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PRETORIA, South Africa - Police photographs of the blood-spattered scene where Oscar Pistorius shot dead his girlfriend indicate that evidence was moved during the investigation, the athlete's chief defense lawyer said Tuesday.
Warrant officer Bennie van Staden took hundreds of photos of the scene inside Pistorius' bathroom in the hours after the double-amputee Olympic runner shot law graduate Reeva Steenkamp before dawn on Feb. 14 last year.
In a sometimes painstaking process Tuesday, lawyer Barry Roux minutely examined many photos taken by van Staden and another police officer and pointed out that objects at the crime scene had been moved and were in different positions in photos. Roux also used time of day records on the images to show that the two policemen taking photographs were in the same room at points, even though van Staden testified he was working alone.
Roux compared photos of the bloody bathroom scene taken by van Staden with photos in the bathroom taken by another policeman, identified as a Col. Motha. Both were in the bathroom at that time, according to the times shown on the images.
"You did not see Col. Motha?" Roux asked van Staden, who replied he did not.
"How big is this bathroom?" Roux said.
Maybe missing the hint of sarcasm in Roux's question, van Staden said the bathroom was approximately four meters by four meters.
Two other photos of objects on the bedroom floor next to Pistorius' bed showed tissues, what was identified as a CD or disc and a remote control were in different positions. Van Staden said he did not know who moved them, but he remembered the disc was previously under the bed.
"How does it happen that there's such a great disturbance of that scene?" Roux asked.
Roux was trying to build a picture of a cluttered and confused crime scene with many officers working on it and possibly contaminating the evidence.
Pistorius, 27, is charged with premeditated murder for killing Steenkamp, 29. He denies murder and says he shot his girlfriend accidentally, thinking she was an intruder.
Prosecutors charge that Pistorius killed Steenkamp after an argument.
The trial continues.