28 March 2014

South Africa: Oscar Trial Postponed

Pretoria — What had promised to be a gripping morning in court on Friday fizzled out when Oscar Pistorius's trial was postponed to April 7 by the High Court in Pretoria.

The public gallery was packed, as the media had anticipated Pistorius testifying in his own defence.

He is accused of the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse on February 14 last year.

Judge Thokozile Masipa, however, walked into court followed by only one of her two assessors, Themba Mazibuko.

"We cannot proceed this morning. One of my assessors is not well so this court is not properly constituted," Masipa said.

The ill assessor was Janette Henzen du Toit.

Masipa postponed the matter to Monday April 7, which was meant to have been the court's recess week.

Neither prosecutor Gerrie Nel nor Barry Roux, for Pistorius, objected.

"We will make ourselves available to proceed with the matter on April 7," said Nel.

Brian Webber, one of Pistorius's lawyers, when asked outside the court whether he was disappointed by the postponement said: "There is nothing we can do about it. We can just wait".

Pistorius has been charged with the murder of Steenkamp and contraventions of the Firearms Control Act. He allegedly fired a shot from a Glock pistol under a table at a Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013.

On September 30, 2012 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

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