Monday, April 7, 2014

Bulletin: Oscar Pistorius: Defence pathologist Jan Botha disputes prosecution's time of death based on "gastric emptying." Botha testified that determining the time of death through gastric emptying is guesswork, calling it a "highly controversial and inexact science". BBC News.

STORY: "Oscar Pistorius apologises for killing Reeva Steenkamp," published by BBC News on April 7, 2014.

GIST: Earlier, the athlete's defence team called on pathologist Jan Botha as its first witness. Mr Botha, a private pathologist who said he has carried out about 25,000 autopsies, was asked about gastric emptying and calculating Ms Steenkamp's time of death. Earlier in the trial, the state called forensic pathologist Gert Saayman who said vegetable matter in Ms Steenkamp's stomach suggested she had eaten around two hours prior to her death, which contradicted Mr Pistorius' version of events. Mr Botha disputed this conclusion, saying that determining the time of death through gastric emptying is guesswork, calling it a "highly controversial and inexact science". Prosecutor Gerrie Nel was fierce in his cross-examination of Mr Botha and sought to suggest that his evidence was unreliable since he did not attend Ms Steenkamp's autopsy and worked from photographs.  Mr Pistorius sobbed loudly in court as Ms Steenkamp's injuries were described. The pathologist accepted that he was "not a ballistician" after appearing to contradict the state's account of the sequence of shots that killed Ms Steenkamp. But he insisted he was not there to "win the case for either the defence or the prosecution" after being accused by Mr Nel of making his findings fit with the defence case. "I'm here to assist the court," Mr Botha said."

The entire story can be found at:


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