Oscar Pistorius: Postponement a surprise

Pistorius was due to testify today but court was adjourned as one of the judge's assessors was ill.

Oscar Pistorius leaves the High Court in Pretoria after his murder trial was postponed on 28 March 2014. Picture: Picture: Christa van der Walt/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Murder accused Oscar Pistorius has been given another grace period to prepare his testimony in his own defence.

This morning the athlete's murder trial was unexpectedly postponed for a week and will resume on 7 April because one of the judge's assessors has been hospitalised.

The court will also now sit during the recess scheduled between 7 to 11 April.

Pistorius is standing trial for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp at the SA Sports Awards on 4 November 2012. Picture: AFP.

As Judge Thokozile Masipa explained, court could not proceed because it was not properly constituted without the one assessor.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel did not object to the postponement, saying he'd already confirmed that support staff would be available during the court recess to hear the matter.

Eyewitness News understands that Pistorius was going to take the stand today, but only after his private pathologist had testified.

It is also understood the defence team's hired expert had a genuine family emergency and needed to be excused from court as soon as possible.

This indicates the Blade Runner will take the stand when the trial resumes in just more than a week's time.

Today's postponement meant there was a great sense of disappointment from members of the public and journalists who filled the court room this morning, expecting to hear from Pistorius himself.

Pistorius's family, Steenkamp's family and a larger-than-normal media contingent arrived at the High Court in Pretoria today.

Aimee Pistorius leaves the High Court in Pretoria.

Arnold Pistorius.

Dozens also gathered outside the court to catch a glimpse of the athlete leaving, knowing he would not be seen over the next few days.

Pictures: Christa van der Walt/EWN.

10 CRUCIAL QUESTIONS

In Oscar Pistorius's bail application in February 2013, Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair raised several questions in his ruling, calling them the " improbabilities" which would have to be tested in the trial.

Witness testimony has further raised questions about what exactly happened on the morning Pistorius shot and killed Steenkamp.

Take a look at some of the questions, from both the state and the defence.

Get all the latest developments on the EWN Oscar Pistorius portal.

View the live blog and listen to live audio streaming from the trial.