What's Buzzing:

Pistorius trial delayed over legal aide illness

AP - Sports
Pistorius trial delayed over legal aide illness

View photo

FILE - In this Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012 file photo, South Africa's Oscar Pistorius wins gold in the men's 400-meter T44 final at the 2012 Paralympics, in London. The man who racing commentators said was slow from the starting blocks, Pistorius went on to win many medals for his running prowess, but is now expected to testify in his own defense during his trial in South Africa for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) -- The murder trial of Oscar Pistorius has been delayed until April 7 because one of the legal experts who will assist the judge in reaching a verdict is sick, abruptly ending expectations Friday that the double-amputee athlete was about to testify on his fatal shooting of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Judge Thokozile Masipa announced the delay in court on the day Pistorius' defense lawyers were due to begin presenting their case after four weeks of prosecution-led testimony and a two-day adjournment.

''One of my assessors is not well, so this court is not properly constituted,'' Masipa said. ''I suggest that we postpone this matter until the seventh of April.''

Masipa has two assessors who sit on either side of her in the Pretoria courtroom. South Africa does not have a jury system, and Masipa will deliver a verdict with help from the two assessors, who have limited roles in the day-to-day court proceedings but are there to help Masipa reach a decision.

Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder for killing Steenkamp, and also could be sent to prison for years if convicted of murder without premeditation or negligent killing.

Pistorius says he shot Steenkamp by accident, mistaking her for an intruder in his home and opening fire through a closed toilet door in the early hours of Feb. 14, 2013. Prosecutors say he killed her after a Valentine's Day argument. The world-famous athlete pleaded not guilty to the murder charge and also not guilty to three other firearm-related counts.

After prosecutors wrapped up their case against the Olympian this week, one of the defense lawyers said Pistorius would likely testify.

Legal experts say Pistorius, 27, is expected to testify because he has admitted killing Steenkamp, 29, and must explain to the court why so it can take his version into account. It's common in South Africa for the defendant to be the first person the defense calls, the experts said, unless there are exceptional reasons why another witness should testify ahead of him.

When Pistorius testifies he would also open himself up to cross-examination and likely uncomfortable questions from chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
View Comments (1)
  • Henshaw injury spells six weeks on Connacht sidelines

    Henshaw injury spells six weeks on Connacht sidelines

    LONDON (Reuters) - Ireland international Robbie Henshaw is set to be out of action until the New Year after fracturing his left hand in the last play of Connacht's derby victory away to Munster on Saturday. The Connacht medical team said on their … More »

    Reuters - 3 minutes 48 seconds ago
  • Lloyd heads shortlist for women's World Player of the Year

    Lloyd heads shortlist for women's World Player of the Year

    Carli Lloyd, captain and hat-trick hero for the United States in their World Cup final triumph, heads the trio of nominees for FIFA Women's World Player of the Year, announced on Monday. Lloyd, whose treble in the 5-2 win against Japan in … More »

    Reuters - 5 minutes ago
  • 3 Kenyan track and field federation officials suspended by IAAF ethics commission

    MONACO (AP) -- 3 Kenyan track and field federation officials suspended by IAAF ethics commission. … More »

    AP - Sports - 6 minutes ago
  • Dolphins fire off. coordinator Lazor

    Dolphins fire off. coordinator Lazor

    Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor was fired Monday, and Zac Taylor replaced him as the primary play-caller. The move by interim coach Dan Campbell came after the Dolphins lost 38-20 to the New York Jets on Sunday. The Dolphins (4-7) … More »

    AP - Sports - 16 minutes ago
  • Baku thinks big and small for F1 debut

    By Alan Baldwin ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Azerbaijan's big debut on the Formula One calendar next June looks sure to be sold out because local organisers are planning on selling only 28,000 tickets for the race in Baku. The small number compares with … More »

    Reuters - 26 minutes ago