الثلاثاء , يونيو 9 2020

Pistorius closing arguments to begin

 Oscar Pistorius in court in Pretoria (April 2014)If found guilty of murder, Mr Pistorius, 27, could face life imprisonment

The murder trial of South African athlete Oscar Pistorius is set to resume for closing arguments after months of courtroom evidence closely followed by domestic and world media.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel will be the first to make concluding comments. The defence is due to follow on Friday.

Mr Pistorius denies murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

He says he mistook her for an intruder, but the prosecution says he deliberately shot her after a row.

Ms Steenkamp was killed at Mr Pistorius’ home in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria, on 14 February last year.

State prosecutor Gerrie Nel (April 2014)Correspondents say the proceedings will be a final showdown between two of the country’s top legal minds, with Gerrie Nel representing the prosecution

Barry Roux, defence lawyer for murder accused, Oscar Pistorius (April 2014)Oscar Pistorius’s lawyer, Barry Roux, is expected to follow Thursday’s proceedings with his closing arguments on Friday

File photo: Oscar Pistorius (right) and his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp pose for a picture in Johannesburg, 7 February 2013Mr Pistorius and his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp had been dating for three months before the fatal shooting

The Olympic sprinter’s murder trial was adjourned last month for the closing arguments to start.

Showdown

BBC Africa correspondent Andrew Harding says that Mr Nel will explain in detail why he believes he has proved that Mr Pistorius deliberately murdered his girlfriend.

Our correspondent says that the evidence of neighbours and forensic experts will be important – but the athlete’s own testimony is crucial.

The prosecution is convinced he gave conflicting accounts of how and why the double amputee shot Ms Steenkamp four times through his toilet door.

Judge Thokozile Masipa – a subdued presence so far – is now likely to intervene more and her questions could well provide hints about a future verdict.

Oscar Pistorius’s lawyer, Barry Roux, is expected to follow with his closing arguments on Friday.

Correspondents say the proceedings will be a final showdown between two of the country’s top legal minds.

Judge Masipa is expected to adjourn the trial after hearing the arguments to consider her ruling, a process that analysts say will take in between a week to a month.

There is no jury.

The defence will present a detailed timeline of events – and will seek to show that a disabled, panicking man convinced an intruder had broken into his home – made a terrible mistake.

If found guilty of murder, the 27-year-old, who went on trial on 3 March, could face life imprisonment.

If he is acquitted of that charge, the court will consider an alternative charge of culpable homicide, for which he could – if convicted – receive about 15 years in prison.

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