted “automatically” (without thought), wouldn’t you then look for events leading up to the shooting and after the shooting, and if planning is observed along the way, then shouldn’t you discredit that they acted automatically?” She says, yes, there’s no question in her mind that this is not a defense of insane automatism, there was no evidence of amnesia and his reaction after the death is appropriate.

This was an important point to establish. We all know that Oscar wants to claim that he just pulled the trigger without any thought process, but the doctor is saying that there is no evidence to support that he would have acted in such a way that he wouldn’t be responsible for his actions. In other words, he knew what he was doing!

Nel goes through Oscar’s version: He thought there was an intruder, he armed himself and he approached the danger to sort the danger out. The doctor says, yes. Nel says to Vorster, having lots of experience in these types of matters, when Oscar armed himself, he at least saw the possibility that he might have to shoot because otherwise why would he arm himself and approach the danger, am I right? She says, “he must have (seen the possibility).” And we know that he did end up shooting.

Nel tells her then she must agree with Dolus Eventualis (where a perpetrator foresees consequences other than those directly desired as a possibility). By Oscar intentionally arming himself and going toward the danger, he may not have wanted to kill someone, but he could foresee the possibility and acted anyway. And he did kill that person.

The way that I understand the SA law is that you can get to the conviction of Murder a few different ways. Dolus Directus is direct intent. You want to kill somebody, so you do. The State has been setting up their case as Dolus Directus. Oscar knew he was shooting Reeva (hence the ear witnesses, the argument heard at 2am, etc.)

However, if the Judge rejects Dolus Directus (that Oscar knew it was Reeva), the State has also been setting up Dolus Eventualis, where Oscar acted in such a way that he foresaw he could kill a person. Even though he didn’t have direct intent to kill, he took actions that he knew could potentially kill. Essentially, recklessness.

I don’t see how the Judge could reject Dolus Eventualis. Nel has proven it through many witnesses in this case, and just did it again with Dr. Vorster. I cannot possibly fathom how they would let him walk on this.

Nel wants to address Vorster’s observation that Oscar is more likely to fight then flee. Nel says, so we have a person with GAD that has a fight response, and doesn’t this make him even more of a danger because he gets anxious quickly and he approaches danger and wants to fight? She says that is not her evidence. She says that his desire to fight is really only because he has limited ability to flee because of his disability.

Nel says, but Oscar armed himself and walked 5 meters on his stumps towards the danger. He entered the bathroom and walked another 2 meters on his stumps towards the danger. In actuality, it would have been much easier for him and Reeva to flee out the bedroom door instead of walking that distance. Nel asks, is this how an anxious person acts? She says, yes, some do approach danger. She states, he couldn’t run away, he’s not really mobile on his stumps. Nel says, but you did state that somebody with GAD plus a gun is a danger, and she still agrees with that statement.

Nel asks Dr. Vorster what documents or witnesses she had available to her to establish Oscar’s version of events. She says she did not have access to the court docket, the bail application, or witnesses. She only relied on her interviews with Oscar and she did have available to her a report by Dr. Richard Holmes. Nel asks if the state of Oscar’s case, his evidence, or the multiple versions he has presented, ever came up during their interviews. She says, no.

Nel asks, he wanted to shoot an intruder? Dr. Vorster says, yes, that’s what he told me. Nel also asks, his deep remorse is because it wasn’t an intruder that he shot, but because it was Reeva? Dr. Vorster says, yes.

Nel asks to adjourn, provisionally excuse Dr. Vorster, and he will bring the application forward. If the case is referred (meaning Oscar gets sent for evaluation), then that’s the end of the evidence with Vorster. But if it’s not referred, then he might continue with her. The Judge agrees.

But Roux objects, you can’t deprive me of the right to reexamine the witness. He doesn’t want to argue this point in front of her so the Judge asks the witness to wait outside. While Roux is adamantly arguing his point against this application, Brian Webber looks like he’s having a baby behind Roux. Somebody might need to refer him; I think he has GAD too.

Webber2

Webber1

Roux wants Nel to first finish his cross-examination, so he can then reexamine, and then Nel can bring forth the application (which they will object to). They go back and forth on this for a while and then take a ten minute break so Nel can consider what he wants to do. When they come back, he asks to adjourn for the day. Vorster will return tomorrow.

OP

Oscar Trial – Day 28, May 9 WOLMARANS

Wollie

“Wollie” Wolmarans is back on the stand for more direct examination. They pick up with his findings from his report.

They begin with bullet hole B which he believes caused the right upper arm wound. The wounds that were seen on the upper right anterior chest could be related to entrance and exit wounds to the right upper arm. The height of these wounds is approximately 117cm above the heel of the right foot, according to Saayman’s measurements.

There were secondary wounds seen around the entrance on the arm which was likely caused by wood splintering. On the underside of the arm were one very large exit wound and a smaller exit wound caused by the humerus bone being fractured and fragments exiting. However, there were no small secondary wounds from wood splintering seen on the underside of the arm since that portion of the arm was facing inward toward her chest. There were also wood splinters found in the right forearm.

Wollie reiterates that the pattern of the splintering on the arm is consistent with the arm being 6-20cm away from the door, as shown on the witness boards in their testing.

