Oscar Pistorius Trial Resumes After Break

PHOTO: Oscar Pistorius is pictured in court in Pretoria, South Africa on April 17, 2014.
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The defense team for Oscar Pistorius will try to salvage the case this week when his high profile trial resumes this week in the High Court in Pretoria.

The case stood down for just over two weeks to accommodate the Easter Weekend and several other public holidays in South Africa, and will be disrupted by another public holiday on Wednesday, when South Africans go to the polls to vote.

Pistorius is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year. The State alleges he fired four shots through a locked bathroom door during a violent argument, but the double amputee sprinter insists it was a case of mistaken identity. He claims he acted in self defense, as he thought there was one or more intruders in his home.

When the case resumes Monday, the defense is expected to continue to call witnesses to support this version.

It is expected that ballistics expert Tom "Wollie" Wolmarans, will be the next witness to testify. Wolmarans, a retired SAPS forensics expert, is widely recognised as one of the best in the field.

Before the case was postponed, prosecutor Gerrie Nel attacked the credibility and competence of defense witness Roger Dixon, who did sound tests to support claims that when witnesses thought they were hearing gunshots, it was in fact Pistorius trying to break down the bathroom door with a cricket bat.

Dixon also did visibility tests in Pistorius' bedroom, but conceded he did not use any equipment but relied solely on his eyes.

Despite the fact that he is a geologist and admitted he's neither a ballistics expert, nor a wound or blood spatter expert or a medical specialist, Dixon's testimony contradicted key elements in the evidence of the State's pathologist and ballistics expert -- prompting Nel, who has been named "the Bull Terrier" by the South African media, to question his integrity.

Nel also tore into Pistorius at the start of his barbed cross examination, showing him graphic images of Steenkamp's head wound, while insisting that he take responsibility for killing the model.

"It's time that you look at it. Take responsibility for what you've done, Mr Pistorius," he said. "Say it. Say I shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp"

Although an exact time frame for the trial is not yet clear, Pistorius' defense advocate, Barry Roux, has indicated he hopes to wrap up his case by May 16.

The trial will then be adjourned to give both sides time to prepare written final arguments, parts of which they will highlight when court resumes.

After that, the case will see another postponement to give Judge Thokozile Masipa and her two assessors time to consider a verdict. That judgement is expected to be delivered toward the end of July.

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