Oscar Pistorius Murder Trial Is Extended

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Oscar Pistorius

The media spotlight will turn to a glare this week as the double amputee Olympian is expected to take the stand at trial in South Africa.

The murder trial of South African Olympian and double amputee Oscar Pistorius is to be extended to May, the court said Sunday, as the prosecution is expected to wrap its case during the fourth week of the trial, and the trial enters a new phase with Pistorius expected to take the stand this week.

The constant media spotlight, marked by televised proceedings for the first time ever in South Africa, and which most major international news outlets are streaming live, will get even brighter this week as Pistorius  takes the stand. However, that date is not yet known, as is whether Pistorius has agreed to allow his evidence to be broadcast. Regardless, audio of his testimony will still be broadcast live.

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A statement from the court on Sunday said that the trial will run until May 16, with a one week recess from April 7-4, according to reports. On May 7, the celebrity trial will vie for South Africans' attention with the country’s general election. The trial was originally expected to take around four weeks.

Judiciary spokeswoman Lulama Luti told AFP the court needs more time "to allow the prosecution and the defense to present their respective cases, however long it will take."

"That's an indicative date," she said. "It is very possible that it will take less time; it will depend on whether they are done or not."

The first four weeks of the trial, at which Pistorius has pleaded not guilty of the premeditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his home on Valentine's Day last year, has seen Pistorius sob and weep during evidence and vomit as images of Steenkamp's injuries were inadvertently shown. Members of both his and Steenkamp’s families have attended each of the 13 days of the trial so far.

Pistorius has said that he inadvertently shot Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door, believing her to be an intruder.

Also last week it emerged that Pistorius has put his upscale Pretoria home, where the shooting took place, up for sale with the proceeds to help cover his legal costs.