UK & World News
Key Defence Expert Flounders At Pistorius Trial
I am supposed to be impartial, but it is difficult to report on the performance of defence witness Roger Dixon without pointing out he had a rather uncomfortable time being cross-examined.
He was billed as an expert witness, someone with particular knowledge and experience and without any allegiance to one side.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel spent most of the day trying to show he really was not much of an expert at all in his evidence on sound, light, fibres and blood.
Mr Dixon, a former police officer, testified about recordings made to show how a cricket bat hitting a wooden door can sound like a gunshot.
But he admitted he had not actually been there when some of the gunshots were recorded.
Mr Nel seemed incredulous when the witness said the recordings were made by a music producer.
And when the gun jammed as they tried to record a series of shots, Mr Dixon admitted he had suggested editing the sound of one single shot into the rapid fire sequence they needed.
Strangely, the prosecutor revealed he knew of Mr Dixon's bizarre suggestion because the witness had discussed it with a handful of people at a defence meeting only last week.
But how did he know? Does the prosecutor have a mole in the defence camp?
Mr Dixon also gave evidence of how he matched fibres on the toilet door to Oscar†Pistorius' socks, corroborating the athlete's story that he had tried to kick open the door.
The witness admitted he had not actually handled the socks and then revealed he had taken pictures of the fibres on the door while it was on display in court during the trial.
He said cleaners had earlier cleaned the door, but added: "I didn't see the cleaners putting an excessive amount of energy into cleaning the door, so I stood by my analysis that the fibres were from the sock on the prosthesis and not from the cleaner's cloth."
During the day Mr Nel accused the witness of avoiding his questions.
"I'm going to be rude," he sighed at one point.
The judge, Thokozile Masipa, intervened. "Restrain yourself, Mr Nel," she warned him.
Fortunately, he did.