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Pistorius trial to begin in March


TSHWANE — The trial of Olympic and Paralympic running star Oscar Pistorius, accused of murdering his model girlfriend, will start on March 3 next year in a South African high court and run until March 23, a magistrate judge said yesterday.


Looking subdued, the 26-year-old double amputee walked into the Pretoria court wearing a black suit and light blue shirt, and started praying with his sister Aimee and brother Carl, holding hands with them and crying.

Pistorius was back in the dock for a procedural hearing six months after shooting dead Reeva Steenkamp in the bathroom of his upmarket Pretoria home on Valentine’s Day.

The platinum blonde cover girl and law graduate, who died with gunshot wounds to the head, elbow and hip, would have turned 30 yesterday.

Pistorius, who is out on bail and faces a life sentence if found guilty, has denied murder, saying he shot Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door because he believed she was an intruder.

Prosecutors are expected to unveil a 10-page indictment for premeditated murder against the “Blade Runner”, according to sources close to the investigation.

Pistorius may receive two further charges of discharging a gun in public as the State tries to cast him as aggressive and trigger-happy, according to local media reports.

Pistorius allegedly fired a gun through the sunroof of an ex-girlfriend’s car, and earlier this year reportedly discharged a gun by accident at a Johannesburg restaurant.

A former girlfriend is reportedly on the State witness list.
Yesterday’s hearing was xpected to be brief and lawyers have already agreed to start the trial in 2014 amid backlogs in the South African courts. It should run for around a month.

“The trial will be in March next year. It will be from the first week of March until end of March,” his attorney Kenny Oldwage, told AFP.

A single senior judge will hear the case as South Africa does not have a jury system.

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