Oscar Pistorius: police accused of ‘disturbing’ crime scene

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A POLICE photographer faced ridicule from Oscar Pistorius’s defence team today, as images of the bloody crime scene were shown to the court.

Warrant Officer Barend van Staden, the official police photographer, was called to the Pistorius’s home on 14 February last year after the Paralympian had shot dead his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Today defence lawyer Barry Roux challenged the officer over whether he had moved key exhibits in the athlete’s home, including the pistol he used to open fire.

Roux said a pair of flip-flops on the left side of Pistorius’ bed were photographed in three different positions and images of the athlete’s bedroom showed tissues, a CD and a remote control in different places.

“How does it happen that there’s such a great disturbance of that scene?” Roux asked. Van Staden said he did not know who had moved the items.

At one point, Roux asked Van Staden if he knew his left from his right, and carefully tested him on whether he knew the difference between the front and the back of a cricket bat.

Judge Thokozile Masipa upheld an objection by the prosecution that Roux was ridiculing the witness – but this did not stop the athlete’s legal team exposing “gross inconsistencies in police evidence”.

Van Staden said he was alone when he took photographs of the toilet where Steenkamp was shot, but Roux said that photographs from a second officer, Colonel Motha, appear to show the two men were in the bedroom and bathroom at the same time.

“You did not see Colonel Motha?” Roux asked the witness, who confirmed that he had not. “How big is this bathroom?” an astonished Roux replied.

The court has previously heard that the gun used to shoot Steenkamp was handled without gloves by one officer and that one of Pistorius’s watches went missing from the crime scene.

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to the charge of murdering Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year.

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