PRETORIA, South Africa April 2, 2014 -- Champion sprinter Oscar Pistorius will not be the first witness out of the blocks when the defense begins it case, receiving prosecution permission to delay his testimony, a move which may help the Blade Runner's defense.
Pistorius' attorney has said the legless paralympian will testify in his trial for the alleged murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. In South Africa legal precedent dictates that when a defendant agrees to take the stand, the defendant is expected to the first witness unless an application to have witnesses testify out of turn is approved by the court.
Brian Webber, Pistorius' attorney said it is likely that forensic pathologist Jan Botha will be called to the stand first when the trial resumes Monday. It's understood Botha cannot testify later during the trial and the prosecution has agreed to let him go first. The judge must still approve the delay, but she is not expected to oppose it since the prosecution has already agreed.
It's unclear whether Pistorius will take the stand after the pathologist.
Prominent defense attorney Roy Black told ABC News it would be in Pistorius' interest to testify later in the trial rather than earlier. "You always want (the) defendant testifying at the end, rather than at the beginning," Black said.
The prosecution claims Pistorius killed Steenkamp before dawn on Valentine's Day 2013 by firing through a locked bathroom door after a loud argument. Neighbors have testified they heard what sounded like shots, a woman screaming, then more shots. Pistorus claims he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder when he fired through the door.
Black said Pistorius will have to answer several questions when he testifies. "The most important part of his defense is to convince the court that he did not hear Reeva screaming after he began shooting," the lawyer said.
Ballistics and forensic experts testified for the prosecution that Steenkamp was standing behind the locked door when Pistorius fired four shots. The first shot hit her in the hip, with other shots hitting her in arm, hand and head, prosecution witnesses told the court.
Botha, a retired chief pathologist, is expected to refute this evidence. The defense claims Steenkamp was sitting on the toilet when Pistorius heard sounds and fired the shots.
Pistorius, 27, could be sentenced to at least 25 years in prison if convicted.