Pistorius: Fireworks today as Gerrie Nel cross examines Pistorius’s physician about startle responses and intentional acts

July 3, 2014

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Good morning:

The Thursday session has ended. The trial will resume Monday morning with Dr. William Derman back on the stand to undergo further cross examination by Gerrie Nel.

Lots of fireworks today with tempers flaring as Nel cross examined Dr. Derman regarding unintentional startle responses to sounds and intentional acts, such as pulling the trigger firing multiple shots. Specifically, he pressed Dr. Derman regarding the passage of time between being awakened by a noise in the bathroom and firing the shots.

Rebecca Davis of the Daily Maverick describes what happened,

“If there was only one startle, and the accused acted as he did…he would have acted outside the fight or flight response?” Nel asked. Derman replied that he wouldn’t be in a position to know this. Nel insisted that earlier Derman had said that there would need to be more than one startle.

“Because that’s what happened,” Derman replied (ie, that there were two further noises which evoked a startle response from Pistorius). In other words, Derman was strangely unwilling to entertain any possibilities outside of what Pistorius specified happened.

It’s been an extremely fractious session, characterized by hostile exchanges between Derman and Nel. On more than one occasion Derman asked Judge Masipa for assistance against Nel, but at least once Masipa instructed him to get on with answering Nel’s questions.

“If you cannot assist because you don’t know, just say you don’t know,” Masipa told Derman.

Well worth your time to watch this battle as the outcome may determine the final result of the trial.

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

As you watch the master in action, ask yourselves if Dr. Derman’s relationship with Oscar Pistorius has compromised his objectivity.

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