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Pistorius trial starts after delay

Oscar Pistorius, checks his mobile phone as he sits in the dock waiting for the proceedings of his murder trial to begin in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, March 18, 2014.(AP Photo/Werner Beukes, Pool)

PRETORIA: A police photographer who took pictures of the bloody scene of Reeva Steenkamp's shooting death continued his testimony at Oscar Pistorius' murder trial on Tuesday.

Warrant Officer Bennie van Staden took hundreds of photos of the scene, including of the blood marks, bullet casings and the gun found inside Pistorius' bathroom in the hours after the double-amputee athlete killed his girlfriend before dawn on Feb. 14 last year.

The policeman says he also took nine photographs of Pistorius soon after the shooting, with the athlete seen in some of the images standing in blood-stained prosthetic legs and wearing blood-soaked shorts in the garage of his home.

Pistorius, 27, is charged with premeditated murder for killing Steenkamp, 29. He pleaded not guilty to murder and says he shot his girlfriend accidentally thinking she was an intruder in a toilet cubicle in the bathroom.

Van Staden was being cross-examined for the second day by chief defense lawyer Barry Roux on details of when and where he took some photos and what he moved at Pistorius' home.

Van Staden's testimony continued after the start of Tuesday's proceedings was delayed by over an hour to give the policeman time to collect records and discs relating to the photos. Van Staden was asked by the defense Monday to produce discs containing master copies of photographs. The defense also requested results of gunshot residue tests conducted on Pistorius by van Staden.

The police photographer's testimony followed that of a firearm instructor who said that Pistorius was trying to buy seven more guns in addition to the 9 mm pistol the runner had licensed for self-defense and which he used to kill Steenkamp. One of the other guns Pistorius wanted was the civilian version of a semi-automatic assault rifle used by the South African police, Sean Rens testified.

Pistorius claims he shot Steenkamp through the toilet door in his upstairs bathroom because he feared she was a dangerous intruder during the night and his life was under threat. Firearm trainer Rens told how Pistorius correctly answered questions relating to when he was allowed to shoot his gun in self-defense, with the prosecution using that testimony to attempt to show how Pistorius flouted gun regulations he should have known when he killed Steenkamp.

 

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