UK & World News

  • 24 March 2014, 6:19

Oscar Pistorius Trial Extended Until Mid-May

The Oscar Pistorius murder trial has been extended until the middle of May.

The trial was expected to last three weeks but will enter week four on Monday with prosecutors yet to conclude their case.

Now "all parties" have consented to a sizeable extension.

Pistorius claims he shot dead his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, 29, after mistaking her for an intruder on Valentine's Day 2013.

Prosecutors argue the shots fired through a bathroom door were part of a pre-meditated murder.

They are expected to start bringing their case to a conclusion this week before the court adjourns for a recess on April 4.

The trial will resume on April 14 until May 16.

A total of 107 witnesses could be called - but the court has heard from just 18 in the 13 days so far.

Pistorius must still be questioned by both the prosecution and defence.

The trial's extension comes as a South African legal expert claimed a strong case for murder had been made by the state over the past three weeks.

"Suddenly what we have is Oscar Pistorius firing at Reeva Steenkamp while her hands are covering her head while she's screaming in the toilet, and that's murder," said Marius du Toit, a former state prosecutor involved in scores of murder cases.

"There's definitely a golden thread here. A golden thread of someone who was screaming and who was shot.

"The objective facts, which are the injuries she sustained, coupled with the expert opinion, tied with your circumstantial evidence presented by witnesses.

"And if that ties up with one another then Oscar has got a major problem."

Mr du Toit believes Pistorius' own evidence will be key for the defence.

"The only question is whether there was intent and intent is subjective," Mr du Toit said.

"That means the accused must come and dispel that. Oscar is definitely going to be the key, but I wonder if it's going to be good for him."

South African trials do not have juries and the verdict and any sentence will be decided by Judge Thokozile Masipa, assisted by two assessors.

If found guilty Pistorius faces a minimum of 15 years in jail.

The 27-year-old is a double amputee who has six Paralympic medals and competed in the London Olympics.

Advertisement