Pistorius murder trial set to resume


The murder trial of Oscar Pistorius is set to resume after a two-week break, with his defence team continuing its case.

More expert witnesses will be called as the athlete’s lawyer seeks to challenge the state’s claim that Mr Pistorius deliberately killed his girlfriend.

Mr Pistorius denies intentionally killing Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day last year.

He says he shot through a toilet door after mistaking her for an intruder.

The trial was adjourned on 17 April for an Easter break after Mr Pistorius and two expert witnesses had given evidence for the defence.

The athlete faced several days of cross-examination from the state prosecutor Gerrie Nel, who accused him of using emotional outbursts “as an escape”.

The BBC’s Andrew Harding in Pretoria says the athlete’s defence team is likely to call on his neighbours and a ballistics expert next.

A psychologist is also expected to be called to speak about Mr Pistorius’ disability and his acute sense of vulnerability, our correspondent adds.

The prosecution has sought to show a pattern of reckless behaviour by the athlete and has argued that a reasonable man would have checked before firing four bullets through a locked door.

If found guilty, the 27-year-old – a national sporting hero and double amputee dubbed the “blade runner” because of the prosthetic limbs he wears to race – could face life imprisonment.

If Mr Pistorius is acquitted of murder, the court must consider an alternative charge of culpable homicide, for which he could receive about 15 years in prison.

He also faces charges of illegally firing a gun in public and of illegally possessing ammunition, both of which he denies.

There are no juries at trials in South Africa, and his fate will ultimately be decided by the judge, assisted by two assessors.


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