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Pistorius Trial Nears End as Both Sides Prepare Final Arguments

Image: Pistorius Trial Nears End as Both Sides Prepare Final Arguments

By    |   Monday, 07 Jul 2014 01:53 PM

The high-profile trial of Oscar Pistorius, the 27-year-old South African Paralympian accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will progress to the final arguments phase after the defense's last witness took the stand this week.

The witness, a physician who has treated the athlete for years, completed his testimony on Monday. It is expected to lead to a break during which the defense and prosecution prepare final arguments as the legal battle moves toward a conclusion.

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Barry Roux, the chief defense lawyer, indicated that he would wrap up on Tuesday morning after final consultations with his team, The Associated Press reported.

"We plan to close the case," Roux told Judge Thokozile Masipa.

Pistorius has said he fatally shot Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, through a closed toilet door after thinking there was an intruder in his home. The prosecution says Pistorius fatally shot Steenkamp after a Valentine's Day argument last year.

Earlier Wednesday, chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel said the last defense witness, physician Wayne Derman, could not be objective about the double-amputee runner because he was too familiar with the Paralympian, having treated him over many years and traveled with him extensively.

Derman had testified that Pistorius had an anxious nature linked to his disability, bolstering the defense case that the runner's allegedly deep sense of vulnerability was a factor in the killing because, according to his version, he believed he was under threat.

Under questioning, Derman acknowledged that his testimony did not amount to a "forensic report" but disputed Nel's assertion that he could not be objective.

On Sunday, an Australian broadcaster showed video footage of Pistorius participating in a re-enactment of how he says events unfolded on the night he killed Steenkamp. In the video, Pistorius is seen walking on his stumps with an arm outstretched and fist clenched, as though holding a gun. It also shows Pistorius carrying a woman. It is unclear where the re-enactment was filmed.

The broadcast by Channel Seven prompted criticism from a lawyer for Pistorius who said the re-enactment was made with the help of a U.S.-based company last year as part of the defense team's trial preparations. The video has not been shown at the trial, and it was not mentioned in court on Monday.

Pistorius, who is free on bail, faces 25 years to life in prison if found guilty of premeditated murder, but he could also be sentenced to a shorter prison term if convicted of murder without premeditation or negligent killing. Additionally, he faces separate gun-related charges.

Pistorius was born without fibulas, the slender bones that run from below the knee to the ankle. His lower legs were amputated when he was 11 months old.

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The high-profile case of Oscar Pistorius, the 27-year-old South African Paralympian accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will progress to the final arguments phase after the defense's last witness took the stand this week.
pistorius, trial, nears, end
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2014-53-07
Monday, 07 Jul 2014 01:53 PM
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