Oscar won't testify first - lawyers

2014-04-02 05:30
Barry Roux and Oscar Pistorius in court. (Picture: Sapa)

Barry Roux and Oscar Pistorius in court. (Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius would most probably not be the first defence witness to take to the stand when his trial resumed next week, his lawyers said on Tuesday.

Pistorius stands accused of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in his Pretoria home on Valentine's Day last year.

The Paralympian, who fired four shots through a toilet door, killing her, claims he had mistaken her for an intruder.

The State argues it was premeditated murder.

It closed its case last Tuesday, after calling 21 witnesses from a list of 107, in 15 days, including Pistorius's ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor, his friends and several of his neighbours.

The defence will begin presenting its case in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Monday.

While the law states that the accused must be the defence's first witness if he chooses to take the stand, it is now expected that lawyers will ask for forensics expert Jan Botha to be allowed to testify before Pistorius.

"He [Botha] has personal reasons as to why he wants to testify first," lawyer Brian Webber said.

When, and if, Pistorius takes the stand, it will be the first time he speaks in public since the killing, besides pleading "not guilty, milady", and the occasional "yes, milady" to Judge Thokozile Masipa during his trial.

Pistorius does not have to testify, but his defence team has indicated it believes it will be in his interest to explain the night's events.

The trial, which had been adjourned for more than a week because a senior court official was ill, is now slated to run to at least mid-May.

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

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