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Author Topic: for Saturdays game at Yankee  (Read 8 times)


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for Saturdays game at Yankee
« on: March 08, 2018, 07:10:22 PM »

PRETORIA, South Africa -- The chief prosecutor laughed scornfully at an answer from Oscar Pistorius during the Olympic athletes murder trial Thursday, mocking the man who shot his girlfriend. The judge sternly instructed the prosecutor to restrain himself and he apologized -- then went right back to trying to pick holes in the testimony of the double-amputee runner. It was a harsh day of cross-examination for Pistorius, challenged relentlessly about his account of the moments just before he killed Reeva Steenkamp, as well as circumstances related to several firearms charges against him, including the firing of a gun in a crowded restaurant. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel often sought to goad Pistorius, accusing him of being self-obsessed and hiding the truth about the death of Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model whom he shot through a closed toilet door in his home. Dressed in a dark suit, Pistorius, 27, responded methodically and in a soft monotone, and only occasionally did his voice rise. He did not break down in tears as he has previously this week in the witness box and did not look at Nel, instead facing the red-robed judge, Thokozile Masipa, on the dais. The prosecutor seized on virtually every opportunity to challenge the star athletes credibility, asserting that he had a string of unlikely excuses for why he wasnt to blame in the gun charges he faces on top of murder. In casting doubt on the Olympians honesty, Nel was pushing the prosecutions argument that Pistorius is also lying that he killed Steenkamp by mistake, thinking she was an intruder, in the pre-dawn hours of Valentines Day last year. Nel briefly erupted in laughter after Pistorius suggested that two witnesses who said they once saw him shoot out of a car sunroof had collaborated and fabricated their accounts. "I apologize for laughing, I wont do it again," Nel said after people in the gallery murmured in surprise at his outburst. Masipa sternly cautioned him: "If you possibly think this is entertaining, its not. So please restrain yourself." The judge will deliver a verdict because there is no jury system in South Africa. Possibly because of her critical role, Masipa has given away little of her thinking during the trial, interjecting only occasionally during testimony and keeping an impassive expression. In the cross-examination, Nel asserted that Pistorius will not "accept responsibility for anything." He reacted incredulously to the athletes explanation of why a gun he was handling went off under a table in a packed restaurant. The incident, for which he was charged with firing a gun in public without good reason, happened weeks before Steenkamp died. Pistorius said a friends pistol, a Glock, went off while he was holding it but insisted that he hadnt pulled the trigger. But a police expert testified earlier at the trial that the Glock could not be fired without pulling the trigger. "We have you in possession of the gun, a shot went off, but you didnt discharge the gun?" Nel said. "You are lying." "I respect Mr. Nels comment," Pistorius replied, "but I didnt pull the trigger on that firearm." Pistorius said he wasnt guilty of another charge against him, illegal possession of ammunition for .38-calibre ammunition found in a safe in his home after he killed Steenkamp. He said they belonged to his estranged father, who had put the bullets in the safe. Nel retorted that Pistorius father, Henke, had "refused" to make a statement to police on the ammunition being his. At another point, Nel said caustically: "Its the strangest day today. You just dont take responsibility for anything." Two contrasting images of Pistorius have emerged in court: the defence-led portrayal of a contrite man worried about crime who made a tragic mistake, and the prosecutions depiction of an overbearing egotist obsessed with firearms who killed his girlfriend on purpose after a heated argument. Pistorius, who faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder, said he did not intentionally fire the four shots that penetrated the toilet door. Steenkamp was struck in the head, hip and arm. "I didnt have time to think about if I wanted to or didnt want to," Pistorius said when Nel asked whether he intended to shoot. Nel also accused him of egotistical behaviour in his relationship with Steenkamp, and described Pistorius courtroom apology to her family on Monday as an insincere "spectacle." "Your life is just about you," Nel told Pistorius. He said the athlete was not "humble enough" to apologize in private to the family and away from the media glare of a murder trial broadcast live around the world. Pistorius said his lawyers had been in touch with representatives of Steenkamps family, and that he believed they were not ready to meet with him. "I completely understand where theyre coming from," he said. "Its not that I havent thought about them." Nel also pressed Pistorius about Steenkamps objection to his playing a song by American rapper Kendrick Lamar on a car stereo. Pistorius referred to the song in a cellphone message to Steenkamp that acknowledged her objections and has been included as evidence in the trial. The prosecutor asked if the name of the song was "Bitch, Dont Kill My Vibe," but Pistorius said he couldnt remember the specific song. Nel responded that Steenkamp would have been right to take offence and caustically noted, "We cant ask her." 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