Judge grants Easter break in Oscar Pistorius trial

2014-04-16 10:53

The murder trial of Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius will break from tomorrow until May 5, Judge Thokozile Masipa told the high court in Pretoria.

She said today that the matter had initially been expected to run for three weeks but was now in its seventh week.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked for the postponement yesterday. He said that, among others, his colleague had another matter to attend to.

“There comes a time ... and this is it, where the diary becomes clogged up,” Nel said.

He indicated that with the long Easter weekend approaching, they had made personal arrangements that they would like to attend to.

Masipa urged counsel to continue working on their cases through the holiday.

“The record has almost 2 000 pages,” said Masipa, adding that most of it was technical evidence from expert witness.

She said she considered the possible prejudice Pistorius could face due to the postponement. But she concluded that he suffered no prejudice as he was out on bail and the adjournment would only be for seven working days.

Masipa added that she could not allow the May 7 elections to disrupt the trial.

Pistorius is accused of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. He shot her dead through the locked toilet door of his home on Valentine’s Day last year. He allegedly mistook her for an intruder.

But the state argues that Pistorius intentionally shot her after an argument.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act, one of the illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public. He has denied guilt on all the charges.

Today marked the 24th day of the trial.

Former police forensic analyst, Roger Dixon, was back on the stand. He started delivering his evidence-in-chief yesterday where he spoke about the abrasions on Steenkamp’s body.

Pistorius said he broke down the meranti toilet door using a cricket bat after realising that Steenkamp was behind it.

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