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  • 16 April 2014, 6:21

Pistorius' Team To Highlight Police 'Errors'

It felt like a dramatic climax to the murder trial, but Oscar Pistorius' testimony and cross examination in the witness box was just the start of the defence's case.

The athlete's lawyers still have about a dozen witnesses to call as they try to challenge the prosecution's charge that the runner shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, deliberately.

Already, we have seen one expert witness, Roger Dixon, who has suggested the neighbours who gave evidence for the prosecution were mistaken in what they heard. 

A recording of a cricket bat hitting a door was played in the courtroom, the bangs ringing out like bullets as Pistorius covered his ears.

The defence wants to show that the neighbours who said they heard a woman screaming as shots were fired must have heard the athlete screaming as he broke down the toilet door to reach Ms Steenkamp after shooting her by mistake.

The defence is expected to call other neighbours - who lived closer to Pistorius - to show they heard noises consistent with the runner's account of the shooting.

We can also expect an array of experts in the field of crimescene investigation to argue the police misinterpreted and contaminated evidence. 

The "unreliability" of the state's forensic evidence is a key part of Oscar Pistorius' defence.

Unlike the prosecution, the defence does not have to provide a full list of potential witnesses, so we do not yet know if the athlete's friends or relatives will be called to testify about his character or his relationship with Ms Steenkamp. 

Both issues were stressed repeatedly by the defence during his time in the witness box. 

Defence advocate Barry Roux has been keen to portray Pistorius as a man with an overwhelming fear of crime whose disability added to his sense of vulnerability. 

This is important as the athlete has used his "fear" as his explanation for the shooting - saying he was convinced an intruder or intruders had broken into his house. 

The state of his relationship is also a crucial element in the defence's case, particularly after the prosecution claimed Ms Steenkamp was scared of Pistorius and he shot her deliberately after an argument.

The state prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, whose fierce cross examination of Pistorius caused the athlete to contradict and confuse his account of the shooting, will have the opportunity to interrogate all of the defence witnesses.

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