Oscar Pistorius' Murder Trial Has Become a Marathon

PHOTO: Oscar Pistorius listens to evidence being given in court, April 16, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa.
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Oscar Pistorius is a sprinter but his trial for the alleged murder of his lover has turned into a marathon.

The legless paralympian known as Blade Runner may not hear a verdict until July.

The trial recently resumed after a week long break after one of the judge's assistants became ill and today the trial judge granted a request by prosecutor Gerrie Nel for a two week break after the coming Easter weekend. Nel told the court members of his team have prior engagements with other court cases.

Oscar Pistorius Suffers Fresh Blow in Court Today

Judge Judge Thokozile Masipa in granting the request today told the lawyers she would not tolerate any further delays.

Pistorius, 27, is charged with the murder of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, 29, before dawn on Valentine's Day 2013. He claims that he mistook her for a burglar. The trial has riveted South Africa and is the first trial to be broadcast in part on television and in its entirety on radio.

When testimony resumes on May 5, Pistorius' defense lawyer Barry Roux will continue presenting evidence meant to prove Pistorius killed his lover in a tragic accident. Roux has indicated that he plans to call between 11 and 14 more witnesses and that he should conclude his case by May 16.

Once the defense rests, the trial is expected to be postponed as long six weeks to give both parties time to prepare written final arguments. These comprehensive documents outline exactly what each side's version is and how the evidence they presented support that version. The final arguments will be given to the other side as well as to the judge and her two assessors.

After that break, court reconvenes for what could be as little as a day to give both sides a chance to summarize, highlight and clarify issues for the judge and the assessors, who serve as assistants to the judge who will decide the verdict. South Africa does not have a jury system. The case will then be adjourned again to give the judge and assessors time to consider the verdict.

By mid to late July, a comprehensive judgment will be handed down by Masipa giving reasons for the findings. The reading of this written judgment could take a day or more.

Once the verdict has been passed - and in the event Pistorius is found guilty - a date will be set for sentencing proceedings to commence. Pistorius will have to bring a formal application to have his bail extended to allow him to remain out of prison while the next phase of the trial gets underway.

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