The head wound could have been caused by bullet hole C or D. It is Wollie’s opinion that the deceased was not in a standing position when the head wounds were inflicted. This is due to the fact that the holes in the door are in a lower position, maximum height 104cm.

OP pic door

The wounds are consistent with the deceased falling down in the right side area of the toilet bowl. Due to the absence of abrasions or secondary wounds to the head and face, it can be inferred that the deceased was probably further than 60cm away from the door at the time of sustaining the head wounds.

The wound to the webbing on the left hand could have been caused by bullet hole C or D. It could have gone through the webbing and hit mark E on the wall… Or…. It could have been the bullet that caused the head wound. If it was the one that caused the head wound then he does not believe that the left hand was on her head at the time, as testified by Mangena.

Wollie says that if the hand was on the head then he would have expected the exit wound to cause secondary injuries to the inside of her hand since there were fragments of bullet exiting from that wound.

hand on head

Furthermore, if the hand was covering part of the head then he would not have expected the brain tissue to have traveled as far as it did against the toilet lid. The hand would have blocked it and the matter would be on the inside of the hand which it was not.

There was also a lack of secondary wounds by wood splintering on the left hand, therefore the hand was likely more than 60cm away from the door when hit.

According to Mangena, the only bullet that could have caused the injury to Reeva’s back was the bullet that impacted at mark E on the wall and ricocheted to mark F.

Although Wollie disagrees that a ricocheting bullet caused the injury to the back, he does agree with Mangena that none of the bullets that hit Reeva in the hip, arm and head could have impacted the wall at mark E or F. He believes that the two abrasions on Reeva’s back were consistent with her falling against a hard, blunt surface. He does not believe that the bullet that hit at mark E and ricocheted to F could have caused that back injury.

The following bullet fragments listed below were found by police. (Each unused bullet has a total of 6 grooves):

• Fragment B1 is a fragmented jacket. It has 2 grooves. It weighed 13.3 grains. It was found next to the cricket bat in the bathroom.

• Fragment B2 is a fragmented jacket. It has 2 grooves. It weighed 9.8 grains. It was found between the toilet door and the toilet bowl. (If standing looking at the bowl, it was to the left of the bowl)

• Fragment B3 is part of a jacket and a fragmented core. The combined weight is 47 grains. It was found at the entrance to the toilet room, on the right hand side, close to the door frame.

• Fragment B4A is a fragmented jacket. It has 3 grooves. It weighed 13.7 grains.

• Fragment B4B is a fragmented jacket. It has 4 grooves. It weighed 11.5 grains.

• Fragments B4A and B4B cannot be from the same bullet as they have a combined total of 7 grooves, which is one too many for a full bullet.

• Fragment B4C is a fragmented core. It weighed 20.1 grains. According to Mangena this is a fragment of the bullet from the head wound, and Wollie agrees.

• Fragment B4D is a fragmented core. It weighed 13.2 grains.

• Fragment H is a fragmented jacket that was found in the vest (tank top) of the deceased. It has 2 grooves. It weighed 17.2 grains.

• Fragment J had a core that weighed 70.5 grains, and its fragmented jacket weighed 23.1 grains. Combined weight is 93.6 grains. This was found in the head of the deceased. It is likely that fragment B4C is the remaining portion of the core from the same bullet.

• Fragment K is the core that was found in the toilet bowl by Wollie. The weight was 65.9 grains.

Wollie refers now to a photo that has 3 circles, depicting 3 fragments that were found. However, he states that the exhibit that was given to him by Mangena had 4 fragments, not 3. He believes that one of the dots seen at the top of the photo is a fragment and was not captured in this photo.

3 fragments

He is now going through all of the fragments listed above and linking them to the wounds.

The bullet that caused the hip wound did not exit. No fragments were retrieved from that wound.

The bullet that caused the head wound consisted of fragment B4C and fragment J. The combined weight was 113.7 grains. That leaves 13.3 grains of the bullet that were unaccounted for.

The bullet that penetrated the right upper arm and caused the injuries to the upper chest would have broken up once it penetrated flesh and bone. He says that a Ranger bullet would have reacted the same as a Black Talon, so it sounds like he is saying that Oscar actually used Ranger bullet(s) not Black Talons. The bullet that hit her arm consisted of Fragment H. The remaining portion of the bullet fragments were unaccounted for and would have been very small.

Fragment K, which impacted at mark E and F (the one that Mangena states hit Reeva’s back), was found in the toilet bowl. The remaining portion of this bullet may be B4A and B4D… Or… B4B and B4D.

The bullet that hit at E and ricocheted to F, would have lost most of its energy once it impacted at point F, and fallen in to the toilet bowl along with a piece of tile. It would not have enough remaining energy to cause the back injuries, nor would it have been able to hit the back and then bounce off her in to the toilet. This trajectory would not be possible according to Wollie.

mark E and F

Fragments

Wollie says that if the back had been hit by bullet fragments, the fragments would have damaged the fabric of the top which it did not do. The wounds are also inconsistent with wounds caused by this type of ammunition.

Wollie’s conclusion is that the back wounds were caused by the back coming in to contact with a hard surface while falling down. The only thing that could have caused them was the magazine rack. He points out that Saayman’s report stated that the injuries could have been caused by a blunt object.

