PRETORIA, April 7 – Star Paralympian Oscar Pistorius is expected to take the stand for the first time when his murder trial resumes on Monday under the glare of the world’s media.
As the defence opens its case, the 27-year-old Paralympian will give the court his first account of why he shot dead his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013.
Pistorius has cut a lonely figure since his trial started on March 3, saying little since his “not guilty” plea besides the occasional “yes, milady” to Judge Thokozile Masipa.
How the double amputee known as the “Blade Runner” will hold up during the state’s cross-examination may prove a turning point in the case.
In the five weeks since the trial began, Pistorius has appeared fragile and annoyed, frequently crying in court and being physically sick when the gruesome details of Steenkamp’s death were discussed.
Unusually, he will not be the first defence witness. That will be Jan Botha, a pathologist who defence lawyer Brian Webber said had “personal reasons for why he has to take the stand first”.
Pistorius, who denies murder, has to explain why he fired four shots at Steenkamp through a locked toilet door at his home.