Oscar Pistorius defense rests; trial adjourned until August

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius is seen in the dock after arriving at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on the fourth day of his murder trial Thursday, 6 March 2014. Pistorius is accused of shooting dead his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA/Pool

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius is seen in the dock after arriving at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on the fourth day of his murder trial Thursday, 6 March 2014. Pistorius is accused of shooting dead his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA/Pool

LONDON — The defense in the Oscar Pistorius murder case rested Tuesday, bringing to an end the latest phase of a trial which has lasted longer than the athlete’s relationship with Reeva Steenkamp, the girlfriend he killed.

Closing arguments will begin August 7, the judge ordered.

The long delay may be because of the length of time it will take the legal teams on both sides to review the transcript of the case, CNN legal analyst Kelly Phelps said.

It’s thought to be as much as 4,000 pages long, covering a case that ran for 39 days between March 3 and July 8.

Pistorius, 27, admits firing the bullets that killed Steenkamp, but he says he mistakenly thought he was defending himself from an intruder. Prosecutors say the two had an argument and he deliberately murdered the model and law school graduate, who was 29.

Following closing arguments, the judge will have to decide whether Pistorius genuinely made a mistake or deliberately murdered his girlfriend.

If Judge Thokozile Masipa does not believe the athlete thought there was an intruder, she will find him guilty of murder and sentence him to a prison term ranging from 15 years to life. South Africa does not have the death penalty.

If Masipa accepts that Pistorius did not know that Steenkamp was the person he was shooting at, she could find him guilty of culpable homicide, a lesser charge than murder, or acquit him, according to Phelps, the CNN legal analyst.

A verdict of culpable homicide would leave the sentence at Masipa’s discretion.

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1 Comment

  • Mark Stabler

    Apparently the United States is not the only Country with a dysfunctional court system. There have been more days on break in this trial than spent actually trying the case. If every case was handled in this manner it would take 10 years for a case to come to court for trial. Heck, it sometimes takes three (3) or more years for a defendants murder trial to start here in the US. And they call Justice swift and sure.

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