A ballistics expert testified on Friday for the defence at the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius, saying his analysis of the scene where the Olympic athlete shot Reeva Steenkamp differs in some ways from the reconstruction of the shooting by police investigators.

The study of the sequence and trajectory of bullets that struck Steenkamp through a closed toilet door is at the centre of testimony over her body position at the time of the shooting, and also relates to the defence’s contention that police investigators made mistakes.

Police say Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and television personality, was cowering with her hands over her head when she was hit in the head by one of several bullets that struck her. But Wollie Wolmarans, a former police officer, testified for the defence that he did not believe Steenkamp’s left hand was over her head.

The painstaking debate over detail reflects the defence’s efforts to show that Steenkamp was not arguing with Pistorius after fleeing from him when she was shot as the prosecution contends and that she may have been about to open the toilet door when he opened fire.

Pistorius says he shot Steenkamp in his home on February 14, 2013, by mistake, fearing there was an intruder in his house. The prosecution says the double-amputee runner killed her intentionally.

On Friday, members of the women’s league of South Africa’s ruling party sat in the area of the gallery where friends and family of Steenkamp usually sit, showing their support for her camp.

More In: World | International | News