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  • 28 March 2014, 10:23

Pistorius Murder Trial Adjourned Over Illness

The trial of Oscar Pistorius has been adjourned until April after one of the judge's assessors was taken ill.

The courtroom in Pretoria had been packed in anticipation of the athlete's first day in the witness box but proceedings will now continue on April 7.

Pistorius' brother Carl and his sister Aimee were both in the public gallery expecting to hear their brother give evidence when news of the adjournment was announced.

Judge Thokozile Masipa told the court: "We cannot proceed this morning and we're also not sitting next week.

"One of my assessors is unwell, so this court is not properly constituted. I suggest we postpone this matter until April 7."

South Africa does not have a jury system, and two assessors help the judge reach a decision.

The prosecution has wrapped up its case and both sides have agreed to an extension of the trial until mid-May.

Just 18 of 107 possible witnesses were heard during the first three weeks of the trial, which is being held in Pretoria.

During the prosecution's case, the court heard about text messages Ms Steenkamp sent to Pistorius, in which she wrote: "I am sometimes scared of you."

An emotional message from Ms Steenkamp sent on January 27 last year accused Pistorius of picking on her "incessantly".