Despite the confession of Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius to the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year, testimony from Col. G.S. van Rensburg, the top police commander on the scene that night that police officers bungled evidence collection, may have given Pistorius’ defense a boost.
Richard Allen Greene and Ben Brumfield of CNN write:
“The ballistics expert handling the runner’s gun did so without gloves, van Rensburg told the court. And when van Rensburg confronted him, the expert apologized and fetched gloves.
An expensive watch belonging to Pistorius also disappeared during the initial police search of his house, van Rensburg testified.
The former commander described removing the door, checking that it could be reattached, putting it in a body bag and taking it to his office.
This is critical testimony because the defense argues that the door, as evidence, is contaminated.
If previously given expert testimony based on markings on the door prevails, it could make Pistorius look as though he lied about a detail in his account of events.
Van Rensburg resigned from the police force amid accusations that he mishandled evidence by keeping the door in his office.
In his cross-examination, defense attorney Barry Roux went straight after van Rensburg’s credibility, asking him if he understood the importance of telling the truth.”
Gruesome images of a bloody Pistorius were also introduced as evidence at the trial. Pistorius maintains that he accidentally shot Steenkamp when he mistook her for an intruder.
Read more about this case at CNN.