Pistorius Returns to Court as Judge Postpones His Murder Trial

By: BBC News Email
By: BBC News Email

<(BBC News)-South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has appeared in court for the first time since he was freed on bail over the killing of his girlfriend.

After a brief hearing in Pretoria, the magistrate agreed to a request from the prosecution to postpone the hearing until August.

Mr Pistorius shot Reeva Steenkamp through the bathroom door of his house in Pretoria on 14 February.

He denies committing murder, saying he mistook her for an intruder.

'Disgusted'

Mr Pistorius wore a grey suit and appeared composed as he arrived at court to meet a barrage of photographers and journalists. He was surrounded by his family and friends for the hearing.

He spoke only once, confirming "Yes, Your Honour" when asked if he understood the magistrate's comments.

The BBC's Andrew Harding, who was in court, said this court appearance was very different to the last time when Mr Pistorius sobbed uncontrollably and was visibly emotional in the days following the killing.

The prosecution asked for the case to be postponed until 19 August so it could continue preparing its ballistics and forensics evidence. The adjournment was not opposed by the defence.

Our correspondent says it is likely that, once the prosecution presents its evidence in August, the defence will seek a delay so it can go through the documentation - meaning a trial is unlikely to start before next year.

On Monday, Mr Pistorius's family said they were "shaken" by leaked, graphic photos published by Sky News, which showed the bathroom where 29-year-old Reeva Steenkamp was killed.

Police said they were "disgusted" by the leak.

During Tuesday's hearing, Magistrate Daniel Thulare expressed concern at the media coverage of the case and warned that some of it could be in contempt of court.

Mr Pistorius, 26, is a double amputee who won gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and also competed in the Olympics.

His arrest in February stunned many South Africans who saw him as a national sporting hero after his long legal battle to be able to compete in the Olympics.

The prosecution has accused him of premeditated murder, alleging that he killed Ms Steenkamp intentionally after a fight.

Mr Pistorius was freed on a bail of 1 million rand (£74,000; $110,000). A court in March eased his travel restrictions, allowing him to leave South Africa to compete as long as he complied with certain conditions.


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