Oscar Trial postponed until 7 April

By Kirstin Buick
28 March 2014

In a surprise announcement this morning, Judge Thokozile Masipa ruled to a packed courtroom that Oscar Pistorius's trial is postponed until 7 April, because one of the assessors in court is ill.

In a surprise announcement this morning, Judge Thokozile Masipa ruled to a packed courtroom that Oscar Pistorius's trial is postponed until 7 April, because one of the assessors in court is ill.

— Barry Bateman (@barrybateman) March 28, 2014   The public gallery was packed, as the media had anticipated Pistorius testifying in his own defence.   Judge Thokozile Masipa, however, walked into court followed by only one of her two assessors, Themba Mazibuko.

"We cannot proceed this morning. One of my assessors is not well so this court is not properly constituted," Masipa said.

The ill assessor was Janette Henzen du Toit.

Masipa postponed the matter to Monday April 7, which was meant to have been the court's recess week.

Neither prosecutor Gerrie Nel nor Barry Roux, for Pistorius, objected.

"We will make ourselves available to proceed with the matter on April 7," said Nel.   Brian Webber, one of Pistorius's lawyers, when asked outside the court whether he was disappointed by the postponement said: "There is nothing we can do about it. We can just wait". Journalists, in numbers not seen since the first week of Oscar's trial for murder, queued outside court GD of the High Court in Pretoria on Friday morning. The increased media attention followed speculation that the paralympic athlete would testify in his own defence in the fourth week of his trial.

— Aislinn Laing (@Simmoa) March 28, 2014 The postponement means that Oscar's trial will run concurrently with Shrien Dewani appearing in April.

— Mandy Wiener (@MandyWiener) March 28, 2014

Oscar is accused of the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse on February 14 last year.

Earlier this morning, a path was cleared through the throng for three members of the Meyers family, mother and two daughters, to make their way into the court room.

Reeva's friends all wore black and sported the same hairstyle and tense faces.

Warrant Officer Etsebeth and security guards had their hands full to prevent several people from bundling through the court's doors at the same time.

The last row of the public gallery, reserved for the public, was already full at 8.50am, 40 minutes before the start of the day's proceedings.

Outside court, as Oscar arrived, a woman shouted "ons is hier vir jou" (we are here for you). People cheered as he walked past.

He entered the court room alone through the side entrance and made his way to his seat in the dock as a photographer snapped pictures. He sat quietly and appeared to be looking at his cellphone.

Then he got up to speak to two members of his legal team, and accepted a mint from one of them, Rohan Kruger.

Reeva's mother June and Pistorius's lawyer Barry Roux arrived shortly before 9am.

Oscar has been charged with the murder of Steenkamp and contraventions of the Firearms Control Act.

He allegedly fired a shot from a Glock pistol under a table at a Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013.

On September 30, 2012 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

- Kirstin Buick & Sapa

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