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Ballistic expert's testimony continues in Pistorius trial

Wednesday 19 March 2014 06:15

Noma Bolani

Oscar Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to murder.(REUTERS)

Ballistic expert, Chris Mangena, will on Wednesday reveal in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria whether Oscar Pistorius was on his stumps or wearing his prosthetic legs when he shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp.

Mangena gave his testimony-in-chief on Tuesday detailing how he reconstructed the crime scene after being given the toilet door with four bullet holes in it.

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to murder.

Mangena described to the court how he had to use the photographs of Reeva Steenkamp's post-mortem as well as images collected by police photographer, Barend van Staden.

The forensic expert also explained the difficulties he encountered when trying to determine the trajectory of the bullets as three of the four hit Steenkamp and not the wall.

Mangena's investigation also measured the height of the bullets to determine if Pistorius was wearing his prosthetic legs or was on his stumps when he shot four times through the toilet door.

In cross-examination, defence advocate Barry Roux is expected to grill Mangena on why it took three weeks for a ballistics expert to examine the crime scene.

SA tourism launches Madiba inspired map

Wednesday 19 March 2014 06:00

Pearl Magubane

Nelson Mandela died on December 5 2013 at the age of 95.

Nelson Mandela died on December 5 2013 at the age of 95. (REUTERS)

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The Tourism Department has launched the"Madiba Inspired Tourist Attractions" Map. It's a travel map that encourages tourists from around the world to visit South Africa to walk in former president Nelson Mandela's footsteps.

South African Tourism developed the map in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory. It highlights tourism sites as well as general places of interest in the four main provinces that defined Mandela's life.

These include: the Eastern Cape, where he was born, grew up and attended Fort Hare University, Gauteng, where he worked as a human rights lawyer and became instrumental in South Africa's political struggle.

The Tourism Department says since Mandela's release from prison in February 1990, a number of world-class museums, monuments and precincts have been developed to bring his story to life and to cater for the demand to better understand South Africa's history.

The Madiba Inspired Tourist Attractions map includes well-known attractions such as United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) World Heritage Site, Robben Island, and Mandela's house on Vilakazi Street in Soweto.

The Nelson Mandela Youth and Heritage Centre in Mandela's childhood home, Qunu, where he was buried is also featured in the map.

Tshepisong Mar 18 · Tags: madiba, sa tourism
Protest over power cut in Tshepisong2013-10-11 07:26
JMPD (Picture: Supplied)

JMPD (Picture: Supplied)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in PicturesSend us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

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Johannesburg - The Tshepisong informal settlement in Leratong, on the West Rand, was quiet early on Friday following a protest over an electricity cut, Johannesburg metro police said.

"Nothing is happening. It is quiet there," said Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar.

On Thursday, protesters from the settlement had torched a truck.

Police said residents were protesting because they had been without electricity since last Saturday.

No arrests were made.

- Are you there? Send us your photos.

- SAPA

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  electricity  | protests  |  service delivery

Protest over power cut in Tshepisong2013-10-11 07:26
JMPD (Picture: Supplied)

JMPD (Picture: Supplied)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in PicturesSend us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Related Links

Johannesburg - The Tshepisong informal settlement in Leratong, on the West Rand, was quiet early on Friday following a protest over an electricity cut, Johannesburg metro police said.

"Nothing is happening. It is quiet there," said Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar.

On Thursday, protesters from the settlement had torched a truck.

Police said residents were protesting because they had been without electricity since last Saturday.

No arrests were made.

- Are you there? Send us your photos.

- SAPA

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  electricity  | protests  |  service delivery

Latest

10.09 One of Pistorius' relatives has just handed him a tissue as he wipes tears away as he listens to details

10.06 If every one of the 107 witnesses gets the same thorough treatment as Miss Burger we will be here for a long time.

10.01 Judge Masipa tells Roux: "I really think you have exhausted this" after spirited interjection from prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

Pistorius talks to his defence team during the break

09.56 Roux says "it would be no sense for a man who is about to kill girlfriend to shout for help." We remember from yesterday's testimony that Miss Burger said she heard a woman scream followed by a man screaming for help.

09.52 It's getting pretty heated in the court, as defence counsel Roux goes over and over the same parts of Miss Burger's testimony:

09.37 And they are back in court after a very long tea break. Roux has said to Miss Burger: "The statement of you and your husband show a remarkable similarity and it cannot be that you gave your versions separately."

Roux says that they heard exactly the same things. Miss Burger raises guffaws from the gallery, responding: "Yes sir,we were in the same bedroom", says Aislinn Laing in court.

09.30 Our correspondent in court, Aislinn Laing:

09.20 Some photographs of Pistorius arriving in court earlier:

09.00 The court has just adjourned for a mid-morning break, giving time for both sides to get paperwork in order.

08.47 Erin Conway-Smith, one of two Telegraph correspondents in court, says Pistorius appears slightly bemused watching his lawyer Barry Roux's vigorous cross examination of witness Miss Burger, a former neighbour.

QuoteRoux is taking Miss Burger to task over the sequence of screams and shots she heard the night that Reeva Steenkamp was killed, arguing that the statement she gave to police differs from her testimony yesterday.

