Verdict finally in sight after four months of Pistorius murder trial

Frank Dalleres
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LAWYERS for Oscar Pistorius could close their case as soon as today, marking a significant step towards a verdict in the Paralympic star’s high-profile murder trial.

South African Pistorius shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp dead on Valentine’s Day last year but says he did so only after mistaking her for an intruder.

Defence lawyer Barry Roux told Judge Thokozile Masipa yesterday: “We plan to close the case.”

Pistorius’s trial was slated to last just three weeks when it began in early March, but the lengthy list of witnesses called to testify plus a four-week break while the athlete underwent psychological assessment have pushed it into a fourth month. A short interval while the prosecution and defence teams prepare their final arguments is expected next, before Judge Masipa prepares a verdict.

Pistorius, the first amputee runner to compete at an Olympic Games, faces possible life in prison if found guilty of premeditated murder, or up to 15 years if convicted of culpable homicide.

The 27-year-old shot model and law graduate Steenkamp through a toilet door in his Pretoria home during the early hours of 14 February 2013.

Australian television network Channel 7 has meanwhile denied that it employed illegal means to obtain footage of Pistorius taking part in a reconstruction, which it broadcast on Sunday.

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