Oscar Pistorius must face consequences of his deed, prosecutor says as judge weighs verdict
Reuters in Pretoria
The murder trial of Oscar Pistorius wrapped up yesterday with the prosecution making a final call for the South African Paralympian to "face the consequences" of shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Judge Thokozile Masipa will now analyse more than 4,000 pages of evidence before delivering her verdict on September 11.
Double amputee Pistorius, 27, once a national icon, is accused of murdering Steenkamp, a law graduate and model, at his home in Pretoria on Valentine's Day last year.
The defence says Pistorius, nicknamed the "Blade Runner" after his carbon-fibre prosthetic running legs, shot Steenkamp through a locked toilet door in self-defence, believing she was an intruder, and that therefore he should be acquitted.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel has portrayed Pistorius as a gun-obsessed hothead who deliberately shot Steenkamp, 29, four times as she was taking refuge in the toilet after an argument. Cutting through months of complex evidence and testimony, Nel ended proceedings by returning to his core argument. "He knew there was a human being in the toilet. That's his evidence," Nel told the judge. "His intention was to kill a human being. He's fired indiscriminately into that toilet. Then m'lady, he is guilty of murder. There must be consequences."
Defence lawyer Barry Roux said during his own wrapping-up that psychological evidence had proven the track star had a heightened fight response because of his disability and was in a terrified and vulnerable state when he shot Steenkamp.
"You're standing at that door. You're vulnerable. You're anxious. You're trained as an athlete to react. Take all those factors into account," Roux said.
He added that Pistorius had felt exposed because he was standing on the stumps of his legs in the house.
"He stands with his finger on the trigger, ready to fire when ready. In some instances a person will fire reflexively. That is your primal instinct," Roux said.
Roux also argued that the prosecutors had only called witnesses who supported their argument and not other key people, including police officers, who he said would have undermined their case.
On Thursday Nel said Pistorius had told "a snowball of lies" and had called for the track star to be convicted of intentional murder, a crime that could land him with a life sentence.
A potential lesser charge of culpable homicide - comparable to manslaughter - could carry a sentence of about 15 years.
Pistorius also faces three separate charges, including two counts of discharging firearms in public and the possession of illegal ammunition, all of which he denies.