Oscar Pistorius' have lawyers wrapped up their defence of
the Olympic and Paralympic track star, bringing the dramatic
murder trial of one of the world's best-known athletes closer
Judge Thokozile Masipa adjourned the court until August 7 to
allow the legal teams to prepare closing arguments, due to
take a day each. She will then begin her deliberations,
extending a trial that has already dragged on over four
The case has captivated global audiences and had
round-the-clock coverage in Pistorius' native South Africa,
making it arguably the most-watched celebrity murder trial
since U.S. athlete O.J. Simpson was cleared of murdering his
wife and her friend in 1995.
Pistorius, who had his lower legs amputated as a baby, could
face life in prison if he is found guilty of murdering his
girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, whom he shot and killed at his
luxury Pretoria home on Valentine's Day last year.
The 27-year-old athlete, known as "Blade Runner" because of
the carbon-fibre prosthetic legs he uses, says he killed
Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder hiding in the
toilet next to his bedroom.
The state alleges he fired four rounds from a 9 mm pistol in
a fit of rage after an argument, killing the 29-year-old law
graduate and model as she cowered behind the locked toilet
The killing has shattered the image of Pistorius as an
embodiment of triumph over adversity for both his Paralympic
victories and competition against able-bodied athletes at the
2012 London Olympics.
The track star broke down frequently during the trial, often
sobbing and vomiting into a bucket.
The emotional displays were in marked contrast to his
composed and confident demeanour as he re-enacted the
shooting in a leaked video aired on Australian television on
After the broadcast of the film, which Pistorius' lawyers
said was for trial preparation only and had been "obtained
illegally" by Australia's Channel 7, Masipa banned any airing
or publication of the closing arguments before they are read
There is no jury, and so the verdict hinges on whether Masipa
believes Pistorius' version of events. She was only the
second black woman to be appointed a high court judge and has
a reputation for handing down stiff sentences in crimes
At the bail hearing over a year ago, magistrate Desmond Nair
pointed to what he said were a number of "improbabilities" in
"I have difficulty in appreciating why the accused would not
seek to ascertain who exactly was in the toilet," Nair said
at the time. "I also have difficulty in appreciating why the
deceased would not have screamed back from the toilet."
The prosecution has attempted to portray Pistorius as
self-centred, hot-tempered and obsessed with guns. Alongside
the murder charge, he is also accused of three gun-related
offences, all of which he has denied.
At one point during the trial, Prosecutor Gerrie Nel, whose
reputation as one of South Africa's toughest attorneys has
earned him the nickname "The Pitbull", told Pistorius: "You
will blame anybody but yourself."
The defence has argued that Pistorius had an elevated sense
of vulnerability due to his disability, compounded by fear of
attack in crime-ridden South Africa.
It has also portrayed the relationship between Pistorius and
Steenkamp as a loving one, arguing the athlete has been
devastated by the loss of his girlfriend.