Oscar Pistorius trial: Live streaming coverage - Trial enters new phase after cross-examination

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(CNN) -- After five days of relentless cross-examination that left Oscar Pistorius quivering, sobbing and fumbling, the athlete's defense team now has a chance to discredit the prosecution by presenting its witnesses.

During cross-examination, prosecutor Gerrie Nel accused the athlete of inconsistencies and contradictions in his testimony.

His aim is to prove that Pistorius intentionally shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, after a heated argument on Valentine's Day last year.

The defense team now gets its chance to cast doubt on that account and prove that the star sprinter shot his girlfriend through a closed bathroom door after mistaking her for an intruder.

On Wednesday, defense attorney Barry Roux called expert Roger Dixon, who disputed a conclusion by a pathologist on the cause of Steenkamp's back wounds.

The pathologist said they were made by a bullet ricochet. Dixon said they were made by the magazine rack. The autopsy said they were made by a blunt, hard object.

Valentine's Day card

A day earlier, Pistorius maintained his story that he was terrified when he heard the sound of the toilet door opening, and pulled the trigger without thinking.

And in an apparent bid to show their romance was not as rocky as portrayed by the prosecution, Pistorius on Tuesday read a card Steenkamp planned to give him on Valentine's Day.

"Roses are red, violets are blue, I think today is a good day to tell you that I love you," the message read.

First time

Last week, Pistorius, 27, took the stand for the first time since the trial started March 3 to testify about what happened on the fateful day.

During his cross-examination, the prosecution released details of his relationship with the model and law school graduate, which started in November 2012. It included text messages retrieved from their phones.

Nel accused him of acting selfishly toward Steenkamp, picking on her and shunning her declaration of love, which was sent via a phone message.

Gripping trial

If Pistorius is found guilty of premeditated murder, he faces 25 years to life in prison.

The defense team will call 14 to 17 witnesses, Roux said when he opened his case. The trial is scheduled to continue until the middle of May.

Judge Thokozile Masipa will decide the verdict in collaboration with two experts called assessors. South Africa does not have jury trials.

The trial has gripped South Africa and sports fans worldwide who considered Pistorius a symbol of triumph over physical adversity.

His disabled lower legs were amputated when he was a baby, but he went on to achieve global fame as the "Blade Runner," winning numerous Paralympic gold medals on the steel blades fitted to his prostheses.

Only those in the courtroom saw Pistorius on the stand because he chose not to testify on camera. His testimony could be heard in an audio feed.

The trial will be postponed until May 5 after Thursday's session per the state's request, the judge said.

The-CNN-Wire
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