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PRETORIA, South Africa - Oscar Pistorius murder trial enters a critical phase Monday as his defence team attempts to recover from a faltering start and reinforce the disabled athletes claim that he fatally shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by mistake because he was overwhelmed by a long-held fear of violent crime. Pistorius mindset when he stood on his stumps in a bathroom and pulled the trigger on his 9 mm pistol in the early hours of Feb. 14, 2013 remains the crux of the South African trial that has captured worldwide attention and is about to start its seventh week of globally televised proceedings. It was initially scheduled to run for three weeks. Judge Thokozile Masipa will analyze thousands of pages of testimony before she reaches a verdict, but ultimately must ponder the pivotal question: Did Pistorius fire his gun with the intention to kill or out of a misplaced belief that his life was in danger from a perceived intruder? South Africa does not have trial by jury, meaning Masipa will decide, with the help of two assessors, if Pistorius overall account is believable and whether the apparent inconsistencies in his testimony count against him or are unimportant in the bigger picture. If Pistorius defence, which will resume calling witnesses Monday after a two-week trial recess, can show that his story of a tragic error is a reasonable explanation, even the double-amputee runners shaky testimony would be rendered irrelevant and the judge should acquit him of murder, legal experts say. While testifying, Pistorius sometimes contradicted earlier testimony and other times said he did not remember details. "The test doesnt end there," former state prosecutor Marius du Toit said of Pistorius testimony. "Its not over. They (the defence) can still show there is another plausible scenario." Du Toit has over 20 years experience in South Africas criminal justice system and is following the trial closely. He said it must be shown that Pistorius had the "sole intention" to kill Steenkamp to be convicted of murder. Pistorius, 27, doesnt dispute that he shot 29-year-old Steenkamp through a toilet door. He claims the killing was accidental and he fired four times in quick succession without thinking and while terrified, believing that an intruder had climbed up a ladder and through a bathroom window of his Pretoria villa in the pre-dawn hours and was about to come out of the cubicle and attack him. Prosecutors charge that the story is an intricate lie designed to cover up a murder. They say the couple fought, Steenkamp fled to the toilet screaming and Pistorius followed her and shot her through the wood door while they were arguing. She was hit in the hip, arm and head. Charged with premeditated murder, the first amputee to run at the Olympics faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted. He was once widely admired for overcoming the amputation of his lower legs as a baby to earn the right to run against the worlds top able-bodied athletes. The prosecutions case appeared to be bolstered as holes in Pistorius story were exposed when the athlete was on the stand for a fierce five-day cross-examination by prosecutor Gerrie Nel. Nel also succeeded in undermining the evidence given by the defences first two expert witnesses, a pathologist and a former police forensic scientist. But defence lawyers have only presented three of up to 17 witnesses they say they may ask to testify. At the outset of the defences case, lawyer Barry Roux said Pistorius actions on Valentines Day last year centred on his "disability" and "vulnerability" and Pistorius team will likely seek to rebuild the overall argument that his actions were guided by fear and not anger in a country with a high rate of violent home invasions. Roux said he will also show that a crucial thread of the prosecutions case is not true; that neighbours heard a woman screaming before and during the shots fired by Pistorius at around 3.17 a.m. on the fatal night. The lawyer said neighbours who live closer to Pistorius house in an upscale gated community in the suburbs of South Africas capital never heard a woman scream. Instead, it was Pistorius high-pitched shrieks for help after realizing his terrible mistake, the defence argues. Jedd Gyorko Jersey .com) - Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall left Saturdays game against the Senators in the second period with a left knee injury. Ken Boyer Cardinals Jersey . They actually finished with a better record in ‘07 than they did in ‘06 but only marginally, going from 61 victories to 66. http://www.authenticcardinalspro.com/car...ccarver-jersey/. Patrice Bergeron and Daniel Paille scored 20 seconds apart a few minutes after Stamkos was taken off the ice on a stretcher with a broken right leg, and the Bruins beat the Lightning 3-0 on Monday afternoon. Stan Musial Jersey . Johnson shared an update after his surgery Tuesday on Twitter. He also wrote, "now lets get on the grind." The running back told The Tennessean he was having surgery in Pensacola, Fla. Vince Coleman Cardinals Jersey . John Albert Elway, 24, was booked into jail early Saturday morning after an incident near a college campus in downtown Denver, according to jail records.Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hello Kerry, After watching Nino Niederreiter clobber Alex Burrows with an open-ice hit on Wednesday, do you think he should have gotten more than the two minutes for interference. He got him in the head with his shoulder! Thanks,Gary Gary: While I do not like the contact that Nino Niederreiter delivered to the head of Alexandre Burrows one bit, a two-minute penalty was about all the refs could assess on this play under the rules. A more meaningful and deserved penalty to Niederreiter should come his way via a Player Safety Committee review of this illegal check to the head. I watched Mike Milburys take on this play during the NBC intermission of the Rangers-Flyers game last night. Mike didnt agree with the "interference" call since the puck had just left Burrows stick. Beyond that, Milburys comments relative to the Niederreiter hit included, "I dont mind it. I think its more than 2 minutes he should have got." (Which I interpret as no penalty was deserved in Mikes opinion.)I completely agree with one element of Mike Milburys assessment on this play; it was not interference! Nino Niederreiter however should be held accountable for the significant contact he delivered with his shoulder cap to the head of Alex Burrows from the side; which by the way I believe was avoidable. For ongoing player safety this hit, and all similar in nature, need to be regarded as an illegal check to the head in violation of rule 48.2—on a hit resulting in contact with an opponents head where the head was the main point of contact and such contact to the head was avoidable. That can only happen if those responsible for doling out punishment interpret the rule verbiage, "main point of contact" to mean "significant" contact to the head coupled with some/secondary contact with the body. Alexandre Burrows lowered his posture to reach for a puck through the neutraal zone.dddddddddddd After gaining puck possession Burrows straightened to an upright body position, glided a couple of feet and then released the puck. Nino Niederreiter approached from the side angle position with his skates in a glide and his posture coiled (knees bent and flexed) to deliver a body check that would appear at, least through this setup, to make contact squarely through Burrows body. Just prior to delivering the hit Niederreiter stiffened his legs, thereby elevating his posture significantly upwards towards the head of Burrows. From this strike position, Niederreiter slipped his body just off the center line of Burrows and continued to elevate his shoulder that made significant contact with the head of Alex Burrows. The contact delivered off the center body line and to the head of Burrows resulted in a helicopter freefall for the Vancouver Canuck player. I doubt very much we would even be talking about this play if Nino Niederreiter had maintained a lowered and flexed posture from the setup and approach through contact of his intended hit on Alexandre Burrows. Like most players however, Neiderrreiter made the dangerous decision to increase velocity through the hit by straightening with an upward drive of his legs and shoulder cap that had no other place to connect than the head area of his opponent. Rule 48.1 (i) (ii) (iii) provides lots of reasons to determine whether contact with an opponents head was avoidable. Practically all of these allowances place considerable onus on the recipient/victim of the hit. From (iii) Alexandre Burrows did not "materially change the position of his body or head immediately prior to or simultaneously with the hit in a way that significantly contributed to the head contact." The material change in position came from Nino Niederreiter. If the rule verbiage doesnt qualify hits of this nature as a "head pick," at the very least it needs to be acknowledged that significant contact resulted from an illegal hit to the head in an ongoing effort to hold players accountable. ' ' '
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