Defence team wraps up case in Oscar Pistorius murder trial
Court adjourns for a month to allow the legal teams to prepare and submit their closing arguments
Reuters in Pretoria, Associated Press in Johannesburg
Oscar Pistorius’ defence team wrapped up its case in the murder trial of the Olympic and Paralympic athlete on Tuesday and the court adjourned for a month to allow the legal teams to prepare and submit their closing arguments.
Final arguments are scheduled for August 7-8.
Lawyer Barry Roux said he had finished calling witnesses to testify in the trial of Pistorius, who killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by firing through a closed toilet door in his home.
“We close the case for the defence,” said Roux. Some witnesses did not want to testify for the defence because of publicity surrounding the case, he said, adding that he chose not to ask Judge Thokozile Masipa to compel them to appear.
“There’s nothing that we can do about it,” he said in the wood-lined, Pretoria courtroom where the trial of the double-amputee runner has been held since March.
Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel said the prosecution will file closing arguments on July 30 and the defence will do so on August 4. He and Roux agreed to return to court on August 7 to give final arguments before Masipa.
Pistorius says he killed Steenkamp by mistake, thinking an intruder was in the toilet and about to attack him. The prosecution says he shot her after a Valentine’s Day argument last year.
Pistorius, who is free on bail, faces 25 years to life in prison if found guilty of premeditated murder, but he could also be sentenced to a shorter prison term if convicted of murder without premeditation or negligent killing. Additionally, he faces separate gun-related charges.
Pistorius was born without fibulas, the slender bones that run from below the knee to the ankle. Part of his lower legs were amputated when he was 11 months old.