Oscar Pistorius returns to court as case enters crucial phase

Last Updated: 05/05/14 9:20am

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Oscar Pistorius back in court on Monday morning

Oscar Pistorius back in court on Monday morning

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The next two weeks are expected to be crucial for athlete Oscar Pistorius as his team of lawyers battles to shore up his defence in the murder trial.

The trial resumes this morning in Court GD of the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria after a fortnight's recess - and over the coming days, the defence is likely to call ballistics, audio and psychological experts.

The range of experts are expected to reinforce the double amputee's claim that he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder.

One of the first witnesses to be called is likely to be Tom Wolmarans, a ballistics expert with more than four decades experience.

The defence has got to counter several prosecution claims - not least that there was a pause between shots which crucially would have given Ms Steenkamp time to shout out in anguish before the fatal head shot.

A number of neighbours have also testified they heard shouting before the shots.

The prosecution's ballistics expert also testified the model was standing up and facing the toilet door when she was first hit in the hip.

The State's case is that the couple were having a heated row and the athlete shouted "get the **** out of my house" to his girlfriend before shooting her four times as she remonstrated with him from behind the toilet door where she had fled.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel verbally mauled the athlete during five days of cross examination which was marked by repeated interruptions as the runner broke down in tears.

Under the relentless aggressive interrogation of Mr Nel, the runner appeared to change his explanation of his actions from self defence to involuntary action, to accidental discharge of his gun.

The prosecutor had to be reprimanded by the judge after repeatedly accusing the runner of lying and tailoring his evidence.

Mr Nel prosecutor went on to tear into the next witness too.

Forensic expert Roger Dixon was forced to apologise to the court for unintentionally misleading it - and his credibility and expertise were repeatedly called into question.

The defence will be hoping its next set of witnesses will fare better under the intense scrutiny and cross examination of Mr Nel.

The defence has indicated it may call another 10 to 15 witnesses but that it expects to wrap up the case by mid-May.

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