Oscar Pistorius Trial: Defence Closes its Case, Final Arguments to be Heard in August

By Oliver Ngwenya    09-Jul-2014 01:36 UTC+02:00
Oscar Pistorius inside the North Gauteng High Court where he is currently on trial for the premeditated murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. – image- citizen-times.com

Oscar Pistorius inside the North Gauteng High Court where he is currently on trial for the premeditated murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Photo: Citizen-times.

Tuesday saw the defence in the Oscar Pistorius trial close its case amid claims that there were some witnesses who were not willing to testify given the publicity of the trial. In addition, the fact that the case is being televised live has added to the discomfort that potential witnesses feel about testifying. The leader in Oscar’s defence team, Barry Roux said that he had not found it necessary to ask the judge in the case, Thokozile Masipa to compel the witnesses to testify, which is a right they have as the defence.

The last witness to testify, Wayne Derman, is Oscar Pistorius‘ physician. In his testimony, he argued that Oscar feels anxious, vulnerable and hindered by his disability, the main point the defence has been trying to drive home. It is in trying to drive this point home that they had a psychiatrist that testified that Oscar suffered from a condition termed Generalised Anxiety Disorder. This claim resulted in the court proceedings being suspended for about a month when Judge Masipa ordered that the paralympian go for observation by a team of psychiatrists. After the month, the conclusion was that the Bade Runner did not suffer from this condition, at least when he shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. There was a sticking point when Derman was giving evidence when Gerrie Nel asked him if he felt that he was qualified to comment on certain issues in the case to which the witness could not provide a suitable response.

When the defence announced on Tuesday that it was closing its case, the chief prosecutor, Gerrie Nel announced that the prosecution would return on July 30 to file closing arguments while Barry Roux for the defence would do so on the fourth of August. Both parties agreed that they would be in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria between the 7th and the 8th of August to give final arguments before Judge Masipa. The Judge, a former journalist herself, has instructed the media not to report on legal summaries of both parties till the final arguments start in court. The month, which the teams have been granted to prepare final arguments have been attributed to the need to peruse the voluminous court records that the Judge had.

It is not expected that the trial, which commenced on March 3, will end anytime soon despite the closure of arguments since after the presentation of final arguments, there will be a need for about a month in which Judge Thokozile Masipa will ponder and deliberate on the verdict with the help of the two assistants who have flanked her on the dais every day of the trial. If found guilty of premeditated murder of his girlfriend , Pistorius could be sentenced to more than twenty-five years in prison. However, he may be eligible for a lesser term if it is found that the murder was not premeditated. In addition, the paralympian also faces other charges of illegal possession of ammunition as well as the illegal and irresponsible discharge of a firearm.

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