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  • 8 August 2014, 3:27

Pistorius Tired At Pivotal Moment In Trial

If Judge Thokozile Masipa was favouring either the prosecution or the defence, she was pretty inscrutable on the first day of summing up at the Oscar Pistorius murder trial.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel spent much of the day arguing that the Paralympian was not only a deceitful witness but had tailored his evidence using "well calculated and rehearsed emotional outbursts to deflect attention and to avoid answering questions".

JudgeMasipainterjected very rarely and with no questions which betrayed which way she was leaning.

The accused on the other hand appeared tired and drawn, yawning repeatedly.

This can be a sign of stress as well as sleeplessness, psychologists have pointed out.

If he hadn't had much sleep the night previously, it would hardly be a surprise considering this is the pivotal moment for him - the last chance for his lawyers to convince the judge of his innocence and avoid a lifetime in jail.

But the prosecutor was zooming in on his prey - highlighting what he called the top 13 worst inconsistencies in the athlete's version, though he insisted there were "many more".

Among those he mentioned was the athlete's vacillation over what his actual defence was - self-defence, an accident or the gun went off without him really knowing what had happened.

Either way, GerrieNel argued, the judge had to convict him - and he basically urged her to take her pick.

It was, he said, either murder with dolus directus - that is, the runner had an intention to kill Reeva Steenkamp (or whoever was behind that door.)

Mr Nel said the athlete armed himself and walked towards danger, gun cocked before firing four times into the toilet.

Gerrie Nel insists there was nothing to suggest an attack from within the toilet was imminent.

Secondly, MrNel argued, if the judge accepts any of the athlete's version, he still couldn't escape a murder conviction with dolus eventualis - based on him firing four shots into a small toilet cubicle knowing that when he did so, the person behind would be killed.

And finally he insisted if the judge accepted the athlete's version that he did not kill either deliberately or knowing that would be the outcome, then she had to convict him on culpable homicide.

But in conclusion, the state is pressing for the athlete to be convicted of premeditated murder - which carries a life sentence.

The defence lawyer Barry Roux will have his day proper next and he's already started strongly pointing out a number of contradictions in the prosecution case.

He said it was quite wrong that the state was suggesting the athlete had lied as his version didn't match the police photographs - when several objects had been moved or tampered by the police.

It won't be long now before we find out Judge Masipa's thoughts.

The summing up is due to finish on Friday and there's an expectation she'll set a date for a verdict in the next few weeks.

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