THE BLOG

Oscar Trial: A Comedy of Errors

17/04/2014 10:40 BST | Updated 17/04/2014 10:59 BST

Cringing in the courtroom was near-audible as an 'expert witness' for the defence was torn apart by the prosecution at the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius today.

'Forensic expert', Roger Dixon, stated: "It's a sign of success not to be called to court". However his lack of experience in a courtroom became his Achilles heel during cross-examination as the geologist was left stuttering whilst prosecutor Gerrie Nel effected a blow-by-blow attack on his credentials.

Tasked with reconstructing the crime scene, Mr Dixon claimed his experience in geology had given him the skills as an "expert witness" in the absence of any formal qualifications in ballistics, pathology or blood spatter.

Mr Dixon, who has a Bachelors degree in chemistry and a Master's degree in geology, confessed to being a 'layman' before going into great unnecessary detail about the gunshot wounds, trajectory of the bullets and wood ballistics from the scene where Reeva Steenkamp was shot and killed.

Bulldog Nel, effortlessly discredited the qualifications of Mr Dixon, who was called by the defence to bring into question the testimonies of state experts- forensic pathologist, Professor Gert Saayman and ballistics expert, Captain Mangena.

But after attacking the accuracy of Professor Gert Saayman's pathology report on the autopsy of 29-year-old Reeva Steenkamp, Mr Dixon was forced to concede he had not read the report in full.

Nel immediately pounced on him, asking: "Why would you come to the High Court when you did not even read that document?

"You see how irresponsible it is to try and be an expert when you are not?"

Mr Nel did not stop there in his attempts to expose the scientist's credibility (or lack thereof), asking: "How many post-mortem examinations have you attended?"

Mr Dixon replied: "I have only attended three in my life", paling in comparison to the 10,000+ that Prof Saayman has conducted.

Nel continued: "You are not a wounds ballistic expert, as is Professor Saayman. Are you willing to concede that he may know better?"

As it became clear the 'expert' was falling short of appropriate expertise, Dixon was forced to admit he had "never actually touched the socks" that Mr Pistorius had over his prostheses, despite categorically testifying they were the "only" fabric conducive with the white fibres on the door.

But the final laugh in the comedy of errors was Mr Dixon's admission it was a music producer, with no experience of recording gunshots, who'd been tasked with compiling the audio files of the gunshot and cricket bat tests.

Amidst sniggers in the courtroom, Roger Dixon said: "My part of that test was to wield the cricket bat."

The trial continues.