For a trial that long before it even started has seemed to be more about television drama than justice for a dead young woman, it will come as little surprise that its final act is likely to be billed as 9/11 Judgement Day.
It will be on 11 September, almost six and a half months after the trial began and 19 months after Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, that he will finally learn his fate.
The trial proper ended today, with the athlete’s now world-famous defence counsel Barry Roux claiming his client should never have been tried for murder, but for culpable homicide, and that the undisputed facts of the case support only Oscar Pistorius’s version of events and no one else’s - that he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder, and in startled panic, fearing for his life, shot and killed her through the bathroom door.
The athlete’s uncle Arnold said afterwards that his defence team had “done more than enough” and that “I want him back in the Olympics”.
Mr Pistorius, he argued, was neither liable nor negligent for the killing, which came as a consequence of an “involuntary reflexive response”, as he stood with his gun pointed at the locked toilet cubicle, and heard a noise inside.
“He is trained as an athlete, to react to a sound,” Mr Roux said. “And he’s standing there, with his finger on the trigger.
“If I were to stand behind him [in such a situation], his finger on the trigger, and he is in a fearful state, and I clap my hands, I am very happy to argue that on some occasion, he may pull the trigger.”
How the biggest murder trial in the world unfolded
How the biggest murder trial in the world unfolded
1/19 Oscar Pistorius
On Valentine's Day, Pistorius was arrested and charged with murder after shooting girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in what he claims was a case of mistaken identity on 14 January, 2013
2/19 Oscar Pistorius
The couple had been dating for three months before the tragic shooting in the early hours of Valentine's Day
3/19 Oscar Pistorius
As the news of her death spread, world media descended on South Africa, where Pistorius enjoyed a national hero status after competing in the Olympics
4/19 Oscar Pistorius
Scene of the tragedy: the house where Oscar Pistorius lived in Silver Woods gated community
5/19 Oscar Pistorius
Pistorius was released on bail of one million rand (£73,000) after pleading not guilty of murder
6/19 Oscar Pistorius
In his bail application, Pistorius argued he shot his girlfriend thinking she was an intruder coming out to attack him. The state insisted the shooting was "premeditated"
7/19 Oscar Pistorius
Pistorius is facing three separated charges in connection with two gun-related incidents, including possession of illegal ammunition and two counts of discharging a firearm in public. He denies all charges
8/19 Oscar Pistorius
Described as the "trial of the century" in South Africa, the Oscar Pistorius case has dominated world headlines
9/19 Oscar Pistorius
Pistorius arrives to the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ahead of his murder trial
10/19 Oscar Pistorius
An overcome Oscar Pistorius vomited in court as he listened to harrowing expert testimony about the autopsy of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, whom he is accused of murdering
11/19 Oscar Pistorius
His court appearances have been dramatic with the athlete often breaking down in tears and vomiting
12/19 Oscar Pistorius
If found guilty of premeditated murder, Pistorius could spend the next 25 years in prison
13/19 Oscar Pistorius
Pistorius pictured arriving at the Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital where he was ordered to undergo a 30-day psychiatric evaluation after an expert witness claimed he suffered from a generalised anxiety disorder. This was dismissed by a panel of independent experts.
14/19 Oscar Pistorius
Members of a Facebook supporters' group of Oscar Pistorius wait for him to arrive at court
15/19 Oscar Pistorius
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel has portrayed Pistorius as a reckless, young man with an inflated ego and a short temper
16/19 Oscar Pistorius
Defence counsel Barry Roux and his now famous "I put it to you" phrase have become an internet sensation
17/19 Oscar Pistorius
The fate of Oscar Pistorius now rests in the hands of judge Thokozile Masipa
18/19 Oscar Pistorius
Judge Thokozile Masipa ruled out premeditated murder charge
POOLKIM LUDBROOK/AFP/Getty Images
19/19 Oscar Pistorius
Oscar Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide - and now faces up to 15 years in prison
Siphiwe Sibeko/AFP/Getty Images
The prosecution have sought to tear apart the athlete’s version of events, claiming that he could have attempted to arouse Reeva Steenkamp, who he wrongly imagined to be in the bed, and exited the house to safety. But in arming himself and moving in to the bathroom, there was preplanning involved, and by shooting into the toilet, he knew he would kill whoever was in there, an act of murder, whether he knew it to be Reeva or not, which Pistorius does not accept.
Citing earlier expert testimony, Mr Roux argued: “Because Oscar Pistorius grew up without legs, his fight or flight danger was skewed. It led to an exaggerated fight response.
“You are a little boy without legs, you experience daily, the disability and the effect of this. You experience, daily, that you cannot run away.
“We all know we have three primal responses, freeze, flight or fight. It is well known that with a disability, over time, you get an exaggerated fight response.”
The times of phone calls made by Pistorius and his neighbours validates his version of events, and his alone. It is in Mr Pistorius’s version of events that the shots which killed Ms Steenkamp were fired at 3.12am, and the noises the state claim were the fateful gunshots were in fact the sound of the athlete seeking to break down the toilet door with a cricket bat. The state has offered no explanation for what those earlier sounds were, and according to its version of events, Mr Pistorius would have had to screamed for help, before he had shot Ms Steenkamp.
“Why would he shout Help! Help! Help! while Ms Steenkamp still alive?” Mr Roux asked.
The case, he said, would come down to that short time, a minute or 30 seconds, when he stood outside the bathroom door. There was a case to make, he suggested, that Mr Pistorius could have been negligent in not trying harder to establish Ms Steenkamp’s whereabouts, but in that case “the charge should be culpable homicide, not murder.”
“You have all the facts you have to determine. We have made our submissions. He was not negligent,” he said. “It comes down to those 20 seconds in the accused’s life where he was standing at the entrance to the bathroom.”
Whatever happened in those 20 seconds, Judge Thokozile Masipa has just over a month to decide.Reuse content