The Main Stream

Aug 7, 2014 12:03 PM by NBC NEWS

Closing arguments underway in Oscar Pistorius trial

PRETORIA, South Africa (NBC) - The Oscar Pistorius murder trial is wrapping up.

Pistorius, who is accused of fatally shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last year, is in court Thursday, as closing arguments for his trial begin.

South African state prosecutor Gerrie Nel presented his closing arguments by asking the judge to reject Pistorius' defense because its "devoid of any truth."

He said the defense case wavered between two contradictory lines of argument that Pistorius did not have criminal capacity and that if there was it was in self-defense.

"My lady, if I deal with paragraph 34. We say in paragraph 34 the accused vacillation between defenses is much like saying to the court that you were not on the scene of the crime, but if the court finds that you were there then you rely on a added defense that of self defense. My lady I've argued that in many cases, but this is the first instance where in fact in the heads of argument the defense said just that. We have two defenses. We want the court to pick one," said Nel.

"The court will find that we did not have criminal capacity at that critical moment when we shot we weren't in control of ourselves. And that's the one defense. Then, if the court finds that we were, then we deliberately, and with intention, fired a shot to kill someone."

For two days, both sides will summarize their versions of the shooting to the judge, who will determine Pistorius' fate.

The prosecution says Pistorius intentionally shot Steenkamp multiple times in a fit of anger after a fight.

The defense counters that he fired by mistake, thinking an intruder was in his bathroom while Steenkamp was in the bedroom.

If convicted, Pistorius could face life in prison.

According to various analysts, the judge will adjourn the trial after arguments to consider her judgment, which could take a week or more than a month.


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