All eyes on Oscar as trial begins

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IOL pic mar3 oscar pistorius head down in court Independent Newspapers Oscar Pistorius bows his head as he stands in the dock at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court. File picture: Masi Losi

Johannesburg -

On Monday, the presentation and rejection of facts from fiction and frenzy will begin in the Pretoria High Court as Oscar Pistorius - once South Africa's golden boy - goes on trial for the murder of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius faces charges of premeditated murder and contravening the Firearms Control Act in the trial which is expected to last at least three weeks.

The proceedings in the wood-panelled courtroom will be broadcast live on television and radio, with the initial indictment listing 107 witnesses to testify for the State.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel and defence lawyer Barry Roux will each fight for their version of events to stand up to the scrutiny of Judge Thokozile Masipa, who will preside over the trial.

The double amputee Paralympic athlete has admitted to shooting Steenkamp at his Pretoria home on Valentine's Day last year.

At his bail hearing, Pistorius's lawyer submitted the athlete had thought he was shooting an intruder, when he fired his pistol through a door to a toilet.

In the days running up to the trial, media outlets have vied with each other for the most salacious details they could give their readers, publishing and broadcasting, amongst others, a video of Pistorius shooting a watermelon, details of a new teenage girlfriend, reports of allegedly leaked prosecution documents and a gallery of graphic depictions of key people and events.

Gauteng traffic police have warned motorists and pedestrians of high security and expected congestion around the court from Monday morning. - Sapa

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