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Pistorius trial extended to May 16: court

Published on 23/03/2014

The murder trial of Paralympian Oscar Pistorius for shooting dead his girlfriend has been extended until May 16, the South African court hearing the case said Sunday.

The trial, which enters its fourth week on Monday, will continue until April 4, then break for a recess before resuming from April 14 until May 16, the court in Pretoria announced in a statement.

It said “all parties involved” had agreed to the dates.

Pistorius, 27, claims he shot 29-year-old Reeva Steenkamp, a model and law graduate, through a locked toilet door in his upmarket Pretoria home after mistaking her for an intruder.

But the state has charged him with premeditated murder, arguing that he fired at Steenkamp in a fit of rage during an argument on Valentine’s Day 2013.

The highly publicised trial, which began March 3, had originally been expected to end March 20, after just three weeks. But after 13 days of hearings, the court has heard only 18 witnesses.

The prosecution has provided a list of 107 witnesses — who probably will not all be heard — while the defence also needs time to cross-examine them.

Pistorius is also expected to be questioned by both the defence and prosecution.

An extension of seven weeks is however surprising, as prosecutor Gerrie Nel said Wednesday before the trial was adjourned that he had no more than four or five witnesses to call to the stand.