Oscar Pistorius

Demotix / Splash News

Oscar Pistorius returned to court today for the first time since being granted bail back in February as he prepares to stand trial in the Valentine's Day shooting death of his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

During the brief hearing, South African Magistrate Daniel Thulare granted prosecutors' request to postpone the case until Aug. 19 to give police investigators more time to gather evidence and interview witnesses.

While that day just happens to be what would have been Steenkamp's 30th birthday, defense lawyers for the 26-year-old Paralympian otherwise known as Blade Runner did not object to the delay.

Unlike his bail proceeding when he sobbed openly in court, a clean-shaven Pistorius stood quietly this time around, wearing a gray suit and pale blue shirt and tie as he kept his composure. He listened as the magistrate blasted the intense press coverage of the double-amputee sprinter's case, saying it could prevent Pistorius from getting a fair trial.

"Just like any other literate South African, I also read newspapers," Thulare said, per The Guardian. "It would appear there is somewhat a trial by the media houses of Mr. Pistorius." 

To that end, graphic pictures of the runner's blood-soaked bathroom, where Steenkamp was fatally shot, leaked out last week and were published by Sky News, and the victim's parents appeared in a documentary called Why Did Oscar Pistorius Kill Our Daughter? that aired on Britain's Channel 5 and suggested Steenkamp was terrified of Pistorius.

The magistrate added that such programs might have the effect of "scandalizing" the judicial process and result in contempt of court.

Defense lawyers allege Pistorius shot Steenkamp by accident in the early hours of Feb. 14, thinking an intruder had entered his home. However, prosecutors claim he committed premeditated murder and that the couple may have been arguing, prompting her to lock herself in the bathroom.

Pistorius remains free on $114,000 bail and is allowed to travel abroad for work under specific conditions.

However, the track star is not allowed to visit his residence where the shooting occurred and is currently staying with his uncle, Arnold Pistorius. The latter told CNN on Sunday that Oscar is a heartbroken man who has to live with the horror of killing the woman he loved, a grief he called "unthinkable."

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