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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Pistorius and Steenkamp were 'loving couple', says his lawyer.



The lawyer of Oscar Pistorius, the South African athlete accused of murdering his girlfriend, has denied claims the couple were unhappy.

Barry Roux emphasised that among hundreds of "loving" text messages, only four showed signs of arguments.
He made his case while cross-examining a police captain who had given evidence about the couple's mobile phones.
Mr Pistorius denies deliberately shooting Reeva Steenkamp last February, saying he thought she was an intruder.

The prosecution has now ended its case and the trial has been adjourned until Friday.
The state has wrapped up its case, but not before a bit of damage control by the defence. Barry Roux read messages exchanged between Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius which he says show the couple were in a "loving relationship". The texts included nicknames like "boo, my angel, baba".
But prosecutor Gerrie Nel, whose case is that Mr Pistorius murdered the model in cold blood, pointed out that their messages were mostly one liners - there was "nothing discussing the relationship". He said the only messages where Ms Steenkamp shared her feelings were those showing they were fighting. One read: "I am scared of you sometimes."

The defence has a lot of work ahead. They need to somehow disprove the witnesses who heard a screaming woman, and to salvage their client's image - now also tainted by reports of a temper and reckless use of a firearm.
Defence lawyers say Mr Pistorius will take the stand, but it is not clear when that will be.
The defence is particularly focusing on text messages and calls extracted from the couple's mobile phones by police Capt Francois Moller.
Mr Pistorius previously said he had forgotten the password to his iPhone and investigators went to the US shortly before the trial began to meet Apple officials to try and gain access to it.

Mr Roux tried to demonstrate that Mr Pistorius and Ms Steenkamp had arguments but these were soon resolved, the BBC's Pumza Fihlani reports from court in Pretoria.
Many of the text messages exchanged between the couple were affectionate in tone and showed they were in love, the defence argued on Tuesday.
The defence also played CCTV footage, earlier broadcast by Sky News, showing Mr Pistorius and Ms Steenkamp kissing in a shop.

State prosecutor Gerrie Nel later questioned the relevance of the video.
On Monday Capt Moller revealed he had been able to extract some 35,000 pages' worth of messages from Ms Steenkamp's phone.
He said that 90% of the messages between the couple were loving, but he had picked out exceptions.
In one message sent on 27 January 2013, Ms Steenkamp wrote: "I'm scared of you sometimes and how you snap at me and of how you react to me."
The message was sent after the couple had a row when he accused her of flirting with another man at a friend's engagement dinner - weeks before he shot her dead.
In another message written a week before her death, she said: "I can't be attacked by outsiders for dating you and be attacked by you - the one person I deserve protection from."

Correspondents say some of these messages could prove extremely damaging for Mr Pistorius.
Ms Steenkamp's messages paint a picture of the athlete as a jealous and possessive boyfriend prone to anger.
The texts between the couple also suggest Mr Pistorius asked Ms Steenkamp to keep quiet over an incident in January 2013 where he allegedly fired a gun at a restaurant - another charge he denies.
"Angel please don't say a thing to anyone... I can't afford for that to come out," he wrote.
  • "I was not flirting with anyone today I feel sick that you suggested that" (Reeva Steenkamp, 27 January 2013)
  • "I'm scared of you sometimes and how you snap at me and how you will react to me" (Reeva Steenkamp, 27 January)
  • "I do everything to make you happy and to not say anything to rock the boat with you" (Reeva Steenkamp, 27 January)
  • "I can't be attacked by outsiders for dating you and be attacked by you - the one person I deserve protection from" (Reeva Steenkamp, 8 February)
  • The court heard the couple called each other "Angel" and "Baba"
  • "Angel please don't say a thing to anyone…Darren told everyone it was his fault. I can't afford for that to come out" (Oscar Pistorius, 11 January 2013 following alleged shooting incident)

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