Murder trial of Oscar Pistorius ends
THE defence team for Oscar Pistorius has closed its case in the athlete's murder trial, bringing a legal case that has transfixed South Africans and others around the world closer to a verdict.
Final arguments are scheduled for August 7-8.
Lawyer Barry Roux said he had finished calling witnesses to give evidence in the trial of Pistorius, who killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by firing through a closed toilet door in his home.
"We close the case for the defence," said Mr Roux. Some witnesses did not want to give evidence for the defence because of publicity surrounding the case, he said, adding that he chose not to ask Judge Thokozile Masipa to compel them to appear.
"There's nothing that we can do about it," he said in the wood-lined Pretoria courtroom where the trial of the double-amputee runner has been held since March.
Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel said the prosecution will file closing arguments on July 30 and the defence will do so on August 4. He and Mr Roux agreed to return to court on August 7 to give final arguments before Judge Masipa.
Pistorius says he killed Ms Steenkamp by mistake, thinking an intruder was in the toilet and about to attack him. The prosecution says he shot her after a Valentine's Day argument last year.
Pistorius, who is free on bail, faces 25 years to life in prison if found guilty of premeditated murder, but he could also be sentenced to a shorter prison term if convicted of murder without premeditation or negligent killing. Additionally, he faces separate gun-related charges.
Pistorius was born without fibulas, the slender bones that run from below the knee to the ankle. Part of his lower legs were amputated when he was 11 months old.