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Pistorius trial delayed over legal aide illness

Oscar Pistorius Testimony Put On Hold

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) -- The murder trial of Oscar Pistorius has been delayed until April 7 because one of the legal experts who will assist the judge in reaching a verdict is sick, abruptly ending expectations Friday that the double-amputee athlete was about to testify on his fatal shooting of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Judge Thokozile Masipa announced the delay in court on the day Pistorius' defense lawyers were due to begin presenting their case after four weeks of prosecution-led testimony and a two-day adjournment.

"One of my assessors is not well, so this court is not properly constituted," Masipa said. "I suggest that we postpone this matter until the seventh of April."

Masipa has two assessors who sit on either side of her in the Pretoria courtroom. South Africa does not have a jury system, and Masipa will deliver a verdict with help from the two assessors, who have limited roles in the day-to-day court proceedings but are there to help Masipa reach a decision.

Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder for killing Steenkamp, and also could be sent to prison for years if convicted of murder without premeditation or negligent killing.

Pistorius says he shot Steenkamp by accident, mistaking her for an intruder in his home and opening fire through a closed toilet door in the early hours of Feb. 14, 2013. Prosecutors say he killed her after a Valentine's Day argument. The world-famous athlete pleaded not guilty to the murder charge and also not guilty to three other firearm-related counts.

After prosecutors wrapped up their case against the Olympian this week, one of the defense lawyers said Pistorius would likely testify.

Legal experts say Pistorius, 27, is expected to testify because he has admitted killing Steenkamp, 29, and must explain to the court why so it can take his version into account. It's common in South Africa for the defendant to be the first person the defense calls, the experts said, unless there are exceptional reasons why another witness should testify ahead of him.

When Pistorius testifies he would also open himself up to cross-examination and likely uncomfortable questions from chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

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t_donahue March 28 2014 at 11:18 AM

Sounds like he paid the legal aid to get sick to buy him more time to make himself look less guilty, which he cant.

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rude March 28 2014 at 10:57 AM

This will give him more time to perfect the performance that should earn him a special Academy Award.

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bds6543 March 28 2014 at 10:18 AM

This guy was most prob. on steroids and body building illegal drugs when he committed this murder, and a "Roid Rage". He murdered this girl in cold blood, and it's pretty cut and dried. He cannot even say he thought it was "intruder". He knew she was hiding from him in that tiny bathroom.. he was in a RAGE. He really has no defense.. It IS what it IS.

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1 reply
rutch8 bds6543 March 28 2014 at 10:59 AM

i didn't think of steroids, now i wander if they drug tested him.

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Velocity105 March 28 2014 at 10:11 AM

I wonder what the REAL reason for the delay is? I'm sure that delay or no delay, if S. Africa has the death penalty, Pistorius will get to see the plungers go down and the feel the sweet paralyzing agent flowing in his soon-to-be-dead veins. Shouldn't have done it Pistorius, you're supposed to be a hero and instead you're a monster.

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1 reply
t_donahue Velocity105 March 28 2014 at 11:20 AM

He could of easily paid the legal aid to get sick to buy time to work on his acting skills.

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tom March 28 2014 at 10:09 AM

Sometimes I think the defense lawyers know their client is will be found guilty, so all they can do is postpone as much as possible, and just buy them more time. Another example of no common sense- the last time I was on a jury, they called in 144 potential jurors, to pick 14. I sat on that jury for 8 days. For a lady that tripped over a speed bump and was suing her employer for over a million. She got nothing.

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1 reply
t_donahue tom March 28 2014 at 11:20 AM

They do!

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ajwfromo March 28 2014 at 9:55 AM

Pistorius this one time you wish you didn't get what you wanted, 'LIFE IN PRISON". I would have prefer that they put you in the bathroom and shoot 5 bullets thru the door, but that is not going to happen to I will settle for 'LIFE IN PRISON".

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ajwfromo March 28 2014 at 9:50 AM

Pistorius this is one time getting what you wanted, is not worth it ,life in prison where you belong. Would prefer buletts shot thru the bathroom door while you in it, something tells me that will not happen so I will settle for "LIFE IN PRISON".

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Rich March 28 2014 at 9:42 AM

Gee, I though our justice system was weird, one person gets sick, they whole system comes to a grinding halt..........hope he does not die, Pistorius will be home free.................

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marie5850 March 28 2014 at 9:12 AM

Pistorius has been blessed to make a wealthy living. The problem is he has become used to having anything he wants, so if things don't workout his way he just makes the problem go away. I think this happens to many wealthy peoople who are used to getting everything their way.

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1 reply
marie5850 marie5850 March 28 2014 at 9:14 AM

He is definitely guilty. He has become spoioled to the good life.

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CherMoeLin March 28 2014 at 8:34 AM

The longer this callous killer has to prepare his testimony, the more it will look like a well-planned performance and a big lie. He, like O.J. Simpson and other big-named sports figures, is counting on idol-worship to get him off free, plus his huge bank account. I sure hope the Judges don't fall for his "pity party."

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