After a brief hearing, the case was adjourned until Aug. 19.
Mr. Pistorius, a double-amputee runner, has denied the prosecution’s charge of premeditated murder in the shooting of Ms. Steenkamp, whose body was found in a locked bathroom at his home in a gated compound in Pretoria, the South African capital, in the early hours of Feb. 14.
Defense lawyers depicted the shooting as a tragic accident in which Mr. Pistorius, 26, believed that an intruder had entered his home. Ms. Steenkamp, 29, a model and a law school graduate, was spending the night there. According to defense testimony so far, Mr. Pistorius opened fire through a locked bathroom door, not realizing that Ms. Steenkamp was on the other side. She was hit by at least three bullets.
As he appeared in court on Tuesday, prosecutors asked for a postponement of the case until August and the defense agreed. The grounds for the postponement were not immediately made public. Clean-shaven and wearing a gray suit, Mr. Pistorius, nicknamed Blade Runner for the prosthetics he uses to compete, braved a battery of photographers’ flashes and came under close scrutiny from reporters cramming the courtroom.
The hearing was over in less than 20 minutes, but in that time a court official criticized what he termed “trial by media houses” of Mr. Pistorius, whose case has been closely followed. The magistrate, Daniel Thulare, excoriated the news media, calling the coverage of the case “scandalizing” and a threat to the judicial process.
Last week, Britain’s Sky News broadcast leaked video of the blood-spattered bathroom where Mr. Pistorius shot Ms. Steenkamp.
His coach, Ampie Louw, said Mr. Pistorius was holding up well under the circumstances and applauded the court official for taking the media to task for the coverage of the case.
“It has been terrible,” Mr. Louw said of the media attention. Still, he said Mr. Pistorius was “doing O.K.”
In one documentary, broadcast in Britain by Channel 5 on Monday night, Ms. Steenkamp’s parents were interviewed and filmed spreading her cremated ashes into the waters of Nelson Mandela Bay on the Indian Ocean at their home in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Repeatedly, the model’s mother, June Steenkamp, said she wanted to know why her daughter was shot.
She recalled a time when Ms. Steenkamp called her from Mr. Pistorius’s car to say she was frightened because he was driving so fast. At another point, the mother said, her daughter “phoned me, we chatted about this and that, little girl things. I said, ‘How’s it going with Oscar?’ She said, ‘We’ve been fighting; we’ve been fighting a lot.’ ”
Referring to her daughter’s death, she said, “There is only one person who knows what happened” — an apparent reference to Mr. Pistorius.
“Why? Why did he shoot her? I want to know why he shot her,” June Steenkamp said. “Because she must have been so afraid in the toilet, and somebody’s firing a gun, bullets through the door.”
The date for the hearing on Tuesday was set on Feb. 22, when a magistrate imposed unusually tight bail restrictions that were eased in late March.
At that time, the prosecution had argued that Mr. Pistorius should not get bail because he could flee the country and had a history of violence. But the magistrate, Desmond Nair, rejected these arguments, saying that Mr. Pistorius did not represent a flight risk and was not likely to interfere with state witnesses.
Mr. Nair imposed strict conditions on the $110,000 bail, forbidding Mr. Pistorius to travel abroad and to drink alcohol. He was also told that he was not allowed to visit his home, where the shooting took place, and was required to ask permission to leave Pretoria.
In late March, Judge Bert Bam said the restrictions were unfair and unwarranted. Judge Bam said Mr. Pistorius was “entitled to use his passport” to travel outside South Africa and no longer needed to report to a probation officer.
At the height of his athletic career, Mr. Pistorius achieved a reputation for outsize triumphs, not just against other disabled athletes but also against able-bodied competitors.
At the Paralympic Games in London last September, he won two gold medals and a silver. In the Olympics the month before, he reached the 400-meter semifinal and competed in the 4 x 400-meter relay.
Lydia Polgreen reported from Pretoria, and Alan Cowell from London.