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Pistorious: Defence argues his innocence on murder charge

Oscar Pistorius’s defence team gets its chance on Friday to argue that he is innocent of murdering his model girlfriend, a day after the prosecution described him as a liar.

Pistorius, a Paralympian known as the “Blade Runner” for his prosthetic legs, was a “deceitful” witness, prosecutor Gerrie Nel said in his final arguments in the five-month trial.

Pistorius’s efforts to concoct an alibi had led to a “snowball effect” of lies requiring more lies to back them up, Nel said.

The athlete says he killed Reeva Steenkamp by firing four shots through a locked toilet door after mistaking her for an intruder in his upmarket Pretoria home on the night of Valentine’s Day last year.

The prosecution argues that he deliberately killed her after an argument.

Nel addressed the court for most of the day on Thursday before the defence had a brief opportunity to outline the counter-arguments it will present on Friday.

Lawyer Barry Roux indicated that he would focus on the timeline of events the night of the shooting, from disputed sounds of gunshots and equally disputed sounds of screams heard by neighbours.

Pistorius, a double-amputee who rose to international fame when he competed alongside able-bodied runners at the 2012 London Olympics, has at times sat weeping and vomiting in the dock as grisly details of Steenkamp’s death were presented.

He faces 25 years in jail if he is convicted of premeditated murder. He also faces three separate gun-related charges.

Even if he is not found guilty of premeditated murder, Pistorius could still be convicted and jailed on alternative charges of culpable homicide.