South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius has appeared in court for the first time since he was freed on bail over the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp earlier this year.
After a brief hearing in Pretoria, the magistrate agreed to a request from both prosecution and defense to postpone the hearing until August 19.
Oscar Pistorius, 26, shot Reeva Steenkamp, 29, through the bathroom door of his house in Pretoria on February 14, 2013.
The Paralympic champion denies committing murder, saying he mistook her for an intruder.
Oscar Pistorius wore a grey suit and appeared composed as he arrived at court to meet a barrage of photographers and journalists. He was surrounded by his family and friends for the hearing.
He spoke only once, confirming: “Yes, Your Honour” when asked if he understood the magistrate’s comments.
Both the prosecution and the defense teams asked that the hearing be postponed until August 19 to give them more time to prepare their case.
Oscar Pistorius hearing over Reeva Steenkamp murder postponed until August
Magistrate Daniel Thulare agreed to the postponement and extended Oscar Pistorius’s bail conditions until that date.
On Monday, Oscar Pistorius’ family said they were “shaken” by leaked, graphic photos published by Sky News, which showed the bathroom where Reeva Steenkamp was killed.
Police said they were “disgusted” by the leak.
Oscar Pistorius is a double amputee who won gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and also competed in the Olympics.
His arrest in February stunned many South Africans who saw him as a national sporting hero after his long legal battle to be able to compete in the Olympics.
The prosecution has accused Oscar Pistorius of premeditated murder, alleging that he killed Reeva Steenkamp intentionally after a fight.
Oscar Pistorius was freed on a bail of 1 million rand ($110,000). A court in March eased his travel restrictions, allowing him to leave South Africa to compete as long as he complied with certain conditions.
South African prosecutors have said that a witness heard “non-stop shouting” coming from Oscar Pistorius’ mansion before shots were fired early on February 14.
Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius is facing a charge of premeditated murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
On Tuesday Oscar Pistorius told the court he shot Reeva Steenkamp through a bathroom door after mistaking her for an intruder.
It is the second day of his bail hearing in Pretoria.
A full trial of Oscar Pistorius, 26, is not expected for months.
Oscar Pistorius arrived at the court building on Wednesday morning in a police car with a blue blanket covering his head.
Courtroom proceedings were delayed as journalists and onlookers tried to get into the court. One journalist fainted in the scrum.
The magistrate has deemed this a schedule six case – meaning Oscar Pistorius is accused of premeditated murder.
Chief investigating officer Hilton Botha is set respond to Oscar Pistorius’s testimony.
On Tuesday Oscar Pistorius told the bail hearing that he loved Reeva Steenkamp and had never intended to kill her.
In a statement read to the court, Oscar Pistorius – who is a double amputee – said he woke in the middle of the night and thought he heard an intruder in his bathroom.
In pitch darkness, he said he took a pistol from beneath his bed. After screaming for the intruder to leave, he said he fired four shots through the door.
South African prosecutors have said that a witness heard “non-stop shouting” coming from Oscar Pistorius’ mansion before shots were fired early on February 14
Oscar Pistorius claimed he was not wearing his prosthetic legs during this time, and that this made him feel “extremely vulnerable”. He says he is able to move on his stumps.
Only after shooting did he realize Reeva Steenkamp was not still in his bed, the statement said. He broke down the bathroom door and discovered her body.
“She died in my arms,” the statement said.
“I am absolutely mortified at the death of my beloved Reeva.”
Oscar Pistorius wept as his affidavit was read out in court.
But his account was disputed by the prosecution, who said the couple may have argued before the shooting.
“There is no possible explanation to support his report that he thought it was a burglar,” prosecutors said.
“It was all part of the pre-planning. Why would a burglar lock himself inside the bathroom?” prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the court.
The prosecution claims that in fact Oscar Pistorius put on his prosthetic legs and walked seven metres before shooting Reeva Steenkamp through the closed bathroom door – details that showed the murder was premeditated.
The first day of the bail hearing coincided with Reeva Steenkamp’s funeral.
The 29-year-old model and law graduate was cremated in her home town of Port Elizabeth.
Her father, Barry Steenkamp, told reporters: “We have to keep Reeva in our hearts forever.”
The case has aroused huge interest both in South Africa, where Oscar Pistorius is regarded as a national hero, and around the world.
Oscar Pistorius is a multiple Paralympic champion, winning gold medals at the 2004 Games in Athens, at Beijing 2008 and at London 2012.
In London Oscar Pistorius made history by becoming the first double amputee to run in the Olympics, progressing to the semi-finals of the 400 m.