As expected June Steenkamp, mother of Reeva, is not in court today. On the Steenkamp side of the bench are representatives of the Myers family, who Miss Steenkamp was living with in Johannesburg before her death. Among them are Desi Myers, mother of Miss Steenkamp's close friend Gina Myers, a makeup artist. The family's attorney Ian Levitt is also with them.

Pistorius collects his thoughts

08.44 Reporters in court say friends of Reeva sigh in exasperation as Roux asks Miss Burger the same question repeatedly. She has now been under cross-examination for at least 2-3 hours.

08.38 This from Alex Crawford, the Sky correspondent in court:

08.36 Defence counsel Roux is suggesting Miss Burger's testimony is different to her police statement, she says in response that her statement was only a few pages long, but her questioning has gone on for hours and hours.

08.19 Miss Burger says she did not think there was an intruder at Pistorius' house that night. Roux wants to drill down into why the witness was certain there wasn't a burglar.

08.17 Judge Thokozile Masipa has just said if the media does not behave they will be "treated with kid gloves", which means broadcasting rights could still be revoked.

08.13 Statement from local independent TV channel eNCA says they did not broadcast image of witness in court, but a publically available image (from the University of Pretoria website).

08.08 A odd photo of Pistorius taken this morning in court:

Pistorius sits in the dock ahead of the second day of the trial

08.05 It seems local papers have used a photo of Miss Burger taken from the University of Pretoria website. It looks like a still, not a video taken in court, which could mean it is out of the limitations of the court.

07.55 The judge has the power to decide to revoke permission to broadcast the rest of the hearing.

07.51 The prosecution has just called for an adjournment after he was shown a picture of a mobile phone of the witness in court. It seemsa broadcaster has broken the rules and filmed Miss Burger giving evidence.

07.49 Miss Burger sounded like she was screaming for her life.

07.43 Our correspondent in court, Aislinn Laing, has sent us this:

 Good morning from Pretoria where we're experiencing some very British weather - it's raining cats and dogs and the sky is a miserable grey.

The trial of Oscar Pistorius has just restarted. Pistorius is here, wearing a winter coat, and has taken time to nod to all of us in the front row, a real departure from his attempts to shrink from the media during his bail hearing.

June Steenkamp, Reeva's mother, is not here today. She said at the weekend she said she "could not bear" to hear the forensic details of the case but wanted to look Pistorius in the eye and hear his account of what happened. At least one of those wishes was granted when she heard a witness statement written by the athlete read out in court. It is not clear if the two ever made ever contact however.

Cross examination has restarted of the prosecution's star witness, who said yesterday she heard a woman's "bloodcurdling" screams followed by shots, an account that directly contradicts Pistorius' claim he believed Steenkamp was an intruder when he fired the fatal shots.

Pistorius' defence lawyer suggested she heard not shots but Pistorius breaking down the door with a cricket bat - that the shots were fired before she awoke last St Valentine's Day. The witness said she was confident she knew the difference between those sounds.

We may also hear today from the witness Michelle Burger's husband, who also heard shots and screams, although his wife suggested he may have heard five or six shots, a discrepancy that the defence may pounce on to discredit them both.

07.35 They may be looking to get a new interpreter in court today as there were a few "ropey" translations yesterday, according to legal experts and Afrikaans speakers.

07.29 Pistorius is back in court, looking down as he writes in his notebook. According to our reporters in court, he nodded at the assembled journalists as he entered. His lawyer, Barry Roux, will continue the cross-examination of the first witness, his near neighbour Michelle Burger.

07.05 The judge will be passing verdict on four charges in this case - which took take up to six weeks to hear with 107 witnesses. The most important one is that or intentionally killing his love Reeva, to which he pleaded not guilty.

07.03 For the second day running in Pretoria the Heavens have opened:

07.02 June Steenkamp, Reeva's mother, had travlled from her home in Port Elizabeth to listen to the opening. Her husband Barry, who in the last few days had had a stroke, was unable to make it.

Mrs Steenkamp had said in a newspaper interview over the weekend that she had wanted Pistorius to look her right in the eye, but the defendant walked past her in court yesterday without so much as giving her a glance.

Our reporter in court, Erin Conway-Smith, said June will not be in court today, and unlikely to return until the day of verdict.

June Steenkamp wipes her eyes with a tissue

A lighter moment in court

07.02 Miss Burger confidently told the court that at about 3am on Valentine's Day morning last year she was woken to screams of a woman. She said these were followed by four shots and screaming for help from a man. She said it was difficult to explain to the court how terrified they sounded, but said they were "bloodcurdling". From the sound, she had assumed something terrible had happened.

Barry Roux, the defence lawyer, vigorously cross-examined Miss Burger, who was at times was speaking English and at times having to rely on an Afrikaans translator.

07.00 Good morning, and welcome to The Telegraph's second day of live coverage of the trial of Oscar Pistorius.

Pistorius, 27, is accused of shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year. He denies all charges.

The trial opened yesterday after an hour and a half delay (we understand there were problems finding a translator). We heard from the first witness, Michelle Burger, a lecturer at the University of Pretoria who was living near Pistorius at the time of the killing.

Although the trial is being televised, Mrs Burger was not shown on TV as the judge had ruled she should be allowed to give evidence out of the media glare.