For the bullet injuries, Wollie came to the following conclusions:

The pattern of wood splinters from the door on the hip and the indicate that Reeva was in close proximity to the door when she received those injuries. The distance of her arm from the door was probably between 6 and 20cm.

When Reeva sustained the wounds to her head and left finger, she was not in close promixity to the door according to the absence of secondary abrasions that would have been caused by wood splinters. He is uncertain which bullet caused the injury to the web of the left finger but it would probably be B. Or it could have also been in line with the bullet that hit her in the head.

According to the trajectories of the bullet holes in the door, Wollie agrees with Mangena that the accused was on his stumps when the shots were fired. The version of the accused, that he shot from the entrance to the bathroom, is consistent with the trajectories. Primer residue was also found on the light switch by the police. The cartridges found near the entrance to the bathroom also support his shooting position.

Wollie agrees with Vermuelen that the cricket bat was used to strike the upper door panel of the toilet door, in order to break it open. He also agrees with Vermuelen that the door was first damaged by the four shots that perforated the door, and then after by the cricket bat.

On March 21, 2014, at 21:00, sound recordings of a cricket bat and 9mm gun were conducted at the Bluegum Valley Shooting Range. (Remember, this is AFTER the trial had already begun.) The purpose of this testing was to determine the resemblance, if any, to the sounds of the cricket bat striking the door and the firearm firing shots.

They used a door that was removed from the Silverwoods estate. The firearm used was a Taurus 9mm pistol. The ammunition was 127 grain Ranger without the black tip.

They recorded the sounds of the bat striking the door, and the firearm shooting from 60 meters and 180 meters from the door.

The following people were involved in conducting these tests and recordings: Dixon, van der Westhuisen, Andre Hertha, Mr. Hertha’s assistant Dick Smith and Wollie. Hertha from Montana Studios performed the sound recordings. Wollie gives details to the court about the type and brand of recording equipment used.

Wollie then states that the firearm malfunctioned after each shot resulting in only one shot that could be recorded at the time with manual reloading. In order to record shots fired in quick succession, a second recording was conducted on April 9, 2014, at the same shooting range and by using the same recording equipment. The new gun used was similar to the Taurus previously used. The cricket bat was not used. The people present were Andre Hertha, Rikus Kruger, and Wollie.

On March 21, 2014, during the testing, Wollie positioned himself at each distance. At both distances, the door was struck by the cricket bat and a shot was also fired. Wollie states that although he is not a sound expert, as a ballistics expert he can say that the sounds made by the cricket bat resembled the sound made by the firearm, although not as loud. He must also point out that he has Tinnitus (constant ringing in the ears) caused by experiencing a lot of shooting in his career. So his hearing is impaired.

Roux asks Wollie what his involvement was in the testing of the piece of prosthetic foot. He says he went with van der Westhuisen on February 27, 2013, to Arnold Pistorius’ house and van der Westhuisen cut the piece out of the right foot on the prosthesis. He stored it in an envelope, sealed it and marked it. The piece was given to Wollie. On March 1, 2013, Wollie gave it back to van der Westhuisen and he then gave it to Dixon. Roux asks if they confirmed that the leg was indeed the leg that was worn on February 13 and 14, 2013, and Wollie says “that’s what he told me.”

Roux rests and Nel is up.

The State begins by taking the Judge and her assessors on a field trip to the door in court. Mangena has his laser pointer set up to demonstrate the bullet hole B trajectory through the door. The red piece of tape depicts mark E on the wall.

laser on door2

laser on door6

laser on door5

laser on door8

laser thru B

Roux wants to put on record that hole B aligns with mark E from where the laser was placed. He assumes that the laser test was also done with the other bullet holes in relation to mark E.

Nel asks Wollie if he was in court when Professor Botha testified. He says yes. He was also in court for a portion of the time when Roger Dixon testified. Nel says that Dixon was excused from court on April 16, 2014, and he notices that Wollie’s report was dated April 23, 2014. Nel wants to know if this is the only report he furnished, or just the latest. Wollie says it was an on-going report.

Wollie states that when he first arrived on the scene to conduct his investigation, the scene was not in the same condition anymore. He mostly gave verbal reports to the legal team. As the investigation went on and he got more information, he made his report. Nel asks if he furnished other written reports that he had signed off on and gave to the Defense. Wollie answers, “not really.” Nel wants to know what “not really” means. Wollie stumbles and repeats that most of his reports were verbal, but this report he wrote and he kept the Defense informed as he went on. He was tripping over his words and I really got the impression that he didn’t want to answer that question directly.

Nel tells him this is not a difficult question and he hasn’t answered it. Wollie says he thinks he has answered it but the Judge interjects because she was obviously not satisfied with his answer. Even speaking with her, Wollie stutters more than usual and can’t give a direct answer. He explains that he worked on the report as he went along. And then he throws out there that his English is not very good. It totally reminded me of how when Oscar was cornered by a question on the stand, he would either cry, say he made a mistake or say that he “didn’t have time to think.” It’s that same nervous deflection that Wollie is doing here. He even giggles as he is trying to explain his reports to the Judge.

Wollie laughing

So Nel says, I hear your answer and you are telling us that you have furnished written, signed reports to the Defense before this one. Wollie answers that he’s never signed another report, he just sent some notes at one or two stages to the legal team. The same answer that Roger Dixon gave on the stand. Nel doesn’t want to talk about notes, he wants to talk about reports. Has he furnished a report to the Defense prior to this one? Wollie shakes his head and says, “not that I can remember.”

