The murder trial of Oscar Pistorius was postponed today with an assessor of Judge Thokozile Masipa taken ill, reports suggest.

According to BBC News, the trial will recommence on April 7 on the judge's recommendation - a date that was agreed to by both the defence and prosecution.

The state - led by prosecutor Gerrie Nel - finished it's case earlier this week and Friday was initially expected to be the day when Mr Pistorius' team opened their defence of the Paralympic and Olympic sprinter who shot dead girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his home in Pretoria last February.

The defendant stands accused of the pre-meditated murder of Ms Steenkamp along with three other charges relating to the possession of ammunition and shooting a gun - all of which he denies.

Although it is by no means certain that Mr Pistorius will take the stand himself in the coming weeks, the same BBC report further suggests that he is expected to do so when the trial resumes.

It is the prosecution's claim that Ms Steenkamp was murdered after an argument, while the defence's case claims that Mr Pistorius mistook her for an intruder that had broken in during the night.

If found guilty of murder, the defendant could face life imprisonment while the aforementioned absence of the unnamed assessor is crucial given that South Africa does not use a jury system.

Instead, Judge Masipa will reach her own verdict on the case with the aid of those assessors.

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