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Murder accused Pistorius likely to know his trial date

by Staff Reporter
14 Aug 2013 at 07:44hrs | Views
Johannesburg - Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius will likely know his trial date when he appears in court next Monday on murder charges for shooting dead his girlfriend, a family spokesperson said.

The 26-year-old double amputee athlete known as the "Blade Runner" will return to court on the day slain model Reeva Steenkamp would have turned 30.

"We don't foresee long proceedings… Chances are very high that a trial date will be set," family spokesperson Anneliese Burgess told AFP.

Case finalised

Prosecutors said on Tuesday they have finalised their case against the sprinter.

"We have finalised the indictment, which contains a full list of the charges," said Bulelwa Makeke, the National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson. "It will be served on Monday."

A one-day appearance was expected and "shouldn't be long", Makeke told AFP later.

In a statement police confirmed they had also completed the murder investigation.

Pistorius is charged with fatally shooting Steenkamp in the early hours of 14 February through a locked bathroom door in his upmarket Pretoria home.

The star athlete claims he mistook her for an intruder, but prosecutors argue it was premeditated murder, which carries a sentence of life imprisonment.

Pistorius's lawyers want the charge reduced to culpable homicide. His attorney Kenneth Oldwage told AFP he would meet with prosecutor Gerrie Nel to discuss the trial date before the appearance.

Steenkamp, a model and law graduate who had been dating Pistorius for just a few months, suffered gunshot wounds to her head, elbow and hip.

British television channel Sky News broadcast graphic leaked images of the blood-spattered bathroom where she was killed.

Postponement expected

Police expect Monday's procedural hearing to be postponed after the indictment is served.

By then the prosecution and defence may also have finalised a start date for the trial, which is supposed to take place early next year.

Pistorius was the first double amputee to compete against able-bodied competitors at the London Olympics last year.

His family said in June he had started training again for "mental and emotional equilibrium" after taking a break.

He is free pending trial on bail of R1m.

Source - AFP