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Oscar Pistorius Lawyer Unveils O.J. Simpson Defense Tactics

Olympian Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp (inset).

Olympian Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp (inset).

Oscar Pistorius’s lawyer gave a glimpse of a possible defense strategy in a new hearing today (Feb. 20) into the death of model and actress Reeva Steenkamp. It looks remarkably like O.J. Simpson’s successful defense plan in his murder trial.

Some parallels have been drawn between Steenkamp’s murder and the deaths in June 1994 of Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and a friend Ron Goldman.

Both cases involve celebrity athletes and both must rely largely on circumstantial evidence. There are no witnesses, other than Pistorius himself, to explain what happened. Likewise, there were no witnesses in the Simpson case.

Simpson’s defense team included flamboyant lawyer Johnnie Cochran, F. Lee Bailey, Robert Shapiro, Alan Dershowitz, Robert Kardashian, Carl E. Douglas and Gerald Uelmen, the dean of law at Santa Clara University.

Their legal strategy was simple: Attack the police. They accused investigating officers of fraud, manufacturing evidence and sloppy internal procedures that contaminated crucial evidence.

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In today’s bail hearing, lawyer Barry Roux took an identical tack. He repeatedly questioned police investigative procedures and challenged their preliminary findings in an effort to pick apart the prosecution’s case.

A key element is one or more witnesses who claimed they heard shouting and arguing at Pistorius’s mansion two hours before the fatal shooting on Valentine’s Day.

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But Roux charged that one witness lived about 600 meters, or just over a third of a mile, from the house. Another witness, he said, could not identify the voices.

Police were caught flat-footed and acknowledged they had not measured the distance yet, acoording to South Africa’s News 24.

On the night in question, Roux asserted that only Pistorius was screaming, not Steenkamp. Roux also said Pistorius was sleeping on the left side of the bed away from balcony doors, not facing them as he usually did, “because of the pain in his shoulder.”

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Roux also got the investigating officer, Hilton Botha to acknowledge that the evidence was also consistent with Pistorius’s explanation of the shooting.

“I can’t say because I have not seen all the forensic statements, but I would say the applicant’s version is consistent with the evidence.”

The prosecution has argued that Pistorius knew Steenkamp was in the bathroom fired through the closed door and hit her three times.

Roux also questioned how the police handled .38 caliber ammunition found in the house. Pistorius was not licensed to own a .38 caliber gun, making possession of the ammunition illegal.

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But police never tried to establish ownership of the ammunition and allowed a photographer to handle it. He argued the ammunition belonged to the Olympian’s father.

The police officer also conceded under questioning that there was no evidence Pistorius, a double amputee attached his legs before the shooting, which would weigh against claims he was startled from his sleep by an intruder.

Investigators also failed to discover a bullet that had fallen into the toilet, raising questions about the proficiency of their investigation.

Roux also argued that police had no evidence the gunshots were fired at close range. And, they could not prove Pistorius was aiming at the toilet, where Steenkamp sat, cowering.


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