Oscar Pistorius trial postponed until April 7
Oscar Pistorius trial in Pretoria has been postponed until April 7 as one of the assessors assisting the judge has been taken ill.
The defense in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius had been expected to take place on Friday.
The trial has already heard 15 days of prosecution-led testimony.
Oscar Pistorius, 27, denies deliberately shooting his 29-year-old girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in February 2013, saying he mistook her for an intruder.
Prosecutors allege that the athlete killed Reeva Steenkamp after an argument.
Judge Thokozile Masipa announced that one of the assessors is ill and suggested the date of April 7 to resume the trial. The prosecution and defense teams agreed to the postponement.
Under South African law, there is no jury system and two assessors help the judge reach a decision.
Although Oscar Pistorius is not legally obliged to testify, he is the only witness to the alleged murder and is expected to testify when the trial restarts.
His lawyers had previously told journalists that it was “likely” they would call him to give evidence first.
Prosecution testimony has relied on accounts from neighbors and specialist ballistics, forensic and mobile phone evidence.
The defense had been due to address key questions, in particular:
- Allegations from witnesses that Oscar Pistorius was reckless with guns and had fired a pistol indiscriminately on two occasions in the past
- Why he didn’t check the whereabouts of Reeva Steenkamp when he feared an intruder was in the house
- Why, as a person used to handling weapons, he didn’t fire a warning shot
Reeva Steenkamp, a model, reality TV celebrity and law graduate, was hit by four bullets while in the toilet cubicle of Oscar Pistorius’ home in Pretoria.
People who were in the area on the night of the shooting have told the court they heard screams, shots and bangs.
However, Oscar Pistorius has said he believed Ms Steenkamp was in bed when he shot at the toilet door, thinking an intruder was about to attack them.
Oscar Pistorius is a double amputee who holds six Paralympic medals and competed in the 2012 Olympic Games.
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