How freaking hard is it to remember when or if you sent a report to the Defense team that hired you? The frequency of evasiveness in this Defense team is very troubling. I really think that Wollie is full of it when he says that he didn’t do a report prior to this one from April 2014. Does he really expect the Judge to believe that the Defense ballistics expert did not have a report ready prior to the beginning of trial? Remember, trial started in March 2014. His report was dated and signed just two weeks ago.

Finally… Wollie admits that there was another written report prior to this one that was furnished to the Defense. Nel asks for a copy; Wollie says he doesn’t have one. Nel asks, why? Why would you not want us to see your earlier report? Wollie seems very annoyed, he says that most of it was to amend mistakes… nothing was really different… he repeated himself in one spot and he edited it.

Wollie is completely bamboozled as to why the court would want to see his earlier report. Nel asks, “as an expert, you wouldn’t mind the courts to see the reports that you furnished?” Wollie is trying to explain that his science is like building a puzzle. As it went on, things have changed.

Now, I certainly can’t read body language, it’s just my speculation, but the Judge looked pretty annoyed to me during this exchange. I can’t imagine she is happy with yet another late set of reports from the Defense.

Judge Masipa

Nel says, this is why we want to see your earlier report. The court should be able to see how your views have changed over time. Wollie says the first time he went to the scene, the door was not there nor were the exhibits there. He couldn’t come to any conclusion with a scene that was not complete. Wollie says he was originally hired just to determine if Oscar was on his stumps and from what distance he fired the gun. The other stuff came later on.

Nel asks him, as an independent expert consultant, does he have a filing system in his office? Wollie says that his filing system is on his computer “most of the time.” Again… Nel wants to know what “most of the time” means. Why can’t he give a direct answer? He asks again, do you have a filing system? Wollie answers, no.

Nel asks him if the court wanted to gain access to his original reports, how would they do that? Wollie says he altered it because of his English and he was assisted to alter his report. Wollie then says he discussed the report with them (the Defense), but he’s not sure that he handed it to them.

He remembers there was a consultation with Oldwage and the report was just briefly discussed. After more prodding by Nel, Wollie says the report was on his computer. Nel asks if he emailed it to the Defense. Wollie says it was too big to email. Nel asks if he saved that copy. Wollie says no, he altered it.

Good grief. This is painful!

Nel asks him quite directly – “did you change your report because of consultation?” Wollie is still stuttering all over the place and says he has already told the court that he was helped with his English but he was never asked to alter his report to suit the Defense case.

Nel asks about the sound tests done on March 21, 2014. He wants to know if this was the first time they tested the bat and gun sounds? Wollie answers yes, he cannot recall doing any other tests with a bat and a gun prior to that. Nel asks did you do any other sound tests prior to that? Wollie answers at that stage there was a person who had done some decibel tests on hitting the door. Nel looks pretty shocked by this information.

Nel surprised

Nel wants to know when this test was done. Wollie says he would need to look up the date but it was probably about two months ago. Nel asks if he was present. He says he was present. It was done at Arnold Pistorius’ house.

Pistorius3

A similar door was inserted in to a door frame and a cricket bat was used to hit the door. Unfortunately the test did not work out because the door was not fitted properly and it moved. The whole exercise was a mishap. Wollie says he was not a part of the test, he was just present. He reminds the court that he’s not a sound expert. Nel tells him that he’s not going to test him on anything as far as sound is concerned, but has some questions relating to his physical presence at the test.

Nel wants to know who was present for the test. Wollie believes a Mr. Milan(?), an artisan who helped to fit the door in to the frame, Oscar, Uncle Arnold, and Wollie.

Oscar was the one who hit the door with the bat for the test. Wollie says again, he cannot testify about the decibel tests done but the reason why the test was done there was because they wanted to do it inside in a room.

Nel asks if there were decibel tests done when they were at the shooting range both times. Wollie says no. He wants to point out to the Judge again that he is not a sound expert. He was only there at those tests to supervise and provide direction. The idea of the tests at the range only came up because of a video that was seen on YouTube. Here is the video.

Roux does not look thrilled at this discussion.

Roux

Nel asks Wollie if he met with Dixon after he was excused from court on April 16, 2014. Wollie says yes. Dixon had a thorough cross-examination and Wollie thought he would take him for a beer. He met with him one more time after that, possibly twice. One time was at his house and another time was somewhere he can’t remember. He’s getting squirmy again.

Nel asks if he discussed the case with Dixon. Wollie says it’s highly improbable that they didn’t discuss the matter. Nel wants to know if after hearing Dixon’s evidence, did he change anything in his report. Wollie says it’s a possibility that he’s changed things in his report but not after he discussed things with Dixon. He says “Mr. Dixon is not a ballistics expert so I would not take his advice to change my report.”

Nel says, that’s interesting. So the court should throw out everything Dixon said about ballistics? More stuttering and more confusion from Wollie. Ultimately Wollie says that Dixon may have his opinion on the ballistics, but it would not be the same as his opinion.

