UK & World News

  • 28 March 2014, 6:20

Pistorius May Testify As Defence Case Opens

Oscar Pistorius may take the stand to answer questions about his girlfriend's death, as the athlete's defence team opens its case.

The Paralympian is accused of the premeditated murder of Reeva Steenkamp, but says he mistook her for an intruder and shot her by mistake.

He is also accused of illegally possessing ammunition and two further counts related to shooting a gun in public in separate incidents prior to the killing.

The 27-year-old denies all the charges against him.

Pistorius' testimony is set to be crucial to his defence as it allows Judge Thokozile Masipa and her two assessors to determine his credibility.

If Pistorius does take the stand, it will open him up to cross-examination by prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

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 accusedPistorius of picking on her "incessantly".

Pistorius faces a minimum of 15 years in jail if he is found guilty.

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