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Paralympic runner Pistorius' trial postponed until August

June 4, 2013 at 7:23 PM   |   Comments

PRETORIA, South Africa, June 4 (UPI) -- South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius' trial in his girlfriend's death is postponed until August to allow further investigation, the court ruled Tuesday.

Pistorius was released under the same bail conditions and was followed by media, with photographers taking pictures as he and his family tried to leave the courtroom, LookLocal.co.za reported.

"You are released on the same condition on which your bail is extended," acting Chief Magistrate Daniel Thulare said in Pretoria Magistrate's Court. "There is a risk of ... scandalizing, and at least, contentious actions surrounding the case."

Photos of the crime scene -- Pistorius' apartment in Pretoria -- had been leaked.

"It is important that we invite our colleagues from around the world to respect the republic's processes," the magistrate said.

The prosecution asked that the trial be postponed until Aug. 19. Pistorius, a Paralympic and Olympic athlete, faces charges in the death of model Reeva Steenkamp in a Valentine's Day shooting.

Aug. 19 would have been Steenkamp's 30th birthday.

Pistorius' lawyers have said the athlete fired through a locked bathroom door in self-defense, believing an intruder was inside. Pistorius denies he committed murder.

Questions have emerged around the police investigation. During the bail hearing, the former lead detective on the case admitted to making errors in the initial investigation.

In addition, British broadcaster Sky News last week released photographs it acquired of the crime scene showing the bloody floor of the bathroom where Steenkamp was shot and the bullet holes in the bathroom door, The Wall Street Journal reported. The magistrate in the hearing Tuesday said he was concerned about what he described as a trial by media.

Pistorius' uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said Monday the family was "shaken by the graphic images" that were leaked.

"It has always been our plea that the legal process be allowed to run its course with integrity," Arnold Pistorius said in a statement. "We continue to have great faith ... that Oscar's account of what happened on that terrible night in February will be borne out by the evidence that the defense team will lead in court."

In a television interview before the hearing Tuesday, Reeva Steenkamp's mother said she'd have Pistorius "wiped out" if he hurt her "baby."

June Steenkamp said she threatened him when her daughter phoned her from his car complaining he was "driving like a lunatic," said the report that aired Monday on Britain's Channel 5.

"She was afraid, she was so afraid," June Steenkamp said. "I said, 'Will you just give him the phone?' She gave the phone to Oscar straight away, and I said hello and he said 'Mrs. Steenkamp.'

"I said, 'Listen, if you hurt my baby in any way, I will have you wiped out.' I didn't mean murder him. I'm just saying, that's what I said. And I know the friend that was in the car was a friend of Reeva and a friend of Oscar and he told me afterwards that Oscar slowed down immediately."

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