Cairo: The trial of Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak, who has been accused of corruption and ordering the killing of protesters during the uprising which ousted him in February, resumed on Wednesday after a delay of three months.

As the ailing 83-year-old former dictator returned to court wheeled in on a stretcher, a small crowd -- of both his supporters and opponents gathered outside the court.

Dressed in white and covered with a blanket, Mubarak was wheeled out of an ambulance on a stretcher, footage on the state television showed.

A heavy security cover of as many as 5,000 policemen was thrown in to secure the proceedings held at a police academy on the outskirts of the capital, a channel reported.

Mubarak's lawyers asked for the inventory of arms delivered to the Ministry of Interior for the past four years. They claim the weapons used to kill the protesters were not from the Ministry in the first place.

They also touched upon recent incidents of violence in Cairo's downtown area as a means to indicate that thugs and outlaws were organizing the protests and not peaceful Egyptians.

A high-profile witness scheduled to appear in court is chief of staff Lieutenant General Sami Hafez Anan, the second- highest ranking official in the ruling military council.

Prosecuting lawyers also asked for Mostafa Abdel Nabi, the former head of the National Security Authority, and Major General Hamdi Badeen, head of the military police, to appear as witnesses.

The judge gave no response to the demands before calling the session to a close. He set January 2 for the court to reconvene, the report said.

Mubarak is being tried on allegations that he ordered the shooting of peaceful pro-democracy protesters while trying to suppress the 18-day mass uprising that eventually ousted him.

He faces death penalty if found to have been complicit in the killings of over 800 protesters. So far most of the testimonies, including from police officers, have distanced the former president from any orders to shoot at the protesters, and the families of the victims have naturally been dissatisfied.

While a few supporters of the deposed president assembled outside the premises holding his posters, families of victims who lost their lives during the 18-day uprising felt that the trial "is a sham and the gang (regime) still rules".

One of the lawyers for families of dead protesters, Sayed Fathi, said he had no doubt Mubarak was responsible.

"But what is proven and certain is that Mubarak knew that there were people being killed and injured on the streets of Cairo from January 25th on and he had the power to stop those events. And he could have stopped the killing and firing of live bullets on protesters but he did not do so," he said.

Some have expressed doubts about the availability of material evidence since the trial only started six months after Mubarak stepped down.

But another lawyer also representing families of those killed in the demonstrations - Ashraf Adnan - said he feared this was turning into a show trial rather a serious judicial process.

"I am not expecting any big results of this process. It seems like a show for me, because there is no evidences in this case. The only one material evidence have been destroyed," he said.

An official paper quoted judicial sources as saying that a verdict is expected before the March 31 next year.

While the trial hogged the headlines before it was adjourned, the last three months have seen a number of other developments that have overshadowed it. The country has witnessed renewed protests against the ruling military as well as the beginning of parliamentary elections that has been dominated by Islamists group Muslim Brotherhood.

The trial was adjourned earlier when lawyers representing the victims asked that presiding judge Ahmed Refaat be replaced, a request that was subsequently rejected on December 7.

Lawyer Yussri Abdel Razek, who heads the defence committee for Mubarak said on Tuesday he had obtained "new documents that will prove Mubarak's innocence".

Mubarak, who is in custody in a Cairo military hospital, also faces charges of corruption, together with his two sons Alaa and Gamal. Mubarak's interior minister, Habib al-Adly, and six security chiefs are also on trial.

Mubarak's first hearing on August 3 was broadcast live on television, but the judge later ordered a media black out.

In the last hearing in September, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who heads Egypt's ruling military council, gave his testimony bereft of any cameras.

Tantawi followed the country's former spy chief and vice president Omar Suleiman in testifying in the case.

(Agencies)