Nel asks Wollie if he consulted with Oscar about the shooting incident. He answers that he first met Oscar the day when the piece of his prosthetic foot was cut out. They were not there for more than an hour. He also took a measurement of the height of Oscar’s arm with and without the prosthesis on. Up until today, he has never consulted with Oscar. But… Oscar was present at consultation where questions were put to him by the legal team, but he has never consulted with him directly on what happened that night. That’s a crafty way of getting info out of Oscar without having to say you consulted with him.

As Nel is asking Wollie more questions about the interaction he had with Oscar during consultation, Wollie mentions that at one point he (Wollie) was talking about something and pulled up a picture of the deceased on his phone. Oscar went out of the room to vomit and never came back.

This makes Nel pretty angry. He says that Wollie is showing his bias and he just wanted to tell the court that Oscar vomited. Wollie says he is not biased. He sees himself as a witness of the court and he’s there to assist wherever he can. He says he’s never lied in court.

Nel asks him if a court has ever rejected his evidence. Wollie recounts that there were a few cases where his evidence was rejected, one very recently, but he can’t say which ones they were. Nel tells the court which case it was recently and Wollie tries to explain the situation. It was a case that Mangena testified in as well. Mangena listens on with an interesting look.

Mangena watching Wollie

Nel says on March 8, 2013, Wollie went to the crime scene and Mangena was there. Mangena reconstructed the scene. Wollie made observations while he was there and he took photographs as well. He gave verbal reports to the Defense of what was done that day.

Nel wants to know who gave Wollie the information about Oscar’s position in the bathroom when he fired the shots. Wollie answers, Mangena gave him that information. Wollie primarily agreed with Mangena on Oscar’s position when he fired.

Nel shows Wollie the photo of Mangena’s laser at the crime scene and wants to know if he agrees that Oscar shot from this position. Wollie says this is approximately the position. He can’t say exactly, but yes it is approximately correct.

laser on wall

The next photo shows the laser again, this time with the door closed.

laser thru hole B

The laser is positioned at exactly 2.2 meters and it is going through hole B. Wollie hasn’t measured the distances but he’ll accept that what Nel is telling him is correct. He also adds in that he has great respect for Mangena, and believes Mangena has the same for him.

Nel points out on the photo that if Oscar were to move any more to the right, the wall (separating the sinks and the passageway) would be in the way. Wollie agrees; Oscar would be going out the passage at that point if he moved more to the right.

Nel then says if you moved the laser slightly forward and to the right to go through hole C, you will not hit mark E. Wollie goes around and around with Nel on whether or not this is possible and can’t really answer the question. So Nel asks him a different way. He asks, do you agree with Mangena that bullet hole A hit Reeva in the hip. He agrees. They all agree that was the first shot.

Oscar seems really annoyed now, hand leaning on his head, waving his hand towards his attorneys and I believe he passed a note too. Maybe he’s not enjoying the Wollie show so much at this point.

OP annoyed

OP annoyed3

OP annoyed2

Nel then establishes with Wollie that Reeva would have collapsed and fell to the right after the hip shot.

He also establishes that two more shots hit her, one in the head and one in the arm (he instructs Wollie to forget about the finger for now). Wollie agrees with all thus far. Nel goes on to say that we all agree in all probability that the head shot was last.

Nel then says that Dixon gave evidence that his version was bullet hole C caused mark E. Wollie says his opinion is that it was C or D, but he can’t say specifically that it was C. Wollie won’t say that Dixon is wrong, he’ll only say he’s half way wrong (and he giggles).

Nel wants Wollie to act out Reeva’s movements as she is shot. Wollie says he can, but he can’t move well due to a recent back operation. So he mainly just acts out the arm shot.

Wollie in toilet room

Wollie points out that hole A hit her in the right hip and then she would be falling, but hole B needs to line up with her right arm wound and the exit wound on the arm needs to line up with the abrasions on her chest… so she needs to be leaning over in order for these things to line up.

Nel points out that if the bullet from hole B hit her right arm at 6-20cm away from the door as she is falling over, and all of the holes line up properly there is no place for her head to go. It would be through the wall. Wollie doesn’t understand. My opinion, he chooses not to understand… or he’s too rusty at this point to pick up on these important details.

Wollie can’t figure out any other way the splinters could be around the arm wound other than her being close to the door.

They look at the next photo which shows the rods in the door as seen from inside the toilet room and they point out hole B (the second from the right).

door with rods from inside

Nel takes him through his sequence of positions again and ultimately points out that if her right side is facing the door and she is falling down, she could never have ended up where she ended on top of the toilet. Wollie disagrees. He says anything could have happened in that toilet room.

Nel tells him he’s right, anything is possible in the world. But the court deals with probabilities, not possibilities.

Wollie believes that these shots happened in quick succession. Nel asks him why. He says, for all of this to happen. Nel wants to know if he asked Oscar how he fired. He says no. Nel also asks Wollie if he was present in court when Oscar explained how he fired. Wollie says no he was not in court during that time. Nel wants to know, outside of court, wouldn’t it have been important for him to know how Oscar fired? Wollie believes that Roux told him about the quick succession shots.

Nel wants to know if he will agree with him that the head wound bled in to the toilet and the arm wound bled on the floor to the right side of the toilet. Wollie agrees. He says that the blood near the magazine rack was from the arm wound.

