Forensic tests carried out by a defence expert witness for Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial are being rigorously challenged by the state prosecutor in Pretoria, South Africa.
Roger Dixon returned for cross-examination on Thursday, after taking the stand on Tuesday, in the wake of seven days of testimony from the sprinter.
Dixon’s sequence for the shots that killed Reeva Steenkamp contradicts that of a police ballistics witness and pathologist, says prosecutor Gerrie Nel.
The defence witness says he believes Miss Steenkamp was standing at an angle to the door and that all four bullets hit her as she fell to the ground.
Earlier in the trial, ballistics expert Captain Christiaan Mangena said he believed Ms Steenkamp was standing up facing the closed door when she was hit in the right hip.
He said she then fell back onto a magazine rack next to the toilet before three more bullets were fired at the door, one of which missed her.
It is believed that Mr. Dixon’s testimony challenges the state’s version that Miss Steenkamp would have had time to scream after the first bullet and that Mr. Pistorius then changed aim and continued firing.
He also told the court about light tests carried out in Mr Pistorius’ bedroom and sound tests of a cricket bat striking a door and bullets hitting a door.
But Mr Nel has sought to cast doubt on Mr Dixon’s credibility and qualifications as a forensics witness.
Dixon, who is the defence team’s second expert witness, is a geologist and university lecturer who worked as head of materials analysis at a police forensic laboratory in Pretoria for 18 years until 2012 and repeatedly said he was not a ballistics expert.
Mr. Pistorius denies intentinonally killing his girlfriend in the early hours of February 14, 2013, saying he mistook her for an intruder.
The prosecution says the 29-year-old model and law graduate’s murder was a deliberate action on the part of his boyfriend, with whom an argument had apparently ensued prior to the shooting.
The double amputee Olympic and Paralympic athlete faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder. The court could also consider an alternative charge of culpable homicide, for which he could receive about 15 years in prison.
The murder trial has been adjourned until Monday, 5th May, because of the Easter break.