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  • 9 August 2014, 11:39

Pistorius' Family Appear Confident Of Outcome

The Pistorius family hugged, smiled and kissed each other at the end of the defence summing up.

The athlete's uncle, Arnold, turned to reporters and, describing the two lawyers' performances, said: "It's a Mercedes versus a Fiat."

I asked: "Has Barry Roux done enough?"

Mr Pistorius answered: "Oh yes. More than enough."

In just over a month, we'll find out if he's right.

Judge Thokozile Masipa has retired to consider more than four hundreds pages of summing up arguments from both sides.

She'll deliver her verdict on September 11. As one reporter put it: "Oscar Pistorius' very own 9/11."

Friday was the defence fightback and his lawyer's last chance to prove his innocence.

The day before was spent hearing from the prosecution how the paralympian had constructed a "snowball of lies" to avoid taking the blame for killing Reeva Steenkamp. On Friday, his defence team weighed in with 243 pages of reasons why the State had got it wrong.

The athlete's lawyer, Barry Roux, turned to the crux of the defence case before the mid-morning tea break - pleading with the Judge not to forget that Oscar Pistorius had lived with disability all his life, disability which would mean he reacted like no able-bodied person and which ultimately meant he could not be held responsible for the death of his girlfriend.

His reactions that night were involuntary, Barry Roux argued, they were primal instincts due to a lifelong "slow burn" which meant he didn't even know what he was doing when he fired the shots.

Even as a little boy, the lawyer argued, Oscar Pistorius lived with fear and vulnerability due to not having legs. The effect was a "slow burn" on him and his behaviour. Mr Roux likened the "bladerunner's" reaction on that morning to that of an abused woman who finally snaps after years of abuse to shoot her abuser.

On being asked by the Judge to explain the analogy, Mr Roux said he wasn't suggesting the athlete was abused but that his reactions were similar, that he wouldn't even know what he'd done because he was startled and his response was an "involuntary reflexive response". That, the defence said, meant he could not be held criminally responsible for his actions.

Mr Roux is seeking to have the Paralympian acquitted on the charge of pre-meditated murder of his girlfriend, saying at no time did he intend to shoot Reeva Steenkamp.

At one stage, the advocate told the judge that the athlete should have been charged with culpable homicide in the first place - and not the much more serious charge of murder.

The State's case is that Oscar Pistorius deliberately set out to kill Reeva Steenkamp - and that he searched around for a gun in his bedroom, took it out of its holster, prepared it for shooting and then advanced down the bedroom corridor towards the bathroom and the perceived danger, intending to shoot and therefore kill. All this, the State insists, suggests there was pre-meditation, planning and intent.

Mr Roux spent much of the day rebutting evidence by key State witnesses by using a timeline which, he said, was backed up by telephone data and other witnesses - and which he said perfectly fitted into Oscar Pistorius' version of what happened.

He accused the State of being very selective in which witnesses it had chosen to call, saying they preferred to call neighbours who lived much further away (177m and 80m) rather than the athlete's immediate neighbours who backed up his version.

He was crushingly critical of the State's decision not to call the initial investigating officer Hilton Botha - who was heavily criticised at the bail application hearing for his incompetence and for contaminating the crime scene.

At the conclusion, Mr Roux told the judge that, if she found Oscar Pistorius had acted as a reasonable disabled person would, with no legs, with history of hyper-anxiety, having been startled, with gun in hand and feeling vulnerable, then she had to acquit him.

The trial, which was scheduled to take just three weeks and began in March, will finally end six months later.

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