Thursday, May 8, 2014
The Oscar Pistorius trial resumed today in Pretoria after yesterday’s recess for election day.
We are well into the defense case. Defense counsel, Barry Roux, told Judge Masipa today that he will wrap up his case before the end of next week, so we could possibly see final arguments next Thursday or Friday.
Defense began the morning session by calling Professor Christina Lundgren, an anesthetist (we call them anesthesiologists) to counter the testimony of Dr. Gert Saayman, the pathologist who conducted the autopsy. On the basis of Steenkamp’s stomach contents, which contained identifiable items of food, he said she had last eaten within a few hours before her death, probably around 1 am.
Dr. Saayman’s testimony contradicts Oscar Pistorius’s claim that they ate dinner around 7 pm and went to bed by 10 pm. The prosecution’s theory of the case is that Pistorius shot and killed her during an argument after she attempted to get away from him by locking herself in the toilet stall. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel has accused Pistorius of lying about when they ate dinner and went to bed in order to conceal that argument.
I happen to know more than a little about the digestive process because the subject often comes up in murder cases relative to estimating the time of death (i.e., the unknown) based on when the last meal was consumed (i.e., the known). I agree with Dr. Saayman’s opinion. It takes about 6 hours for the stomach to empty.
I have a feeling Dr. Lundgren is in for a rough time when Gerrie Nel cross examines her.
So, pop some corn, get comfortable, watch the proceedings and join us in the comments below.
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