Pistorius knew South African gun safety rules, court told

Mon Mar 17, 2014 7:53am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Siyabonga Sishi

PRETORIA (Reuters) - Double-amputee Olympian Oscar Pistorius, on trial for the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, was aware of South African firearms and self-defense laws that say you cannot shoot at an intruder unless your life is in danger, a court heard on Monday.

Testifying on day 11 of the trial, firearms instructor Sean Rens read out a gun license test passed by the track athlete, who shot dead Steenkamp through a locked toilet door at his Pretoria home on Valentine's Day last year.

One of the questions asked whether a home-owner was allowed to open fire on burglars on the other side of a security gate.

Pistorius answered: "No", Rens, who taught Pistorius gun safety and sold him weapons, told the court.

Asked in the test about the legal basis for using lethal force, Pistorius answered: "The attack must be against you, a person and be unlawful." In answer to another scenario, Pistorius replied: "No, life is not in danger."

Pistorius also made clear that a gun-owner should never shoot unless he was knew what he was shooting at, and what lay behind the target: "Know your target and what lies beyond," Rens said, quoting Pistorius' answer.

The Paralympic gold medalist, known as the "Blade Runner" on account of his carbon-fiber prostheses, denies the murder charge, saying he shot Steenkamp in a tragic accident after mistaking her, through the door, for a night-time intruder.

Rens also told the court of an incident, related to him by Pistorius, in which the athlete heard noises in his house and went into "code-red or combat mode" only to find the source of the disturbance was a washing machine.   Continued...

Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius takes notes as he sits in the dock during his trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, March 17, 2014. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko