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Oscar should be convicted of murder: Nel

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Murder-accused paralympian Oscar Pistorius should be convicted, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Thursday.

“If the court will accept that the accused acted in self-defence then he cannot escape the conviction of culpable homicide,” prosecutor Gerrie Nel said during his closing arguments.

“Our argument is that the accused should be convicted of murder.”

Pistorius is charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year.

He shot her through the locked door of his toilet at his Pretoria home.

Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. The State contends he shot her during an argument.

Nel said Pistorius was armed and had shot through a closed toilet door and asked why it could not be dolus eventualis (common cause).

Dealing with Pistorius’s disability, Nel said the athlete fired four shots, grouped together, into a small cubicle with a handgun loaded with black talon ammunition.

Pistorius had never said the shooting was an accident but that shooting Steenkamp was an accident.

“Disabled or not, the fact that he is armed is the fact the court must take into consideration,” Nel said.

“A reasonable person would not fire without cause. What we have here is no cause. What we have is an unarmed vulnerable woman that was shot and killed.”

Nel said Pistorius was a disabled man with a firearm ready to shoot and it would have been different if the toilet door had opened.

He said Pistorius moved the aim of the shots because he followed the sounds he heard when Steenkamp moved.

Pistorius had to explain the angle he shot at but did not do so, said Nel.

Nel also dealt with pre-planning.

“My lady, what we have here is not that the accused is armed and something happened and he pulls the trigger,” he said.

Pistorius had to remember where he put his firearm, had to go get it, unholster the firearm, get it ready to shoot, walk back to the bathroom, take up position, and fire four shots.

He said there would be arguments on what exactly pre-planning meant.

“If the court rejects the accused’s version… then the accused armed himself, got the gun ready, walked to the bathroom, shot and killed the deceased,” Nel said.

“He made up his mind. That my lady is pre-planning.”

Nel said the bathroom lights were on when Pistorius shot Steenkamp, as State witnesses had testified.

The shots were fired between 3.16am and 3.17am and there were no screams after the gunshots, he said.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act, one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public. He has pleaded not guilty to these charges as well.

Nel said Pistorius was a gun enthusiast, wrote the competency test, and knew what was allowed.

Pistorius had said the ammunition belonged to his father, but Nel said it was not a viable defence because the law was clear that if one did not have a licence for a weapon one could not have that ammunition.

Nel concluded his closing arguments and Barry Roux, SC, for Pistorius started his. SAPA

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