Pretoria: Did Oscar Pistorius say “everything is fine” moments after he shot and killed his girlfriend, or did he in fact tell a security guard “I am fine”?
This line of questioning is expected to be the starting point of the continued cross-examination of security guard Pieter Baba when Mr Pistorius’ murder trial resumes for a second week on Monday.
Mr Pistorius’ barrister Barry Roux is expected to suggest to Mr Baba that Mr Pistorius in fact told him he was fine – which supports the defence version that the Olympian believed he was shooting an intruder.
'I got such a fright': a security guard told the court of seeing Oscar Pistorius carrying the body of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Photo: Reuters
Mr Baba was on duty at the Silver Woods Estate the night Mr Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, through a closed and locked toilet door in the early hours of Valentine's Day 2013.
Speaking through an Afrikaans interpreter for most of his evidence, Mr Baba told the court on Friday he was alerted to the sound of gunshots from neighbours of the double-amputee and drove in the direction of Mr Pistorius’ house.
When he arrived there, he called Mr Pistorius on his mobile phone.
“Pistorius told me, 'security, everything is fine',” he told the court in English.
A short time after the call ended, Mr Pistorius phoned him back.
“That’s when I realised he was crying,” Mr Baba said.
Mr Baba told Judge Thokozile Masipa he then saw Mr Pistorius carrying the body of his girlfriend down the stairs.
“Milady, I was so shocked I couldn’t even think for a few minutes,” he said.
“I got such a fright seeing Oscar carrying Reeva down (from the top floor) after he had told me everything was fine.”
Mr Roux, for Mr Pistorius, later queried if his client hadn’t actually said “I am okay” rather than “everything” was okay.
But again using English words, Mr Baba said Pistorius said: “Everything is fine.”
Questioning is expected to continue in this vein as Mr Baba will continue in the witness box as the second week of testimony begins.
He is the ninth witness to give evidence, with the state identifying up to 107 individuals as possible witnesses in their case.
The case is set down for three weeks, but most believe it will go beyond that timeframe.
Mr Pistorius faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted of premeditated murder, with a maximum five years each for the two unrelated gun charges and 15 years for a separate firearms charge.
If he isn’t convicted of the most serious count of premeditated murder, the sprinter could face a lesser charge of culpable homicide – a crime based on negligence – which carries a maximum of 15 years' jail.
Mr Pistorius is not claiming self-defence; he is claiming to have been mistaken about his need for self-defence.
He does not deny killing Ms Steenkamp, but denies that he intentionally, unlawfully killed her in cold blood.