Nel says, the one thing that Dixon was correct on was that the magazine rack was in the position that is seen on the photographs. Wollie agrees that it was there.

new pic4

Wollie says, that is one thing that he had to look after when Dixon testified (the position of the rack). He agrees with him because the mark from the foot of the magazine rack was seen in the blood. The rack was there when she bled. Wollie says that is common sense.

Nel tells Wollie that it is not Oscar’s version that the rack was there. Nel asks, so the accused must be wrong? Wollie says it’s his version that the rack was not there. Meaning that he obviously does not agree with Oscar, he just can’t directly say that.

Nel also establishes with Wollie that the head must have been very close to the toilet lid when hit due to the tissue and broken hair on the lid. Nel also points out that there is body tissue on the back wall, near the marks E and F. Wollie agrees.

E and F on wall

Nel moves on to the back injury. Wollie says that he ruled out the fragments being the cause of the injury because the type of abrasion is not consistent with these fragments. The injuries on her chest are consistent with fragments, but not on the back.

They look at a photo and Wollie identifies this fragment as the core that he retrieved from the toilet.

bullet fragment

close up of bullet fragment

Next they look at a close-up of the injury on the back.

back injury

And finally, they look at the photos side by side.

bullet fragment and injury comparison

bullet fragment and injury comparison2

Wollie pretty adamantly says he does not see the similarity so Nel makes it clearer for him. Nel says, the rounded and uneven area of the core (around the edge) is what caused the bruise.. Wollie says he really does not see the resemblance. He is getting exasperated and annoyed now, and pointing to various things on the photos disagreeing with Nel. But, in my opinion, anybody with two functional eyes can see that this fragment very possibly, and in all likelihood, caused that bruise.

Nel tells him that we have to take in to account that she had a top on. Wollie and Nel agree that the top was in position (meaning it was covering that portion of the back when it became injured). Nel wants to know if Wollie excludes the fabric of the vest being the cause of the striations. Wollie says he’s only seen photos of the top, he has never seen it in person so he can’t really make a determination if that caused the striations.

Wollie does however agree that one needs some sort of edge to cause a striation. He also agrees that the magazine rack is smooth. So the magazine rack can’t be the cause of the striations alone, since it is smooth, but it possibly could be the cause if you couple it with the shirt. One could then also surmise that if you couple the shirt with a bullet fragment that could also be the cause of striations.

When they resume after lunch, the video feed had cut out once again so I missed a portion of how the questioning started but they are talking about the trajectory of the shots.

Nel is focusing on bullet hole B. He states it is 104cm from the ground. Reeva’s wounds on her arm and upper chest are higher than that. The trajectory of the bullets in the door, as proven by the rods, is a downward trajectory. Wollie is saying that it is possible that Oscar’s arm was in a lower position, below his line of sight, and the bullets could have had an upward trajectory after going through the door. Deflection could be a factor in that. Nel tells him that is impossible. Wollie says the wood of the door could have more resistance in certain areas than other. The bullet could have gone in at a downward trajectory but come out upward. Wollie says the probes in the holes are not accurate because they can alter the hole when they go through, also the door was hung and rehung a few times so things may not have been lined up properly.

Wollie then references a photo where there is a probe inserted in to one of the wounds on Reeva’s body and he states that it’s in an upwards trajectory. They do not show the photo on camera. Nel says the probe in this wound is much smaller than the wound itself. Wollie says his evidence is only based on the photo, he was not present for the autopsy nor did he ever ask Dr. Perumal about this. He only saw Perumal once, and as we all know, the Defense did not have Perumal testify. Nel asks him why he would put something in his report without first discussing it with the doctor who provided the information. Wollie answers, “he never had the opportunity to discuss it with him.”

Nel then reads from Wollie’s report, “if regard is had to the above (deflection), any of the bullets entering positions A, B, C and D on the toilet door could have caused the mark at E.” Nel asks Wollie if he has done it (meaning link all of the holes himself to mark E). Wollie says, no he did not because he didn’t know the degree of deflection. Nel asks if he tried a laser. Wollie says he did but none of the holes ended up at mark E. Nel then asks the following: “If Capt Mangena can get the laser through B to E, why could you not do it?” Wollie gets confused and then says that he did not say he wasn’t able to. Nel points out that he just told us that he was not able to match them up. So then Wollie changes his answer to say that he could link B very near to E, but could not get it on the exact spot.

Wollie then goes on to say that when you put the laser through the door, the beam is very clear to see as its going through the hole but as the laser nears the wall it breaks up a bit. He believes there is some sort of distortion with the laser. Nel challenges him on this and wants to make sure that he agrees that a laser cannot be deflected, Wollie agrees.

I’m not sure what exactly Wollie is trying to say here. I think he’s just trying to muddy the waters with some silly argument about the efficacy of the laser but I think it falls flat. Wollie admits that he was there at the scene when Mangena put the laser through hole B and hit mark E. He saw it with his own eyes so he can’t accurately argue his point.

Nel wants to know where the laser ended up when he tried it through holes A, C and D. Wollie says that one point was on the toilet side of the wall and the other two points were somewhere near F and G. He can’t say where exactly though and he did not write a report on this portion of his testing. Therefore, I don’t know how he can make the statement that any of the bullets entering A, B, C and D could have caused the mark at E, since he was not able to achieve that nor does he have any proof of his testing. It’s either a direct attempt to mislead or just lazy work.

