Five Reasons the Oscar Pistorius Case Isn't a Slam Dunk
In the days following Reeva Steenkamp's early morning shooting on Feb. 14, 2013, South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius revealed in an affidavit that he and his girlfriend, 29, had enjoyed a quiet dinner at home before the tragedy occurred. "We were deeply in love and I could not be happier," he wrote. "I know she felt the same way." A different account has since emerged, and according to a leaked court document, a witness will testify that she heard, "talking like fighting," and what sounded like a woman arguing, which stopped after shots were fired. Meanwhile, another leaked document revealed that Pistorius, 27, was allegedly surfing porn sites on one of his cellphones earlier in the evening.
EVERYTHING IS 'FINE'
In an affidavit, Pistorius claimed he called a member of the estate's administration team to phone an ambulance and also spoke to Netcare, South Africa's largest private emergency response company. "I phoned Netcare and asked for help. I went downstairs to open the front door. I returned to the bathroom and picked Reeva up as I had been told not to wait for the paramedics, but to take her to hospital," he wrote. But in a court document, prosecutors say Pistorius never phoned the police or security. "[He] indicated that he was fine. He never asked for their assistance and did not make a report about the shooting incident to them," states the report.
THE LOCKED IPHONE
South African prosecutors flew to California this week to meet with officials at Apple's headquarters, according to the Associated Press. For more than a year, South African officials have tried to access Pistorius's iPhone, one of several phones found at his luxury home. Police have been unable to unlock the iPhone because Pistorius claims he cannot remember the password. The trial starts Monday, which means they have a few days to retrieve information from his phone. An unidentified source told a local paper that officials are trying to recover details about the times he made calls and texted messages, as well as any deleted information. Three senior police officials, including the head of detectives Lieutenant-General Vineshkumar Moonoo, met with Apple officials Thursday.
Early in the investigation, officer Hilton Botha handled the case. He was quickly removed after he was embarrassed by Pistorius's defense team. During the runner's bail hearing, it was revealed the crime scene was contaminated when Botha did not wear protective shoe covers. In an unexpected twist, Botha was charged with attempted murder, along with two other officers, for shooting at a minicab taxi in 2011. Months later, police chief Colonel Schoombie van Rensburg resigned after the media learned that he failed to properly secure crucial evidence, namely the bathroom door. "It was covered with a body bag, cable ties and tape. It was kept inside van Rensburg's office," an unidentified officer told the local paper The Sunday Times. "It was actually lying on the floor in front of his desk and only taken away about a week later."
LEGAL DREAM TEAM
It's clear that Pistorius has the best legal team money can buy. The key figure is defense lawyer Barry Roux, a man described as a tough-talking "legal gun for hire," according to reports. When he cross-examined then-lead investigator Botha, a South African journalist tweeted: "This is like watching a baby seal getting clubbed." Also on the runner's defense team is Kenny Oldwage, who famously secured an acquittal for a driver who killed Nelson Mandela’s 13-year-old great-grandchild in a 2010 accident. But the trial promises a fair legal battle, since the prosecution's team is led by chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel, who has more than 30 years of experience. Nel is known for taking big cases, including former national police commissioner and Interpol president Jackie Selebi, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison for corruption.