THE BLOG

Ex-Police Commander Fuels Pistorius' Defence Argument

14/03/2014 12:56 GMT | Updated 14/03/2014 12:59 GMT

Missing evidence, gloveless forensic experts and coached statements of police officials, could be the key to a 'not guilty' verdict for Oscar Pistorius.

The murder trial of the Olympic sprinter has so far heard overwhelming evidence of inconsistencies in his version of events on the night he shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp.

But the defence's key argument of an 'unreliable crime scene' has quickly been realised with Colonel Van Rensburg's damning testimony of shoddy police work and contaminated evidence

Until this morning it was beginning to seem like the blade runner's fate was sealed- cue, the colonel.

Defence lawyer Barry Roux was revelling in Van Rensburg's testimony as the former police commander recalled the bare-handed ballistic expert holding Pistorius' gun, saying: "I asked, what are you doing, and he said, 'I'm sorry'."

An astonishing mistake of a so-called 'expert'- surely you only need to have seen one detective programme in the last 20 years to realise gloveless handling of evidence is a no-go.

And that's not the only jaw-dropping revelation from this morning.

The colonel also admitted to being "assisted" in his original statement by Hilton Botha, the former lead detective in the investigation, who resigned amidst charges of attempted murder on another case.

Roux suggested Botha had filled in the gaps and corrected Van Rensburg, saying: "You have their assistance if you say something wrong." To which the colonel responded: "That's correct."

Van Rensburg went on to describe his fury at one of the blade runner's expensive watches going missing from the scene.

The colonel then attempted to explain why he kept the bathroom door, a crucial piece of forensic evidence, in a body bag leant against the wall in his office, giving the flimsy excuse: "The evidence room was full."

It seemed to be one major fail after another.

Van Rensburg's damning testimony could be just a simple attempt to exonerate himself from the increasingly-evident carelessness at the crime scene.

Or maybe he's just a man with an axe to grind after resigning from his role as police station commander.

Whatever the reason for his whistle-blow account of contaminated evidence, a trampled crime scene and unethical statement coaching, there's no getting away from the fact his testimony has given a new dimension to what was quickly developing into an open and shut case.

The trial continues.