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Pistorius vomits during graphic testimony

Guard: Pistorius Said 'Everything Is Fine' After Shooting

By Christopher Torchia and Gerald Imray

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - Oscar Pistorius vomited in the dock at his murder trial Monday as he heard graphic details of the injuries sustained by the girlfriend he fatally shot.

The testimony of Prof. Gert Saayman, the pathologist who performed the autopsy on Reeva Steenkamp's body, was not broadcast or reported live on Twitter by journalists because of its explicit content under an order from Judge Thokozile Masipa. However, journalists were allowed to report the testimony without directly quoting the witness.

The double-amputee runner, hunched over on a bench, reacted to the description of Steenkamp's wounds by vomiting and retching repeatedly, prompting Masipa to briefly halt the testimony to ask chief defense lawyer Barry Roux to attend to his client. The judge also asked whether Pistorius was able to understand the proceedings. Roux said Pistorius' reaction was not going to change. A bucket was placed at his feet.

Saayman stood for much of his time on the stand, referring to photographs that were not shown to the gallery as he described bullet wounds on Steenkamp's body, one to the right side of the head, one to the right arm and one to the right hip area. He also described exit wounds caused by the bullets and other abrasions and discoloration of the skin, consistent with the impact of a bullet fired through a wooden object such as a door.

There was another wound on one of Steenkamp's hands, Saayman said. Steenkamp, a model and personality on a television reality show, was wearing a pair of sports shorts with a Nike logo and a black vest when she was shot, he said.

Pistorius, the first amputee to run in the Olympics, is charged with premeditated murder for 29-year-old Steenkamp's shooting death before dawn on Feb. 14, 2013. Pistorius, 27, says the killing was accidental because he thought his girlfriend was a dangerous intruder when he shot her through the door of a toilet cubicle in his home.

Earlier, prosecutor Gerrie Nel, supported by chief defense lawyer Barry Roux, said Saayman's testimony would have an "explicitly graphic nature" and should not be shown around the world. Masipa then announced a ban on live audio and video broadcasting, and extended the order to live reporting on social media.

"Twitter is not allowed. Blogging is not allowed," Masipa said.

Proceedings can be partly televised and the audio can be broadcast in its entirety under a judge's pre-trial order that sought to balance the right to a fair trial with the intense public interest in the Pistorius case and the principle of open justice. Under the order, some witnesses can choose not to be shown on television.

Earlier Monday, Masipa extended that order, saying "private witnesses are more vulnerable than public figures" and that still photographs of witnesses who requested some discretion cannot be published or disseminated for the duration of the trial, even if they were obtained from sources outside the courtroom.

The new ruling followed the publication in a South African media outlet last week of a photo of a witness whose image was lifted from a publicly accessible website.

Before the adjournment Monday, a security guard who said he spoke with Pistorius soon after the shooting of Steenkamp was challenged by the defense about his recollection of the sequences of the events that night.

The sequence is important for the defense because, if it can prove that Pistorius called security first, it could support the contention that he was seeking help as quickly as possible.

The guard, Pieter Baba, had testified Friday that he called Pistorius and was told "everything is fine" on the telephone. Baba said Pistorius then called him back moments later, didn't speak, was crying and the second call then ended.

Baba said he was responding to neighbors' reports of gunshots coming from Pistorius' home after 3 a.m. on Valentine's Day last year. He drove with a fellow guard to Pistorius' villa and made the call from outside the house.

Baba's statement that he called Pistorius first could back the prosecution's case that the killing was premeditated, and that Pistorius was trying, at least initially, to conceal what he had done.

On Monday, however, Roux said call records showed Pistorius called security first, but couldn't speak because he was "indeed crying."

"I'm the one who called him first," Baba insisted.

Join the discussion

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callaluna March 10 2014 at 3:20 PM

Oh sure, he's terrified of an "intruder" locked in his bathroom? This girl was hiding from him in there and he shot her in cold blood through the door. Throw away the key.

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1 reply
deejunebug callaluna March 10 2014 at 8:15 PM

I tend to agree callaluna...going with his story, he claims that he woke up and heard an intruder in the bathroom, and that the door was locked. How did he know the door was locked unless he turned the handle? IF the door was actually locked he should have 1st thought to wake up his girlfriend and both of them just get the heck out of the room before shooting through the door in the first place. He wasn't in any "life threatening" danger when he shot. The "burglar" was cornered not them. They could have left his apartment and called security and let them or the police handle it.

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I LOVE YOU JENNY March 10 2014 at 4:04 PM

It's time for you to pull up your jock strap tighter, Oscar!!!!!!!!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
tommye.harris March 10 2014 at 2:26 PM

I think what he should of done before he got trigger happy was made sure she wasn't the one in the bathroom. He should of asked " Who's there"? She would be alive today if he would of done what he should of done. He should of made sure where she was before he just started shooting. He went about it all wrong! GUILTY

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1 reply
tamsen86 tommye.harris March 10 2014 at 2:42 PM

Don't you get it? He knew it was her and wanted her dead. Should haves don't work in this case.

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villaschic50 March 10 2014 at 2:23 PM

rofl @ void999

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I LOVE YOU JENNY March 10 2014 at 5:09 PM

Get a life, Oscar!!!!!!!! A life in prison for life!!!!!!!!

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n.brobbey March 10 2014 at 5:59 PM

This guy is guilty by all accounts. When one spots an intruder, first reaction is to find out
who is there. Did he try to find out who was in the bathroom? Well, he has the money and I think he can get away with murder.

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mmjones21 March 10 2014 at 5:59 PM


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3 replies
jacky March 10 2014 at 6:20 PM

I can not feel sorry for this man....I feel sorry for Reeva and her family...don't know how he did not realize she wasnt in the bed.....next to him....and after shooting the first round didnt know it was her in the bathroom...he is guilty by all means.

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mondial0111 March 10 2014 at 6:22 PM

tink tink bang bang

Flag Reply +2 rate up
bigfile4 March 10 2014 at 2:37 PM

I am surprised he didn't Pistorious on himself as well. That would have gotten him the attention he craved for sure.......

Flag Reply +6 rate up
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