Nel wants to address the decibel tests done at the house of Arnold Pistorius. He wants to know if Wollie has seen the decibel report. Wollie does not answer but instead says he wouldn’t even know how to interpret it since he’s not a sound expert.

After Nel asks again, he says that yes he has seen it. It was not long ago, maybe 2-3 weeks ago that he viewed the report. Then he says that he requested to see it to see if he could make anything out of it, but he’s not a sound expert.

This makes absolutely no sense. Why would he ask to see the report if he’s so adamant that he wouldn’t be able to read it? Wollie claims he just wanted to see it as a matter of interest. Nel wants to know if he wanted to discuss it with somebody and Wollie says no, but obviously that is not true. He must have requested it for a reason.

Nel wants to know if photos were taken that day at Uncle Arnold’s house of Oscar hitting the door with the bat. Wollie says yes photos were taken but he’s not sure about video. He also says that his camera was on the sport setting but the pictures (conveniently) came out too blurry to see.

Nel asks, it was never suggested that they use those decibel tests done at Uncle Arnold’s house rather than going to an open shooting range to do the same testing? Wollie is clearly annoyed. He says he was requested to do the test at the range based on the YouTube video that came up.

Nel asks if Wollie has heard the sound clips played in court. He says, he heard the recordings at the shooting range with headphones on. Nel wants to know what differences he picked up on between the bat and the gun sounds. Wollie would like to state again for the court that he is hard of hearing, but for him the sounds were very similar. He listened to it without his hearing aids on. Nel tells him that you can clearly hear crickets in the background with the bat recording. But with the gunshot, the cricket sounds are very faint and distant. Wollie says he can’t disagree with this. This indicates, as stated by Nel in court before, that the sound people amplified the sounds of the cricket bat tests.

Nel goes back to the topic of deflection and states that Mangena found that the most deflection he could account for was 3%. Wollie does not disagree with this. Nel points out that in order to get from hole A to mark E, you would need a much larger deflection.

Wollie says that factors to consider are that the bullet could have been unstable and could have been the cause of the injury on the left hand, deflecting the bullet. But when Nel challenges him again on deflection and asks him if he can work out how much deflection he needs to hit E from each of the holes, Wollie says he can’t work it out.

Wollie, upon prompting, says he is sure he has photographs of this testing on his computer but he’ll have to look them up. Just a few minutes ago, he testified that he did not have any records of this testing? He is all over the place with his answers.

Nel requests to see photos of the testing he had done on November 8th, and Wollie says yes, he will make them available.

Nel focus now on the ammunition used. He establishes with Wollie that at the time they did their testing on the witness boards, they were still under the impression that Oscar used Black Talon. Nel wants to know if Wollie asked Oscar what type of ammunition he used and Wollie says no, he did not.

The first time that Wollie heard that Black Talon was used was when they were at the scene on March 8, 2013. Professor Saayman was there and he asked Wollie if Black Talon bullets were prohibited and if it’s possible to still get them from a dealer. Wollie then saw some photos of the cartridge cases and without asking anybody else, he assumed they were Black Talon. It was only later on that he established that the bullets were 127 grain and Black Talon was never manufactured in 127 grain, only the Ranger was. Some Rangers have a black tip. Wollie says he established they were not Black Talon by looking online, as well as by speaking with Jason Alexander, the man who created the YouTube video seen earlier.

Nel tells Wollie that it is Mangena’s view that Black Talon was used. Mangena fired both Black Talon and Ranger in to a water tank and although they have the same effect, they are different bullets.

Nel wants to know how Wollie came up with 127 grains. Wollie says he weighed a bullet that was given to him by Mangena. Nel asks Wollie if Mangena can produce information that Black Talon was made in 127 grain, will he concede that Black Talon could have been used? Wollie says yes, if he can produce something from Winchester (the manufacturer), he would concede.

On to the witness boards… Nel wants to know if Wollie agrees that shooting one shot from one distance does not give an accurate disbursement of wood splinters. Wollie agrees but he had a very difficult time finding more Black Talon. If he had more, he would have done more tests. Typically a good norm would be 5 shots at each distance.

Nel looks at the board that was used by Wollie and points out that they were testing very light particles (wood splinters), so he wants to know why they would use this type of thick, hard board instead of paper.

Nel with board

Wollie says the board is better; the particles will just penetrate the paper. Nel says exactly… that is what you should be looking for. Wollie says that paper is not the same as human skin… and obviously his board is also not the same as human skin. Wollie says, this is just the way he has always done it. Nel wants to know if he will agree that smaller particles can be picked up better on paper and Wollie says that he can’t disagree.

Nel wants to know who was present when they did the tests on the board. Wollie answers himself plus van der Westhuisen, Dixon, and possibly Rikus Kruger.

Nel goes back to the arm injuries. He points out that Reeva’s forearm has a wide area of splinters on it. Wollie is trying to make it seem smaller, but Nel tells him to just look at the photo (which we can’t see) and they both agree that it is a wide area of splinters.

Nel says this means that the splinters must have spread in order to do that. Wollie says that is a possibility. He concedes that the arm may have been a little bit further away from the door.

