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Oscar Pistorius trial: witness says Pistorius asked friend to take the rap for a firearms offence

4 years ago13 views

Originally published on March 5, 2014

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On day three of South African star athlete Oscar Pistorius' murder trial, a witness testified that Pistorius asked a friend to take the rap for him when he accidentally discharged a gun at an upscale Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013, a month before he killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Professional boxer Kevin Lerena told the trial that he was having dinner with Pistorius and two other people at Tashas restaurant when the incident occurred. One of the four people at the table, Darren Fresco, handed a gun to Pistorius under the table, telling him there was "one up," meaning a round was in the chamber.

"A shot went off. Then there was just complete silence," Lerena said. "I looked down at the floor and exactly where I looked down, where my foot was, there was a hole in the floor." "I had a little graze on my toe, but I wasn't hurt," Lerena added.

Lerena said Pistorius apologised to everyone and made sure they had not been hurt, then asked Fresco to take the blame because there was "'too much media hype around me'," Lerena quoted Pistorius as saying.

When the restaurant owners confronted the part, Fresco said it was he who had discharged the gun.

Lerena was testifying in relation to a lesser charge brought against Pistorius of discharging a weapon in a public place. The primary charge is the murder of his girlfriend, model and reality TV star Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day 2013.

The prosecution says Pistorius deliberately shot her after the pair had an argument and she locked herself in the toilet. Pistorius said he fired in self-defense after he mistook her for a home intruder who had entered through the bathroom window.

The Olympic and Paralympic track star was born without fibulae in both legs, which were amputated halfway between the knees and ankles when he was 11 months old. In 2003 he shattered his knee while playing rugby on prosthetic limbs and took up running while undergoing rehabilitation.

He reached the 2012 Olympic 400-metre semi-final running on carbon-fibre "blades", for which he was given the nickname "Bladerunner".

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