Delayed start to Pistorius trial

2014-03-03 11:27
Oscar Pistorius stands in court. (Themba Hadebe, AP)

Oscar Pistorius stands in court. (Themba Hadebe, AP)

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Pretoria - Judge Thokozile Masipa was ready to begin the murder-trial of paralympian Oscar Pistorius in the North Gauteng High Court, a court official said at 11:15 on Monday.

The judge asked the official to apologise for the delay, and said the trial would get under way at 11:30.

"We are currently having a problem with language services," she said.

The case was meant to start at 10:00. By 10:30, case number cc113/13 had still not been called.

Three empty water glasses were placed on the judge's desk in front of the 13 legal brains gathered for Pistorius's moment of reckoning.

He turned around briefly and spoke to his uncle Arnold and winked and smiled at family members behind him, who included his brother Carl, almost a look-alike of himself.

Steenkamp's mother June sat behind him to the right, speaking only occasionally, glancing at him at the other side of the courtroom.

The front row of the public gallery was a sea of black. Most of those from the Steenkamp family wore black and only one woman in purple stood out.

People stood to stretch their legs while two policemen guarded the door through which Masipa will enter.

Previous appearances have been delayed by a woman named Annemarie who has parachuted herself in with an attempt to make submissions regarding Pistorius's mental health.

At 10:45 the lawyers suddenly left the court room and their banks of lever arch files, which customarily means they are about to meet the judge in chambers before the trial starts.

Pistorius came well-prepared for his murder trial. He had a notebook and pen and brought along a little green pillow to sit on in the dock.

Pistorius is charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his home in Pretoria on Valentine's Day last year and contravening the Firearms Control Act. He has said he thought she was an intruder when he shot her through a closed toilet door.

Read more on:    reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  pistorius trial

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