News World Pistorius trial hits final stage

Pistorius trial hits final stage

Oscar Pistorius in court.
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The prosecution in the murder trial of South African Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius has submitted a summary of its arguments to the judge, moving the trial into its final phase.

The handover of the documents took place behind closed doors and Pistorius’s defence team will follow the same procedure on Monday.

The 27-year-old double-amputee athlete has been on trial since March 3 on charges of the premeditated murder of his 29-year-old model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

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Pistorius said he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder when he shot her through a closed bathroom door in his home in the capital Pretoria on Valentine’s Day last year.

A total of 36 people testified over 39 days.

The five main arguments made by the prosecution were that neighbours heard loud fighting and screams before Pistorius fired the shots that killed Steenkamp in the early hours of February 14.

They argued Pistorius’ claim that he got out of bed to confront an intruder without first making sure his girlfriend was next to him and alright is improbable.

They also said the position of Steenkamp’s body suggested she was talking to Pistorius behind the closed door when the shots were fired.

A pathologist report showed Steenkamp had eaten at about 1am, contradicting Pistorius’ claim that the couple went to bed early.

Prosecutors also argued Steenkamp was fully dressed when she was killed and other clothing items were neatly folded in her overnight bag, suggesting she was planning to leave after the fight.

The defence and prosecution will publicly present their closing arguments on August 7 and 8, after which Judge Thokozile Masipa will issue her verdict.

There is no trial by jury in South Africa, so Masipa alone will decide Pistorius’ fate.

The sprinter, whose legs were amputated at the knee as an infant because of a congenital abnormality, became the first amputee to compete against able-bodied athletes in the 2012 London Olympics.

If found guilty of premeditated murder, he could face a life sentence of at least 25 years in prison.