Oscar Pistorius Trial: Gerrie Nel cross examines Thomas Wolmarans

Friday, May 9, 2014

Good morning:

Thomas “Wollie” Wolmarans resumes his testimony today. He is the respected defense ballistic expert who testified yesterday that the presence of small wood splinters in Reeva Steenkamps’s arm indicates she was reaching for the door handle of the toilet enclosure to open the door and not cowering behind the toilet when Pistorius fired through the door.

Gerrie Nel will be cross examining him and will have to bring his best game because Wolmarans has been around the block and is unlikely to be intimidated. How well Wolmarans withstands the storm, may determine the outcome of this trial.

This dream match-up has been a long time coming and should be fascinating to watch.

See you in court.

Session 1

Session 2

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30 Responses to Oscar Pistorius Trial: Gerrie Nel cross examines Thomas Wolmarans

  1. Ann Hamilton says:

    Amendment to post .. Correct name of astrologer is.. JOJo Savard.

  2. MKX says:

    Wow, what a contrast with the kid glove treatment the self-proclaimed experts who testified on behalf of Zpig got.

    And it would have been easy:

    Self defense expert: An athlete is a better puncher

    Prosecution: Did you measure the athletic abilities of either Trayvon Martin or George Zimmerman?

    Self defense expert: No

    Prosecution: Then it is safe to say that your opinion is entirely based on how Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman look, correct?

    Self defense expert: Well, yes

    Prosecution: So one can conclude that lean athletic looking kids are punchers and men with a high level of adipose are not, correct?

    Self defense expert. {smugly} yep

    Prosecution: So how do you explain George Foreman?

    Anyhow, the OP trial confirms my belief that the George Zimmerman trail was a travesty of justice.

  3. Malisha says:

    Frankly, I don’t understand his defense strategy and I also don’t understand his defense. He is not claiming SHE attacked or frightened him; he is not claiming some diminished capacity related to psychological stress in the relationship; he is claiming two separate (joined in his mind only) highly improbable things:

    1. That someone could have come into his house and locked himself in his bathroom; and

    2. That this scared him to death.

    Huh? That’s a defense? That’s madness!

    • Malisha says:

      Just occurred to me: Pisstorius claimed that his girlfriend, while locked in the bathroom, did not even emit screams?

      • bettykath says:

        His story: she was just in there goin’ potty and was shot dead before she had a chance to scream.

        • dianetrotter says:

          After each of the first two shots there should have been a scream. She couldn’t say “Don’t worry it’s me.”, because why would she. May she screamed, “Stop!” I can’t believe the help didn’t hear. How rapid were the shots?

          • Malisha says:

            The help “didn’t hear” because he is still employed by the family. It is known to damage one’s hearing and even memory.

  4. Court is in recess until Monday morning at 9:30 am so that Nel and his assistants can review Wolmarans computer files.

  5. 42 minutes into the afternoon session (Session 2) Wolmarans admits that the wide spread of the wood splinters around the wound in the arm could mean that her arm was 55 cm (21.6 inches) away from the door instead of within 6 to 20 cm.

  6. bettykath says:

    Nel is turning this guy into a prosecution witness or least totally neutralizing his testimony. At least it seems so.

  7. Pat deadder says:

    Mr Wolmarans was the one who found the bullet in the toilet bowl.
    I’m not understanding how Captain Mangana carried out his analysis or did Wolmarans tell him about the bullet he found in the toilet bowl immediately.
    Don’t get me wrong I believe Pistorius is guilty no matter what order the bullets hit her.
    When Ms Stander was testifying she said he went up stairs to get Reeva’s purse as the police wanted Id.She said she heard him walking on tile so she hurried up as she was worried he might shoot himself.
    Only the bathroom had tile so god knows what evidence he destroyed.

  8. bettykath says:

    OP must have gone over the top when she dared to walk away from him and lock the door. How dare she!

  9. During a long and somewhat tedious back and forth before the lunch break, Nel gets Wolmarans to admit that the magazine rack did not cause the two bruising injuries to her back. Wolmarans would not agree that the bullet fragment that he fished out of the toilet caused the injuries, but nothing else could have even if the uneven surface on the fragment does not exactly align.

    Wolmarans has her hit in the hip first and collapsing downward when the next shot blows out her right arm. Nel points out that there is no room for her head.

    Wolmerans disagrees, but then he agrees when Nel says her head was next to the toilet lid on the far side of the toilet when she was shot in the head.

    That certainly doesn’t sound like she was about to walk out of the stall when she was shot.

  10. Nel repeats the question and Wolmerans admits that Pistorius could have moved a little forward into the bathroom and a little to the right into a position next to the wash basin.

