Oscar Pistorius: The defense case continues with expert testimony

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Good morning:

The direct, cross-examination and redirect examination of Oscar Pistorius concluded yesterday. Roger Dixon, a defense expert is on the stand. His direct examination by defense counsel resumes this morning. He testified yesterday regarding the crime scene.

Prior to the resumption of his testimony, the judge granted the prosecution’s application for a postponement of the trial (we call it a motion to continue the trial) commencing tomorrow, April 17, through May 4th. The trial will resume May 5th.

UPDATE: I am mistaken about when the break starts because they are in session tomorrow.

The continuance was requested by the prosecution because this case has lasted much longer than counsel predicted and Gerrie Nell’s co-counsel has another criminal case scheduled for trial that involves defendants in custody in an apartheid matter. The application was not opposed by the defense counsel. Since Pistorius is free on bail and the scheduling conflict was not reasonably foreseeable (and there is no jury to worry about), the judge granted the request. After today the trial will resume on Monday, May 5th.

Crane-Station and I are sharing a computer and she is hosting a session on another website today. Therefore, we have to pass the computer back and forth. We regret and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Please follow along and join us in the comments. We urge you to not forget to make a donation, if you appreciate the time and effort we spend on your behalf.

Thank you,

Fred

Session One:

Session Two:

Session 3

22 Responses to Oscar Pistorius: The defense case continues with expert testimony

  1. Kusta says:

    Mr Dixon walked in as an expert witness and left as a layman. That’s the power of Gerrie Nel also known as “The Pitbull” in South Africa for his relentless and aggressive style of X-examination.

  2. The trial will resume tomorrow morning at 9:30 am in Pretoria.

  3. colin black says:

    What concerns me haveing watched prior trials in South Africa is the Judges pandering to the accused .

    Thats why the trial Is running into over time…And if there willing to pander to his bad acting will they allso give him the bennifit of doubt and let him out?.

    • Malisha says:

      But it’s also sometimes the case that when they hold somebody’s feet to the fire, they intend to let them off, yet when they give them all sorts of solicitous courtesies, they’re getting ready to hang the up by their…well, to come down on them like a ton of bricks. Or a ton of feathers: either one weighs a lot.

  4. Dixon’s credibility sustains another blow when Nel exposes his failure to have read a paragraph of the pathologist’s (i.e., medical examiner) report in which he described his dissection of a bruised area upon which Dixon based his opinion.

    The contents of the paragraph refute the assumption that Dixon made.

    This is very bad.

    The roast will continue tomorrow.

  5. Dixon admits that the photograph he took, of the toilet room door that shows the fibers that he said came from the sock on Pistorius’s fight leg prosthesis, was taken in court on March 13th.

    He had not previously disclosed that information so his testimony was misleading in the sense that the chain of custody had been broken after the door was placed in the courtroom and left there.

    The break in the chain creates a problem for the defense because it invalidates his conclusion.

    BTW, experience has shown that a “match” based only on a visual comparison of fibers adhered to the door with fibers on the sock would be worthless.

    That, in addition to the door being in the public domain where a cleaning lady or anyone else might have come in contact with that part of the door transferring fibers to its surface renders his opinion worthless.

    Even worse, Dixon was dishonest is failing to disclose when and where he took the photograph and that pretty much renders all of his conclusions worthless, unless independently verified.

    A big “oops” moment for the defense.

  6. Judge (with an ever so slight hint of a smile):” Mr. Nel, restrain yourself (as he castigates Dixon for not answering his question).

    Mr. Nel: Yes, my lady.

  7. Oscar Pistorius is not sitting at counsel table with his lawyer. He’s sitting in the dock behind him. This is how the Brits do it.

    I do not like the idea because I like to sit next to my clients. Most of them anyway.

    I suspect Mark O’Mara would have liked to have Zimmerman sitting in the dock.

  8. Pdeadder says:

    I thought the evidence of him looking into the window was rediculous.
    New houses have been built since and,as near as I can gather he was at street level and the witnesses were at the same level as the windows in Pestorius’s house.

  9. Session 1 has concluded. Now on to Session 2.

  10. We did not see anything like this aggressive challenge of an expert witness in the Zimmerman case.

    Nel knows what he’s doing.

    Imagine how much fun he would have had cross examining the use-of-force expert called by the defense and the owner of the Kokopelli gym who testified about Zimmerman’s physical skills without actually working with him during the 8 months or so that he worked out there.

  11. Nell is challenging Dixon’s credentials as an expert on sound and the conclusions he reached with his reproduction of the sounds made by the cricket bat and the gunshots.

    The rule is that an experimental reproduction must exactly reproduce what happened during the original event. Otherwise, the conclusions are not valid.

    Sounds are especially difficult to reproduce accurately and, I might add, that attempting to reproduce what was visible in the bedroom and bathroom at night without lighting is hampered by the nighttime eyesight of the beholder. Another problem is replicating the beholder’s familiarity with the layout of a room. That reproduction that he testified to on direct seemed particularly inappropriate.

    Nel could have objected to the admissibility of those opinions, but this is a judge trial, so he’s using cross examination in an attempt to discredit Dixon and cast doubt on the validity of the opinions that he reached,

  12. Defense direct concludes at 55:36.

    Basically, Dixon’s opinion is that Reeva Steencamp was standing and reaching toward the door handle with the front of her body angled slightly to the left (i.e.,not quite facing the door). Her right arm was extended toward the door handle to her left when the first shot was fired.

    The shot that shattered her right pelvis collapsed her right leg and caused her to fall back and down withe her back scraping the right side of the magazine rack causing three striation type scraping injuries with bruising.

    Defense is going to argue that she was about to open the door and step out of the toilet area when she was shot.

    But the prosecution can also argue that, even if Dixon is right, another explanation would be that she was locking the door and or attempting to prevent him from opening the door by gripping the door handle.

  13. Pdeadder says:

    Why did Pistorius move the body in the first place? I find that very odd.
    If there was light from the bathroom and none in the toilet could it be possible to see shadows under the door to see where she was although I believe they were arguing back and forth so he knew anyway.
    I just think he wanted her to be with him in photos not a relationship.
    He wanted a girl he could bully like the 17 year old when he was 24.

  14. varney33 says:

    I can’t figure out how to send to you personally, but thought this might be of interest re MH 370:
    http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/chinese-relatives-angry-as-malaysia-airlines-flight-mh370-search-continues/story-fniztvnf-1226887111171

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