Pistorius trial adjourns ahead of closing arguments

Tuesday 08 July 2014 23.39
Oscar Pistorius said he killed Reeva Steenkamp in a tragic accident
Oscar Pistorius said he killed Reeva Steenkamp in a tragic accident

Lawyers defending Oscar Pistorius on charges of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp rested their case this morning, allowing the court to set a date of 7-8 August for closing arguments.

Advocate Barry Roux said the sprinter's defence team had called its last witness, heralding the final stages of a high-profile trial that is now in its fifth month.

"This matter, then, is postponed until the 7th of August 2014 at 9:30," said Judge Thokozile Masipa.

Legal teams from both sides will submit their written arguments to Masipa before that date; the prosecution on 30 July and the defence on 4 August.

The veteran judge warned that these documents must not be made public before oral arguments begin.

A leak would be a "disservice to justice, and that person who does it, is a thief," said Judge Masipa.

The trial, which began on 3 March, has garnered worldwide public attention, including a dedicated 24 hour trial channel and countless newspaper column inches.

Some witnesses, including Mr Pistorius refused to testify on camera, while according to Mr Roux, some refused to testify at all.

During 39 days of court proceedings the world looked on as Mr Pistorius, who rose to international fame at the 2012 London Olympics, appeared in the dock, weeping, vomiting and at times appeared completely unable to compose himself as he tried to explain that Ms Steenkamp's death was a tragic accident.