The bail hearing, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, will be the first time both the prosecutors and defense will show their hands about the evidence involved in the killing, said Stephen Tuson, an adjunct law professor at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
"There will kind of be a little trial within a trial," Tuson said of the start of a court case that will likely grip South Africa and much of the world — possibly for years.
Due to the gravity of the charges, Pistorius' defense lawyers will present their case first, trying to argue that their client is not a danger to the public and won't try to flee to avoid trial, Tuson said. They'll also have to show that he won't try to intimidate witnesses, nor pose a risk of sparking public unrest, the professor said.
The defense does have the opportunity to put Pistorius — who broke down and wept in his first appearance in court — on the stand to offer testimony on his own behalf. That likely won't happen, as prosecutors would then be allowed to ask him potentially incriminating questions, Tuson said.
Typically, defense lawyers read a prepared statement in court instead.
From there, prosecutors will offer their own version of events, likely bolstered by testimony from the lead investigator in the killing, Tuson said.
Pistorius has been in custody in Brooklyn police station in Pretoria since Friday. His agent told the AP that there is no way to predict if he will ever run track again.
"For me it's too early to comment," Peet Van Zyl said. "I think it's still a huge shock and tragedy that took the world by surprise so I can't comment on that one (Pistorius' future career) or give any timeline to that at this point in time."
Coach Louw, who is significant for convincing Pistorius to take up track a decade ago and starting him on his journey to worldwide fame, said he had been around Pistorius and Steenkamp, and she often accompanied the athlete to training.
"I found her to be delightful, very friendly ... and I found the two of them to be very happy in each other's company," Louw said.
Follow Gerald Imray at http://twitter.com/GeraldImrayAP
Follow Jon Gambrell at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP
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