Nel wants to know “further than what?” Wollie says she could have been as close as 6-20cm but no further than 60cm. So Nel says, after seeing this photo, you agree that it is possible that she could have been 55cm away from the door when her arm was hit and Wollie says, correct.

Nel wants to know in light of this (above), does this change his reconstruction with hole B. Wollie is defensive again. He basically says that it’s very difficult to come to a precise conclusion on what her position was behind the door. He agrees that since her face and hand did not have splinters, those injuries occurred further away. As for the other injuries with splinters, it’s basically an estimate on her distance. He makes it very clear that he does not want to be pinned down on any specific measurements or conclusions.

Now addressing the back injury again, Nel says that if Reeva is sitting on the magazine rack leaning over with her head near the toilet (but facing the door)… the bullet that hit mark E and ricocheted to mark F could then have come down and hit her on the back. Wollie won’t say it’s impossible, but then he wouldn’t expect the bullet to land in the toilet if that was the case. Nel says that the toilet room is so small and with Reeva hunched over the toilet and in alignment with the toilet, it’s possible it could have ricocheted off her back and landed in the toilet bowl. Wollie doesn’t think that’s possible.

Nel asks Wollie about the testing done at the shooting range and wants to address what happened with the gun that malfunctioned. Wollie says that he believes the type of firearm that they were using was not very friendly with that type of ammunition. Sometimes the ramp of the gun is not very smooth and the bullet can stick due to its shape. This is one reason that he believes is likely.

Nel says, doesn’t this type of firearm have a very short ramp where the bullet basically goes straight from the magazine in to the barrel? Wollie says he’s not sure, for some reason the firearm did not function. This answer is strange to me considering he is a very well know and well respected ballistics expert with years of experience. Shouldn’t he be able to inspect that firearm and know what the issue is?

Nel says, it’s possible that there wasn’t enough propellant powder in the ammunition to force the gun to cycle and Wollie agrees, that is also a possibility. But Wollie does know that Oscar’s weapon did work with this type of ammunition.

Wollie says the bullets were given to him from a box with the name Ranger on it and it didn’t appear to be self-loaded ammunition. Another reason he cites for possible malfunction is that the ammunition could be old and not stored properly.

Nel wants to know how many shots they fired that night at the range. Wollie can’t remember, and he’s stuttering badly now and his sentence doesn’t make any sense. He first says that it was only a few rounds with Black Talon. But then he says he remembers that he bought the Ranger bullets but they did not have the black tip. It could not have been more than 10 shots.

Nel says, well then we can exclude that it was old ammunition because you just told us that you bought it. Wollie says he made a mistake earlier and yes, it was fresh ammunition. He now remembers buying it.

Nel asks if they tried to fix the gun. Again… Wollie is annoyed and defensive. He says they were out in the dark and had no tools, so no he could not fix it.

I’ve said this before in an earlier post and I’ll say it again, their reasoning to go back to the range to re-shoot and re-record in April 2014, was only because they switched their story from double taps to rapid succession and they needed the sound testing to support it. This whole gun-jamming business, plus a seasoned gun expert who can’t properly conduct the test, and the fact that nobody knows where the dysfunctional gun is now are one big red flag for me.

Nel concludes today with discussing the magazine rack and points out that the rack is smooth. Wollie agrees. He has examined that rack and has seen the photos of the injury and he can’t see how that smooth surface would cause the striations. Nel asks him, based on the location of the back injury and the magazine rack being on the floor, does he agree that Reeva was low to the ground? Wollie agrees.

So Nel ponders that if she was low down, wouldn’t she have had to get up again to end up slumped on the toilet. Wollie says he doesn’t know exactly in what position she was found. He agrees that the scene indicates her head was on the toilet. He believes that if she was sitting on the floor, she could have achieved that position. But Nel says that if she’s sitting on the floor, the bullet holes are too high. Wollie says that his evidence is that she was falling down while the shots were fired.

But he still has the problem of the tissue and hair on the toilet lid, and the lack of high velocity spatter on the walls that would have been seen if her head was higher up when shot. Wollie is obviously not factoring this in.

Nel asks Wollie again if he would be willing to share with the court his photographs from the November 8, 2013, testing that he did at the scene and Wollie says yes, he will share them.

They adjourn for the weekend and sounds like we’ll be subjected to more Wollie on Monday.

This was a rough stretch of testimony to get through! Not just because of language barrier issues, but because Wollie seemed to want to dodge a lot of information. I’m disappointed. I have heard so many people talk about how great this guy was back in the day but it seems to me that he is really off his game now and I have to wonder if he is regretting getting involved with this case. He seemed so defensive and annoyed throughout most of the cross-examination, yet there are glimmers of a man who wants to be honest and thorough. That’s just my impression of him. I find myself almost feeling sorry for anybody who has to deal with this Defense team. Surely it’s a nightmare with all of Oscar’s ever-changing versions.

Before concluding, Roux asks the Judge to make an order about keeping some of the “sensitive” photos from Wollie’s report private, which she grants. But let’s be honest, it’s not a sensitivity issue. I’m sure the only reason the Defense wants these photos to be private is because they don’t want the world to see exactly what Oscar did.

Oscar watching Wollie

Mangena and Nel2

Nel

Pistorius2