12 Sep 2014

Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide

10:04 pm on 12 September 2014

The judge in the trial of Oscar Pistorius has ruled that he is guilty of culpable homicide, after clearing him of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Judge Thokozile Masipa hands down her verdict on September 11, 2014 at the High Court in Pretoria on whether South African paralympian athlete Oscar Pistorius is guilty of the 2013 Valentine's Day murder of his model girlfriend.

Judge Thokozile Masipa hands down her verdict on 11 September 2014. Photo: AFP

Judge Thokozile Masipa today resumed delivery of her verdict at the trial at the Pretoria High Court. She also found the athlete guilty of negligently handling a firearm in a restaurant but acquitted him of firing a gun from his car and found him not guilty of the illegal possession of ammunition.

Judge Masipa yesterday found the double amputee not guilty of deliberately killing Ms Steenkamp when he shot four times through his toilet door in Pretoria on 14 February last year.

The judge said the state had failed to prove he intended to kill Ms Steenkamp, but went on to say that his conduct on the night in question had been negligent.

Mr Pistorius admitted firing through a toilet door at his home, but said he thought there was an intruder.

South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius cries in the dock during the verdict in his murder trial, Pretoria, South Africa, on September 11, 2014.

Oscar Pistorius cries in the dock as the judge read out her verdict on 11 September 2014. Photo: AFP

Prompting tears from the Olympic and Paralympic sprinter, Judge Masipa said yesterday that he could not have foreseen killing whoever was behind the door. She said, though, that he had acted hastily and with excessive force.

The charge of culpable homicide implies negligence without intention to kill and can mean a jail sentence of up to 15 years, the BBC reports.

Judge Masipa has reviewed 4000 pages of evidence from the 41-day trial and resumed the delivery of her verdict tonight (NZT)

Mr Pistorius had pleaded not guilty to all the charges before the court, including the two counts of shooting a firearm in public and the illegal possession of ammunition.

During his closing remarks last month, his lawyer Barry Roux had conceded that the athlete should be found guilty of negligence for discharging a firearm in a restaurant - which carries a maximum penalty of five years.

Most of the trial, which began on 3 March 2014, was televised and attracted world-wide attention.

Before the fatal shooting, the 27-year-old athlete was feted in South Africa and known as the "blade runner". He had won gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and also competed at the Olympics.

Double amputee South African Oscar Pistorius (L) competes with his carbon fibre blades next to British Thomas Iwan during his 400 metres race at the Athletics Meeting on July 16, 2008 in Lucerne.

Oscar Pistorius competes with his carbon fibre blades next to British Thomas Iwan in Lucerne in 2008. Photo: AFP

Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp at the Feather Awards in Johannesburg in November 2012. Photo: AFP

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