The account of an incident that ended with Pistorius shooting his pistol through the sunroof of a moving car came from close friend Darren Fresco on the seventh day of his murder trial in Pretoria, South Africa. In addition to murder charges Pistorius faces two firearms charges relating to this incident and an occasion where he fired a gun in a restaurant.
The firearms charges have been brought by the prosecution to try and paint Pistorius as a trigger-happy playboy who is quick to reach for his gun when angry as he fights claims that he murdered his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year.
Pistorius’s defence attempted to discredit the restaurant incident, recreating the table Pistorius was sitting at with Fresco.
In recounting the restaurant shooting Fresco, who had been granted immunity from possible prosecution for his part in the incidents, said he passed his Glock 27 .40 calibre pistol under the four-seat table to Pistorius, who was sitting diagonally opposite him.
He said he had told Pistorius, “I’m one up” meaning there was a bullet in the chamber, and Pistorius replied, “OK”. When Pistorius had hold of the pistol, it discharged into the floor.
Roux put it to Fresco that Pistorius could not have heard his friend from where he was seated in the noisy restaurant. Asked how far apart the two men’s faces were when the conversation took place Fresco gave a demonstration, estimated by a court officer at 30 centimetres.
After a brief adjournment, Roux returned to tell Fresco that he and his associates had pushed tables together in their chambers to recreate the restaurant seating plan and, “it is not possible for the faces of two people seated diagonally opposite to be that close. It cannot be done.”
Fresco later increased his estimate of the distance to 60 centimetres. It was one of several points a rattled Fresco conceded to Roux, including the fact that he had been carefully following coverage of the trial on television and Twitter, leading the attorney to intimate that he had doctored his testimony to support the evidence of previous prosecution witnesses.
Fresco told of being pulled over for speeding when driving to Johannesburg after attending a social function with Pistorius and Pistorius’s girlfriend Samantha Taylor at the Vaal River.
As Fresco was talking to a policeman beside the car “Oscar got out to see what was taking so long”.
Fresco said a second policeman saw Pistorius’s pistol in the seat of the car, picked it up and “cleared the firearm”, taking the bullet out of the chamber.
Pistorius was furious, he said.
“He said, ‘you can’t just touch another man’s gun’. When the policeman handed it back Oscar said, ‘Your fingerprints are all over my gun. You will be liable for anything that happens’.”
Fresco said Pistorius was asked to show his gun license. When the policeman referred to him as ‘Mr Pissorius’ the Olympian snapped, “If you could read you’d see my name is Pistorius”.
“He was furious someone had touched one of his guns,” he said.
Throughout the testimony Pistorius, sat sideways on his seat, one arm cocked on the backrest and his chin on his hand, staring intently at his friend.
Fresco said after he and the first policeman had diffused the heated situation they continued to drive to Johannesburg where Pistorius wanted to speak to someone about a gun.
“Without prior warning, he shot out the sunroof. By instinct I moved to the right of the vehicle. I flinched and ducked down and saw him bringing the weapon back into the car.”
Asked by prosecutor Gerrie Nel what he had said to Pistorius, Fresco replied, “Apologies for the language my lady, but I asked him if he was f**king mad. He just laughed.
“I literally felt like my ear was bleeding. I had a constant ringing in my left ear.”
The evidence differs from the earlier testimony of Samantha Taylor, who said both men had been laughing and talking about shooting a “robot” (traffic light) prior to the incident.
Earlier, pathologist Gert Saayman revealed that there were bruises and abrasions on Steenkamp’s body not associated with the shooting, consistent with being caused by a blunt instrument.
During the debate over whether live coverage of Prof Saayman’s finding should be permitted, Mr Nels made it clear that both he and Roux had already read the report and were well aware of its contents.
Roux did not attempt to shake the physical evidence given on Monday by Prof Saayman, a 30 year veteran of up to 15,000 autopsies, instead he tried to create some element of doubt over the doctor’s estimate that Steenkamp had eaten two hours before her death.
The timing of Steenkamp’s last meal is crucial because in his affidavit to the court Pistorius swore that the pair had been in bed at 10pm, five hours before the shooting. [NewsCorp]Read more ›