World-famous murder-accused Paralympian athlete, Oscar Pistorius admitted in the Pretoria High Court on Friday he has never reported a crime at a police station. This was in spite of evidence previously given in court that he has been a frequent victim of crime. He told the court he believed there was no need to report the numerous criminal incidents to the police because they would not have been able to do anything about the crimes.
State prosecutor Advocate Gerrie Nel (above), asked why he had never “complained about a crime” since he has consistently maintained he has been exposed to so much crime. Pistorius replied that when his house was broken into he did not have insurance and so there was not reason to go and report the crime. When he was shot at on a busy highway he did not report the matter to the police because he did not think they would be able to do anything about it. When he was assaulted in December 2012, he said he did not want to go to the police because he had been told the assailant “had connections at the police station.” On this occasion he reported the incident to the Hawks, South Africa’s special investigating unit set up to get rid of corruption and organized crime. When someone kicked his dog in the yard of a previous house he owned, he called the police but did not open a case because there had not been a break in.
In March, Warrant Office Adriaan Maritz from the Boschkop Police Station – the closest police station to Pistorius’ Pretoria home – gave evidence that he had checked police files and ascertained that Pistorius was not a complainant in any cases. He had never reported any crimes that had occurred at his house or anywhere else. Theft of a watch from his house had been reported. In cross-examination by defense advocate Barry Roux, he agreed that living in a secure estate like Silver Woods could not guarantee that one would be safe from crime.
Questioning Pistorius about security at his Silver Woods house (where he killed Reeva Steenkamp), Nel asked whether he had ever been a victim of crime there. Pistorius replied, only when the police stole his watches. “You felt it was safe enough to leave cars outside and not in the garage?” Pistorius agreed, saying he did not think anyone would break into his car. He also agreed that a downstairs window in his house had been broken “for a while” and confirmed that there was no burglar proofing on this or any of the other windows.
He said he was concerned about the ladders people working on his house were using for painting at the time of the shooting. Because of this he had asked the contractor to ensure the ladders were left in the garage at night, but did not check this every night – or the evening before Valentine’s Day last year.
He was not concerned about the balcony doors being open while he was awake. Evidence presented in court has been that he asked Reeva to close the doors before she went to sleep; but after falling asleep, he woke up and closed them himself. This is when he claims he heard intruders in the bathroom.
Nel also questioned him about the alarm system that he has said he activated on the night of February 13, 2013. Although he had not mentioned deactivating the alarm in previous evidence, Pistorius said he must have done this because “nobody else could have switched it off,” and it did not go off when he went downstairs after he had shot Reeva. He confirmed that when the alarm was on, people would not have been able to enter the house without it going off. However he maintained that when he heard noises in his bathroom, he “did not even think about the alarm.”
Going back to some of the criminal incidents Oscar Pistorius failed to report to the police, Nel repeated the story about a black Mercedes from which shots were allegedly fired at him. Pistorius again told the court he felt there was no need to call the police or report the incident: “I do not know what the police could have done about it.”
The night in question was sometime in 2008 or 2009, Pistorius said, and he was traveling on a highway that is reputedly the “busiest stretch of road in the southern hemisphere.” He was alone in the car and was traveling home after an interview at about 10 or 11 pm. He said he was in the fast lane when a black Mercedes overtook him and slowed down. He heard a bang and saw a muzzle flash that looked like a “reddish whitish explosion.” Pistorius said he had his cellphone with him but did not call the police because his first thought was “to get away.” He drove to Rhapsody’s (a busy franchise restaurant) and waited in the car park for someone to fetch him. He said he could not remember who this person was. He also could not remember how he got the car back. Somebody must have taken him to pick it up, he said.
“It is so improbable that you would not remember who you phoned,” said Nel. “The one night when someone nearly shot you, you can remember all the other details but cannot remember who you phoned.” He maintained that Oscar Pistorius clearly did not want anybody to check up on the incident. Being shot at on the highway is “very serious,” said Nel. “Why did you not report it to the police?” Accusing Pistorius of not trusting the police and not being honest, Nel said “police investigate things and find things out,” which is why he should have reported the incident immediately.
Nel also reiterated the story about Oscar Pistorius being assaulted following a confrontation with former soccer (football) player Marc Batchelor at Sun City. Pistorius denied that he had threatened to break Batchelor’s legs and said he would never have said that because Batchelor “had many assault charges against him.” He said he went straight to Morningside Clinic after the assault, where he had stitches. He told the court he did not report the case to the police. Like all the other criminal incidents he claimed to be involved in, there was no need to do this.
By Penny Swift