  11. Nel shows him a photograph of a laser mounted to a tripod, which is positioned next to a wall on the right.

    In this shot, the laser goes through hole B in the toilet door and hits the wall at position E.

    Nel asks him if the wall would prevent firing through C and hitting E.

    He says no because the arm could be extended without moving the body.

  12. Nel asks him if he relied on Pistorius to inform him where Pistorius was standing when he fired the shots.

    He denies it and says Captain Magena told him where Pistorius fired the shots and the ballistics confirmed what Magena said.

  13. Wolmarans says that his opinion in that case was based on what the accused told him, so the court rejected what the accused said rather than his expert opinion.

  14. Nel asks him if his expert opinion has ever been rejected by a court and then confronts him with a specific case after he says he does not know.

  15. He’s pissed and denies that he changed any of his substantive findings and conclusions.

    Now, he opens another door when Nel asks him, if ever talked to Pistorius about the case.

    He denies it but volunteers that he was present when the defense team was discussing the case with Pistorius.

    As Nel starts walking through that door, he becomes visibly flustered and says Pistorius vomited and left the room when he was shown a picture of Reeva.

    Nel snaps back accusing him of bias for mentioning the vomiting.

    Visibly angry, he denies any bias whatsoever.

  16. Now, he says he can’t recall if he changed anything in his report.

  17. Given that casual dismissal of Dixon’s knowledge of ballistics, Nel responds by remarking,

    “Then you would tell the court to ignore all of Dixon’s opinions about ballistics, am I right?

    Wolmarans looks sick. Like how can this be happening?

  18. Now, he admits that he met with Dixon after Nel savaged him and bought him some beers.

    And, yes, they talked about the case, although he assures the court that he would never change his opinion regarding a ballistic issue because Dixon is not an expert in ballistics.

    Wow and I mean wow!

    Difficult to believe that he didn’t know that he should not have discussed the case and Dixon’s testimony with Dixon prior to testifying.

    Dumb move.

  19. Now he can’t recall if he gave the defense an electronic copy of his printed report dated 4/23 that he gave to them.

    Is that an innocent lapse of memory or a convenient lapse, especially since his written report is dated after Nel’s brutal savaging of Roger Dixon who worked with Wolmerans?

  20. Nel notices that the date on Wolmarans’s written report is after the trial started and this sets the stage for a series of embarrassing questions regarding how he communicated his findings to the defense team and if he ever changed anything before issuing his final report.

    Standard practice for defense counsel in the US is to contact an expert and ask them to take a look at the facts, insofar as they are known, regarding a relevant issue in their area of expertise. After the expert completes that task, the lawyer and the expert talk it over.

    If the expert’s findings help the defense, the lawyer will request a written report and endorse the witness as a defense expert. The written report is discoverable and must be turned over to opposing counsel who will want to interview the defense expert before trial.

    If the expert’s findings do not help, or if they hurt the defense, the lawyer will thank the expert for her time, tell her not to bother preparing a written report, and ask her to submit her bill for the time expended.

    All communications between the lawyer and the expert about the case are protected from disclosure by the attorney work product privilege. That means the lawyer cannot be compelled to disclose the name of an expert whom he consulted, but did not retain for additional work. The lawyer also cannot be compelled to disclose the consulting expert’s opinion, even if benefitted the other side.

    The only exceptions to this rule are

    (1) if the expert was hired by the prosecution and the expert’s findings help the defense, in which case the findings constitute exculpatory evidence that must be disclosed pursuant to the Brady v. Maryland rule; and

    (2) if the expert was hired by the defense, the defense is insanity or diminished capacity and the expert’s findings hurt the defense.

    The loosey goosey arrangement between Raux and Wolmerans was unprofessional, if only because it makes them look like they may have concealed evidence that hurt their case and revised some unfavorable evidence into favorable evidence.

    Because they did not follow the proper procedure, Nel has Wolmarans on the defensive with Judge Masipa frowning and this is not good for Pistorius.

  21. Watched last night & for the first time I saw Judge Masipa scowl at a defence witness, Mr. Wolmarans. I thought it was #GerrieNel at his smoothest. At one point he asks Mr. Wolmaran’s if he ever showed OP any autopsy pictures, he said yes and that OP then did his ‘vomit on command’ act. Nel didn’t blink, he said straight out, ‘ ‘now your showing your bias’ & by adding that, then even the hardened ol’ cop started fidgeting..

    Look for the questions of the beer or beers Mr. Wolmarans had with Mr. Dixon between testimony’s…..Seriously, these are terrible witnesses. I wouldn’t hire Mr. Roux at this point!

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